I walked a lot today. A whole lot.
I started out on Lombard at Van Ness with the intention of walking over two hills to the bay, turning right, strolling down the Embarcadero and taking the bus home from the end of Market Street.
Things went according to plan at first. I went up over Russian Hill, walking down the straight stairs alongside that notoriously curvy block, stopping for a ginger beer and a cookie at a cafe in North Beach, then climbing up the hill admiring Coit Tower ahead and to the right of me.
At the Telegraph Hill crest of Lombard Street, I looked at a memorial to Marconi and gazed out at the beautiful views. I got a surprise, though, when I went to what I thought were stairs down towards the bay. Lombard doesn’t go through. So I walked up along the curving road to the base of Coit Tower and found myself at an even better vista. I looked up at the tower and briefly considered climbing it but then thought “oh, probably better not; my knee has been a little sensitive lately and all those stairs could be bad.” Then I turned down a little stairway leading, I thought just a bit of a way to another road.
In fact, they were very steep – though pretty – brick steps and it took longer than I thought to get down the one block distance to Montgomery Street. I walked a block down Montgomery and found myself at the top of the famous Filbert Steps. These are a mix of stone and wooden steps through an almost impossibly charming neighborhood completely inaccessible by car. It was delightful. I took my time going down and visited the wood paths known as Darrell and Napier Streets. Magical. Well, and exhausting to contemplate the lifestyle of the folks who live there. To think of carrying in the groceries, let alone a new piece of furniture is daunting to say the least.
When I emerged at the base of the steps, I was just two blocks from the bay, but on Filbert, not Lombard. I turned left on Sansome and noted as I passed the Greenwich Steps which merit exploration on a future walk (from the top down, I think). I reached Lombard, turned left and walked the two blocks to the base of the cliffside of Telegraph Hill. Now I could have just turned around and walked the three blocks to the bay to complete Lombard Street, but it occured to me that I wasn’t awfully far from Cost Plus and I wanted to get a few small jars for giving gifts of the mustard I’ve been making at home lately. I went down a little street at the cliff end of Lombard called Winthrop, turned left on Chestnut, slipped through the C|Net parking lot and ended up on Kearny Street.
Now I couldn’t quite remember where Cost Plus was exactly, so I went two blocks left on Francisco, then a block right (north) on Midway and came out on Bay just before Stockton. There were the Cost Plus banners four blocks ahead of me. I walked up there, did my shopping and came out the other side of the store on North Point Street. I followed a zigzagging path from there up Mason, along Beach, up Powell to the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf. Again, I could have turned east and finished my walk, but somehow I wasn’t ready.
Feeling bold and resistant to tourists, I walked west, browsed in the National Park Service store, and almost gave in to a guilty desire to visit the wax museum but was stopped by the $12.95 price tag and the unnaturally peachy-pink color of the Lady Di figure on display outside. (Someday I do want to find a companion eager to give in to the tacky for a few hours and we will visit not only the wax museum, but also Ripley’s Believe It Or Not and that ride that recreates the 1906 earthquake. I’m sure I won’t enjoy them as much as I enjoyed Madame Tussaud’s in London, but curiousity preys upon me anyhow).
Once thwarted by sticker shock, I started walking back along the Embarcadero towards Market Street. It was at this point I began to feel a little wobbly in the legs. Not injury or pain, but definite fatigue. Still, I was bound and determined to reach my goals. I went down to Lombard, checked off that exceedingly dull last block, and continued along the Embarcadero until sighting the blessed vision of the Fog Street Diner. I sat (O, to sit is a fine thing!) at its rose quartz bar and consumed, slowly, a half of a Dungeness crab and an expertly made Sidecar. My sensibilities thus restored, I finished my journey to Market Street via the Embarcadero and Drumm Street and caught my bus home.
Streets completed today:
and a number of small lanes & alleys