A classic quote by the writer who spent many years in this often gloomy-but-pretty city. I myself didn't live here for very long, but I did spend a few years traveling back and forth out of the city for school and work. In my experience that quote by Mark Twain is mostly true. June is a foggy mess. In July it starts getting windy. By August city dwellers are often so dazed by the thick fog that they forget what the sun looks like. Then suddenly, in September, the sun peeps out of the clouds and everyone goes crazy wearing nearly nothing out on Market Street.
But I haven't spent any time in the city for some three years now. A lot has changed.
We spent our first night here hanging out in the Mission with our new room mates. They took us to a glamorous rooftop eatery called El Techo de Lolinda, where we filled our bellies with delicious tapas style treats such as spicy platanos, shrimp ceviche, and chicharrones de carne. As we walked about Mission Street and Valencia Street I could immediately see the difference between the then and now of the neighborhoods. Where were all the Latinos? Where were all the mom and pop restaurants and grocery stores from way back when? The tech scene that's come to the city has changed everything.
As we walked up the hill from Japantown to the Presidio, a big blue sky hung overhead. The breeze came in at an unsteady pace, this time without it's usual stinging chill. With out athletic shoes at the ready, Tomy and I headed out for an adventure.
Our first stop was Alta Plaza Park. Children and young adults played in the public sports areas for basketball, tennis, and more. On the grass, dog owners and their furry friends made smalltalk as we passed by hand in hand.
Uphill and to the left we found the beginning of what seemed a dream. Gigantic houses with intricately cared for front lawns. Huge glass windows framed by beautifully decorated balconies and terraces. I found myself saying, "If I was really rich I'd buy a house here." Tomy's reaction was quite the same.
Just passed the houses was the entrance to Presidio Park. Rich homeowners from the prestigious Marina and Presidio area come to jog and walk, to take in the eucalyptus breeze. Our short footsteps took us right down that same path, for we were on our way to find the Golden Gate Bridge.
Somewhere in the middle of Presidio Park we stumbled across a landmark I've never known before. Big red buildings lined up around a field of impeccable grass symbolized an American past I've never known before. The barracks of Presidio Park housed 9th Cavalry soldiers from 1903-1904, as well as a few areas still standing from the Civil War era. Plaques can be found in the area to teach some history, but the way we see it, it's not America's most glamorous story.
On our descent downhill toward the Golden Gate Bridge, we found several view points worth noting. To the right one can see a terrific view of the financial district, directly below lies Crissy Field, and to the left lies the landmark of the city, unfortunately covered in fog.
But in that fog lies much of the beauty of the city. The shops and landscape may be constantly changing, but the fog that rolls in preserves that everlasting mystical feeling of the place. It's not my favorite city in the world, but there are many reasons people fall in love with it. I look forward to discovering more gems in the city I always lived by and never truly knew.