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This is another alley of murals.  I never knew there were so many in the city.  This one has a procession that goes down it on Dias de los muertos (also my birthday!).

This one looks like stained glass.

Notice the chair?

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This weekend was the second time I went looking for the sign.  I still couldn’t find it.

After further research, it turns out the pieces are in different places – one in someone’s back yard and the other in a theater.

I’m calling this one a flop.  Oh well.  Can’t win them all.

Edit: In case you’re curious, I found a bit about the sign here.

This started off as a lazy morning bicycle ride.  We were going to stop and get some coffee and see what happened from there.  Perhaps bike into the Mission and look in book stores.  Then I thought, why not bike to the bottom of Twin Peaks?  But then Peter hates walking his bicycle, so we just did it.  One slope at a time.  Everyone else biking was wearing spandex and had fancy road bikes.  Meanwhile I had my city bike with the heavy basket on the front and the not-so-low gears.  Still, I biked the whole way!  (Except for a part where we carried our bicycles up the Pemberton steps, and I think that’s even harder than riding up a hill, but that’s another post.)

The view was incredible.  I had hoped to see the Farallon Islands on the horizon, but it was too foggy (Wonder 49 is the fog.  It keeps getting in the way of other wonders!).

We sat at the top of the peak and ate our sandwiches while picking out landmarks like they were stars (See that big brick building?  Now look just behind it and to the left a little, I think that’s the office!).  Such a beautiful day and we felt so strong and proud to have made it to the top.

In case you’re curious how my list of wonders is going so far (I do love a good list), I made a page where the posts are all linked from.

When I write about a new one, I’ll add it to the list.  Soon all those blanks will be filled!

The 49 Wonders of SF

Does anyone else feel like the July long weekend is the real beginning of summer?  It was always by then that I was definitely done school (both as a kid, then as an adult when I was working in the school system), the weather is almost always hot by then and summer things like camping and going to the beach are in full swing.  I love July. San Francisco Julys tend to be colder than I’m used to, but this year is off to a great start.

This July is bittersweet for me since it’s going to be my last month in San Francisco before moving to Vancouver.  I want it to be full of fun things so I gave myself a kick and left the house with my camera this weekend.

Goal: To finish visiting, photographing and writing about the 49 wonders.

I’m getting a little tired of them and there seem to be so many murals to see on the list (which was fun at first, but now I can’t help but think “Great.  Another mural.  It’s pretty, but so what?!”

Saturday, Peter and I got up in the morning and were heading out with the thought of stopping to get some breakfast somewhere and having a lazy day.  Then I suggested that we head up to Twin Peaks, since it was one of the things on my list that seemed like Peter would enjoy too.  At first I thought we would bike to the bottom of the hill, but Peter convinced me we should bike it.  And on our way we carried our bikes up the Pemberton Steps.  Then once we were at the top, we decided to keep on going and hit up 7 more of the wonders on the list.

I should take a second here to tell you that while the map that I’m following has 49 numbered wonders, some of those wonders in themselves are multiple sites.  So, in fact there are much more than 49 things to see.

Then Sunday I checked off another two.

And Monday was one more.

So, stay tuned to read about some more of the wonders.  My hopes are up that I will still get through them all before August!

Happy summer.

-a

They’re sea lions.  I assume that there are some times way more of them here.  But when we went to see them, there was only a handful.

What makes for a good sea lion viewing day?  According to the book, there have been up to 1000 counted at a time during May and June.  It’s June, sea lions!  Where were you?

On our adventures exploring today, we discovered Forbes Island which is a strange floating “island” (read cobbled together houseboat pieces) restaurant.  It was originally built in Sausolito by a millionaire houseboat designer named Forbes Thor Kiddoo as a private floating home.  What a strange sounding dude.  Standing from the pier you can see some tall palm trees (that kind of look like they’re dying), the lighthouse and the motor.  I think I might want to go eat dinner there.  ‘Cause why not?  Their website says that there is bellow ocean dining, which could be fun.  I’ll see if it’s ridiculously expensive or not before I decide.

A beautiful set of ruins at what feels like the end of the earth (if the earth were flat, that is).

When I left my house to go exploring, it was sunny and warm, and then I took the bus into the fog and cloud that so frequently lays at the west side of the city.  This part of San Francisco doesn’t feel like the city at all.  There are rows of houses, people out for a walk, the beach, the fog, the park…  No hustle and bustle.

The park is at the top of the cliff, the ruins are right down by the ocean.  There are so many beautiful flowers out this time of year.  I wonder what is in bloom at other times and if it’s even half as colourful.

The view from the top.  It’s more beautiful when there aren’t so many clouds.  I promise.

Down the other side of the park, is the Sutro Baths Ruins (which is right beside the Cliff House, which was in this post about Wonder Number Four.)

It was so beautiful that I took picture after picture while I was here.  Enough talking.  Just look at it.  Then go visit it.  It’s worth the trip to the coast.

Edit: I just found this video clip over at the sfist – turns out the original bath house burned down in 1966.

Going out to the Cliff House is one of my favourite things to do when I’m taking people around the city.  The view is sometimes amazing (when the fog isn’t rolling around the bay), the food is good, and it’s a nice place to stop for a drink.

Around the back of the Cliff House lives the Camera Obscura.  Every time I’ve been so far, it’s been closed.  This time I got lucky and it was open!  It’s this strange giant camera with a live view of the 360 degrees surrounding it.  Based on a Leonardo da Vinci design, it is a strange and fascinating place to visit.

Saturday started off as a cloudy day in San Francisco, so Peter and I got on our bicycles and headed out to one of our favourite coffee shops for some coffee and breakfast sandwiches.  As we sat there, the day brightened and we decided to see where our bicycles would take us.

Off we went, thinking we’d only be gone half an hour or so, but, garage sales drew us up steeper hills and all of a sudden we were at the top of the hill barrier that usually keeps us from going into the Marina neighbourhood.  Since we were here already, we decided to go check out the Wave Organ.  Sadly, I hadn’t brought my fancy camera, and only had my cell-phone for capturing it, but it would do.

It was a sunny, yet windy day and The Bay was full of boats.  The Golden Gate Bridge was out in full glory – I can never resist taking its picture.

We walked out along the breakwater to where we thought the Wave Organ was and voila!  It appeared like some strange alien artifact.

The Wave Organ was commissioned by the Exploratorium in honour of Frank Oppenheimer, its founder.  The sound that the organ produces is created by the movement of waves in and out of a series of submerged pipes.  The sound is most active at higher tides and best at full moons (when tides are more extreme).

Saturday was a great day for hearing the organ.  We both wandered around listening to a few, than while I went around and listened to each pipe, Peter lay on one of the many stones in the sunshine and listened to the cacophony at a distance.

I tried to capture the sound for you on my cell phone’s video, and then got to explore the world of bluetooth transfers, movie editing and movie file formats, which doesn’t sound complicated, but I’m new to the world of Macs, so it was harder than it needed to be.

Well, after all of that work, I need to upgrade my blog to allow video, which I’m not currently willing to pay the $60 a year for (I know, it’s not much, but I’m cheap).  So, if you’re interested in hearing the wave organ, head over and see my video on YouTube.  It doesn’t quite capture how amazing the sound is, but you get the idea.  Lots of gurgling.  After watching other videos that other people have made, I realize that the organ was actually quite quiet when we were there.  The other videos are really cool (like this one)

Review of the wonder: definitely worth the trip

This is the one for wonder that you can’t actually see.  But there’s this lovely plaque commemorating them.

Did you know that the shoreline of San Francisco used to be a lot smaller?  The whole Embarcadero is landfill.  And what do you do with broken-down ships?  Leave them where they are and fill in around them.  I love the idea that when I’m walking down by the water, there are ships under my feet.

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