Saturday, January 8, 2011

Other People's Gardens . . .

I know you're all wanting to hear about yesterday's lunch with Lisa, and I'll tell you quickly that it was great fun, she's lovely and funny and warm and very gracious. More later on what and where, etc. . . but while you're waiting, could I show you a few photos taken on our wanderings in the Mission District in the forty-five minutes too early that we arrived for our meeting? (we would have been even earlier had we not mistakenly taken the BART to Oakland instead of in the right direction! Luckily, the massively industrial landscape clued us in quickly and we headed for the other side of the tracks for a returning train).
You probably wonder why I took photographs of random shrubs and trees in random gardens. At least, you'll wonder that if you don't come from a climate that discourages flowers and fruit from, oh, November 'til March. Factor in that Pater and I don't "do" winter sunshine vacations (altough that may be changing. . . we're beginning to see the charm of visiting this kind of flora and fauna in January). There are lemons on that tree, people (well, we're not positive, but some kind of globular, yellow fruit . . . lemon seemed the best guess, be careful about disillusioning us)!
And look at these grape vines flourishing -- I suppose we're likely to see much more of this as we head to the Napa Valley on sunday, but here they're so casual, so taken-for-granted . . . in January!
And I had to linger and take pictures of this stair-gateway simply because it's so pretty, the marriage of the dill-pickle green walls and the zinc-silver graceful metalwork.

The cinder-block fence might be pedestrian, but I love it with that green and blue -- and that marvellous cactus. My grandma used to keep a few cacti in pots, indoors in a sunny window, as a novelty, and that's about the limit of my experience with them as a horticultural possibility. We have weeks, days perhaps, that could supply their annual hydration needs. We don't "do"cactus. Know how to appreciate them, though. . . .
Next up, some street art to rival the SFMOMA collection . . . (and Lunch with Lisa, of course).
Today's our last full day in SF, though, and we'd better get out there. The plan is to hit the City Lights bookstore, the Contemporary Jewish Museum (at least to check out Liebeskind's architecture), a bit of Chinatown, a bit more than a bit of shopping. . . . what am I missing? oh yes, we have to stop in at the Ferry Building for the Saturday Farmer's Market. . . .
Is yours a busy Saturday as well? What are you up to?



15 comments:

  1. Glad you are going to take a look through Chinatown. SF's is very interesting. Portsmouth Square, a big cement park, is full of older Chinese Americans hanging out. Do go in if you have a chance. And, if you get really energetic, walk up to Coit Tower and ascend the stairs. Good view, great exercise. Mater, it was lovely to meet you and Pater.

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  2. Oh, the grapevine growing up the exterior wall is wonderful. I am realizing how hungry I am growing for the visual treat of greenery. I am envious of such a wonderful trip at this time of year.

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  3. Sounds like you are getting in lots of fun things...there is so much to see and do in SF.

    The deYoung is an interesting piece of architecture...

    You might consider a martini at the Top of the Mark (Hopkins) it offers a great view.
    Cafe de la Presse is a French inspired cafe where you can sit for a bit in between all the sightseeing.

    Have you gone to Gumps? Hermes?

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  4. Wow - I'm so envious!! I would love to visit San Francisco, it just looks so interesting! Look forward to hearing more about your trip! Happy New Year!! P.

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  5. It' fun to see these pics. Martin and I just spent the morning in the Mission, having lunch at Herbivore and coffee at Borderlands Cafe. We walked around, I think past that market in the third photo.

    I second LPC's suggestion of walking up to Coit Tower.

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  6. Having just got a boat load of snow, these photos are just the thing! I love those Mission district gates - and I think the cement block fence and cactus are fantastic. Thanks for this bit of summer.

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  7. I've always said what I love about the city is that there's something to delight the eye at every turning, and you have shown it. So many memories... and now you have them too!

    Oh how I miss the fish tacos.

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  8. Lisa: We fit in lots today, a stroll through Chinatown included. Coit tower we got to the first afternoon, but sadly, access is restricted to the main level right now because of construction. Still, an impressive vantage point.
    Thanks so much for taking us by the Painted Ladies yesterday -- we're realizing how much of SF we missed but also quite pleased at how much we saw on such a short visit, thanks to you!
    Terri: I have to admit it's quite wonderful to get away somewhere green this time of year -- usually I'm teaching now and it's not an option, but the research leave has granted me this window and I'm very grateful!

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  9. Hostess: Spotted that Cafe this afternoon! Walked by Gumps, wouldn't go near Hermes, having made a major Christmas acquisition at the Vanc'r store. In fact, decided to eschew shopping for this visit in favour of museums, galleries, walking, food, and wine . . . not such a bad trade-off, really. But def. some windows that have whetted my appetite for another visit. . .
    Patricia: Well, you've had such enviable travel the past few years, I'm surprised you'd be envious of mine. In fact, I was just saying to Pater that I have a blogging friend in Budapest and perhaps we should include that in our next European trip;-)
    Susan: So you're regularly within striking distance of the amazing H. slocombe ice cream? Lucky you!
    K: I know! it does feel like an absolutely different season -- and I say that from Canada's lotusland, never mind from "boatload of snow"country!
    Duchesse: It's stunning, really, as visually delightful to me as Lisbon, as Paris . . .different, but charming in its own way, with architecture and vistas and colour and street art. I love it!

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  10. Had to pop over after LPC's post.
    Oh seeing anything green and flowers at this time of year puts me on an absolute high.

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  11. Tabitha: Thanks for taking time to comment -- always love to have a new visitor. You brits generally have the same bleak winter weather to complain about as we do on Vancouver Island, so you know whereof I speak in getting excited about the green, right?

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  12. Hi Mater - I already wrote this but that comment seems to have disappeared into the ether. We would love to see you and Pater in Budapest! After the beginning of June we will be very busy, with exams for the boys and then getting ready to return, but it would be such fun!! :0) P.

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  13. I LOVE SF! Actually, not only do I love the city itself, but Marin County to the south is one of my favorite areas in the world. One day I'd love to spend a month renting one of the houses on pilings over the ocean in Bolenas.

    Reading your blog has been fabulous. The photo of the olive paint and silver metal gate is stunning.

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  14. Patricia: That's very generous of you, and Pater and I will think seriously about it. Looks as if it's a beautiful and interesting place to visit, hotels seem v. reasonable, although the city seems to offer considerable challenges as well. Perhaps we could exchange e-mails so that if we decide to follow up I could contact you. I'm fsproutATgmailDOTcom (of course, substitute the appropriate symbols for the AT and the DOT)
    Janet: We didn't get to the south at all, but we know there will be more visits to come.. . thanks for the kind words (actually, thanks for commenting at all, always welcome!)

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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