"San Francisco"

During my days as a radio announcer in Ottawa I must have played Tony Bennett's " I Left My Heart in San Francisco" a thousand times. There was also a great song called "The top of the Mark" which is a night - club that overlooks the beautiful skyline of this majestic city in the famous Mark Hopkins Hotel. It is certainly a romantic spot for an unforgettable rendezvous.

Golden Gate Bridge

One great certainty about travel is that you will fall in love with many places and be caught with the feeling that you would like to drop everything and move to a new life in a place like San Francisco. I'll tell you something about this hilly paradise by the bay, if you plan to rent a car and I certainly recommend that you do, it is going to take some time to get used to driving around this city.

San Francisco is a magnificent built on forty two hills of varying size. As you can easily see in the images with this story, those hills are nothing less than unbelievable. You will start to cross an intersection and the front of your car will seem to be taking off into the wild blue yonder so that you have absolutely no visual contact with the road. Then in a split second the front of your car will drop as though you have driven off the edge of the world. It really does take some getting used to.

I loved everything about San Francisco. As a photographer the visual feast that this city places before your eyes is nothing short of exceptionable. San Francisco has served as the setting for countless movies and television shows and series so even for people who have never been here there is nothing unfamiliar about San Francisco.

Some people call it The City by the Bay, to some it is Bagdad by the Bay. Others still call it, The City That Knows How, some simply refer to it as "The City" but what the natives do not appreciate is to hear anyone refer to it as Frisco for some reason.

San Francisco is some 384 miles North of Los Angeles and the drive along the coast is one of the most beautiful in the world. There is so much to see and do here that a one or two week vacation does not even allow for a good start of exploring.

When I was in San Francisco I was there on behalf of a friend of mine in Air Canada. He often called upon me to go to various destinations to take some pictures and to create promotional audio - visual presentations for his office for use with travel agents. He called me one afternoon and said you take a few shots for me in San Francisco?" When I asked when he replied "now" and I was on my way. The biggest problem was usually finding someone who could go with me as an assistant.

Frisco Street
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Trolley Car
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Man with Dogs
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Trolley on Hill
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On this particular trip, arrangements had been made for me to stay in a 500.00 a night suite in one of the five star hotels. Talk about living high on the hog as the saying goes. The city has no end of fantastic hotels as well as a very good variety of economical accommodations as well. Like anywhere else in the world you have to use a certain amount of common sense when wandering around this incredible city. And that is exactly what you will want to do here, wander around on foot particularly in the famed Fisherman's Warf part of the city. You will also of course want to take the boat out to see one of the world's most famous prisons " Alcatraz." When you do be sure to dress warmly even in the summer because it is very cold on that bay even in the summer. I have not included any shots of Alcatraz with this story because I am going to be showing you a little more about that fantastic tourist sight in another story.

If you are a smoker and there are fewer of those around all the time these days you will want to be very careful here. There are less and less places every day in California where one can sit and have a smoke particularly in San Francisco.

As I said, San Francisco is a city built on 42 majestic hills and because of this fact has some of the most interesting and appealing architecture in the world. For anyone who likes to take pictures, this city is an endless treasure chest of great images just waiting to be captured.

Because of all the hills there is no shortage of spots with spectacular views. In some of the images that you see with this story there is the Transamerica Pyramid Bldg which is of course the tall, sharp pyramid in the impressive skyline. There is the 52nd floor of The Bank of America Bldg, The Coit Tower on the top of Telegraph Hill, The Embarcadero Sky Deck, the top of The Mark in the Mark Hopkins Inter-continental Hotel and of course the famed Golden Gate Bridge itself.

One of my best memories of San Francisco happened one evening when we had gone to Chinatown planning to have dinner. We elected to go into one of the top Chinese Restaurants, cost be damned, throw the canary another seed.

When we entered the restaurant, a group of waiters and some very impressive gentlemen in tuxedos gathered in a huddle and seemed to be talking about us. They would chatter together then point with no mistake in my direction. What ever it is I didn't do it I thought. All of a sudden the most impressive looking gentlemen of the group walked over to me and introduced himself as the restaurant's owner. He said that I was the biggest man he ever saw and asked if I would be his guest for the evening. Prices being what they were who was I to argue with this nice man. He treated me and my travel companion Hubert Larose like visiting Royalty and he prepared more food for us than any army platoon could easily eat. It was stupendous. What an evening that was.

We finally got away only after taking pictures and promising to send him a full set which I later did.

Yes indeed, San Francisco will always live in my mind as one of the most delightful destinations I ever visited. I think that most people are well aware of the fact that San Francisco has a very large gay segment in their population and it is all part of the wonderful and diversified personality of this very historic city.


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