What’s so great about San Francisco?

Gorgeous buildings with amazing paint jobs. A paint job like this is a gift to the city.
This deserves two photos. I’ve seen this house when that bare tree is exploding with bright fall leaves. Stunning.

Let’s start with the architecture. And the way folks paint their buildings. The four or five color paint jobs on the Victorians always take my breath away, this one in particular. So bold. And the fence! This is a tour de force of color and joy. I love this house.

A lovingly kept corner building. That awning. The color scheme.

I haven’t found a better city for just walking around and looking at buildings. It helps that since there is so much money in the City now, more people seem to be spending to spruce up the lovely old buildings. SF has a boom and bust history, a history of rising from the ashes, and the care for these exteriors you see must bear witness to a deep love for this City. With each brightly or carefully painted building the mosaic of the city is enhanced.

Even when clad in more subdued colors these buildings charm.
Nighttime glamour. I’m glad I got this photo, that huge Christmas tree in the window was gone the next day.

Great buildings- check. What else makes San Francisco amazing?

Transit! Oh the joy of traveling around while someone else drives and I can look out the window. A bus window. Perfectly situated to enjoy a nice high view.

Great transit. San Francisco has it. I admit that I have always lived quite central and in the northern part of San Francisco where the transit, biking, and walking are all good, and not every corner of the city is as accessible, but I have explored every corner of this city by transit. It’s better than many places we’ve visited in the US. It helps that SF is a small city, 7×7 Sq miles. With the help of MUNI you can explore all the neighborhoods.

The MUNI worm logo. Best transit logo ever? Probably.
Mask free MUNI selfie. On the J Church.
This view. Top of Dolores Park from the J Church. Rivaled only by the view from the 33 bus line as it crosses Upper Market Street.

And what gives us the great views from MUNI? The hills. Tough by bike and even on foot, but a climb up a hill is well rewarded.

The roller coaster swoop of Dolores Street. You might not think of palm trees and SF together, but Dolores Street has an impressive line of palms.

Yes, I was that tourist standing in the middle of the intersection marveling at the hill. I love it when other pedestrians turn to look at what has me mesmerized. See! I want to say, look at that swoop of trees. So cool.

Not every view of hills is as glamorous, but something about seeing hills makes me happy. And those electrical wires are so SF.

We have been so fortunate to stay with different friends each time we come back to this city we love, and left. Each stay in a different neighborhood lets us experience a new to us neighborhood and see a part of the city with fresh eyes. A wise person wrote that you can’t hate San Francisco unless you love it first. (In response to one of those ‘I’m leaving because of…’ letters.) It’s not tolerated to hate this city if you haven’t first learned to love it.

The Golden Gate Bridge after the first big January storm. The road to Ft. Point took a beating.
And that old photo bombing bridge again, with Rich and his flat tire. Photo credit Rich1.

And love it we do. All the reasons I give above are nothing on the main reason why we love this City: so many good friends. We come back to recharge, to swap out stuff from our storage unit, and for Rich to get some bike rides in with his buddies. We come back to see how our city is doing, to find out if the continuing onslaught of wealth has chipped away at more of what makes this quirky city unique and lovable.

Another stunning view. The top of Dolores Park.

After Seattle our little City of hills seems so compact and charming. People are California nice, quick to smile and chat. It does make us wonder if we can settle anywhere else. So, a decision not to make that decision is made. We love SF, and we leave again. Houseless but not homeless.

The Happy Travelers waiting for a BART train to the airport, headed for Taiwan.

Packed up and on our way. Goodbye again San Francisco. See you in about five months. Until then, stay quirky.

Our trip so far, with town names!

1) Habére-Poche, France. Where we are so lucky to have wonderful friends.

Sitting on my butt on a ski lift going up the hill.

2) Évian-les-Bains, France. Where we shockingly saw people buying bottled water, and had to eat take out pizza on our balcony since our CA COVID QRs didn’t work and you needed them even to eat outdoors at a restaurant.

Balcony, enjoying the view.

3) Montreaux, Switzerland, 2 nights. Where our fancy hotel (it was our Anniversary) had fire alarms going off our second night. I felt like Bill Murray in a Wes Anderson film standing on the street at 2am in my fluffy hotel bathrobe. (Sadly no photos…)

View along the promenade.
Umbrellas on the terrace at night.

4) Sallion, Switzerland. In the wine area of the Rhône valley. We kept looking around thinking we were in Italy because it’s a dry valley.

A confluence of the glacier chalky Rhône and a clear side stream.
Vineyards for more white wine for me!
Old town of Sallion on a hill.

5) Eischoll, Switzerland. Which we had to take a train and cable car to since we could not find a hotel in Sion – totally booked – but which ended up being a joy up in the mountains with a long long decent the next day.

Well deserved cold white wine after a long day, and what a view!
Our first Bisse sighting. Historic irrigation canals are a draw of the area around Sion.
We were captivated by the historic buildings in Switzerland, they were protected early on and add such a fascinating dimension to the towns. This is an old mill.

6) Brigerbad, Switzerland. Where we visited the Thermalquellen Bridgerbad – outdoor pools still filled with vacationing Swiss and French, and 2 lone Americans who enjoyed themselves very much (again, no photos allowed.)

Dinner at our hotel restaurant, impossible to get a bad glass of wine in Switzerland.

7) Zermatt, Switzerland. 2 nights. Yay, a lovely train ride up to the largely car free town with a view of the Matterhorn always near, clouds willing.

Mid hike lunch on a mountainside terrace.
The ride out of town was interesting, showed how much infrastructure is required to support this “car free” town.
All sorts of domestic animals on our ride down, including this big guy who had just walked slowly through irrigation sprinklers and came over to slobber and shake on me.

8) Feisch, Switzerland. Where we started debating whether or not to ride over the Furkapass. We decided on a train boost after the next town, but had a lovely gondola ride up the mountain.

Up we go! Love the gondola views.
Happy Hour at a restaurant at the top of the gondola.

9) Obergoms, Switzerland. Where, after riding up its valley for days we got to peep at the source of the Rhône river! (Almost, not quite the glacier but it’s pretty tiny here, that mighty river.) And we got our train hop to the top of Oberalppass. And rode down. Feeling a bit sheepish seeing all the cyclists coming UP the pass, but it was great fun that downhill.

Look how small the Rhône river is!
Happy train riders.
Rich descending. So many switchbacks.
Pause for view appreciation.

10) Disentis, Switzerland. Another town, another gondola. You generally get a free or discounted pass to the gondola – we just made it on the last ride up and had to be sure not to miss the last ride down.

Our own personal gondola ride. Room to play.
Another Swiss alpine view from the gondola.
A good dinner on the terrace of the youth hostel.

11) Ilanz, Switzerland. 2 nights. Where we swam in a stainless steel swimming pool, took a day trip to Chur and decided to head to Germany.

Train boost! This was a Sunday so we think the big bike cars were added to the train to handle the weekend numbers.
Briefly in Austria, that little yellow dot is Rich., forgetting to stop for the obligatory border photo.

12) Wangen im Allgäu, Germany. Our first stop in Germany after a crowded ride along and away from Bodensee holiday bike traffic.

Met some lovely German cycle tourists headed the other way. We bonded over our non e-bike status and exchanged emails.
A good way to practice German? Gossip mags and wine.
Age is not important. Unless you are a cheese. Words to live by.

13) Memmingen, Germany. On the ride here we continued to be amazed by the number of solar panels on rooftops and had to seek shade for our picnic lunch.

So much solar! So impressive.
Roadside shrines and monuments generally have trees. A fairly good place to stop if we can’t find a shady bench.

14) Landsberg am Lech, Germany. First proper Biergärten, odd fun fact: Johnny Cash was stationed here during WW2. He was a Staff Sargent and a crack Morse code operator.

Enjoying beer and wine on the Lech River.
Riding out of town down the Lech.

15) Augsburg, Germany. 2 nights. Wandered the old town enjoying the canals, and got Rich’s bike fixed! No easy feat with bike shop repair demand and an older touring bike chainring failure.

Loads of farmland riding in this part of Germany. On the upside the corn can block the wind, on the downside- little corn gnats if you rode too close to the corn.
Will Singer to the rescue. He was super nice and let us leave the bags and bikes until he could find time to fix the bike. He had it done by noon.
Really, lots of farmland.
Good tram system in Augsburg.

And on to our next destination. Happy Pedaling.