Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunshine Keeps Knocking on My Window Today

We are enjoying the longest period of consistent sunshine we've had the pleasure of basking in for at least four months.  Of course we're not doing it in Paris, where winter still reigns supreme.  Instead we are perched on the top of one of San Francisco's vertiginous hills thanks to an extremely generous friend who offered us a wonderful place to stay while here, since our own house is rented to others.


This means that rather than feeling like homeless exiles in our own town we are feeling like vacationers in one of the top vacation destinations in the U.S., with views to kill for.  The Maritime History Museum's restored vessels are below and Alcatraz beyond.  The occasional tanker or cruise ship passes between them on weekdays and dozens of sailboats, spinnakers billowing, on the weekend. 

We're also benefiting from incredibly lucky weather patterns.  The forecast was for rain and we packed for rain, knowing that February in the SF Bay Area is usually the wettest month of the year.  The first year I lived here it rained every single day in February.  In the week we've been here it's rained about 3 hours.  

The air is clear and crisp and the outdoors irresistible and this morning we pulled ourselves away from the view and went to the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero for lunch and a walk.  That's not by any means to say we gave up on views.  The top photo of the Bay Bridge and Oakland beyond it was taken from the Ferry landing.  Extraordinary sights are almost ordinary here.

I had forgotten that the tramway running along the restored Embarcadero uses antique tramcars, gathered from all over the world, restored and put back into service here.  This is the one that we crossed in front of today.  Very cool.

Beyond the track and on top of Telegraph Hill is Coit Tower, famously dedicated to the firemen of San Francisco by heiress Lillian Coit, the original firefighter's groupie, sitting above a collection of pre- and post-1906 earthquake bungalows on the slopes of the hill.  It's great, and rare, to be able to appreciate these things as an outsider, a visitor, and that's what we are at the moment.  Lots better than being homeless.


Amanda said...

What a view and the food is pretty wonderful too in SF! You're very lucky to be able to experience both sides of the Altantic. (I do consider myself extremely lucky to be able to do that because I like both places but also get mad at both places).

alisa said...

envy, envy envy.....

Snowed ALLLLL day here.

Karin B (Looking for Ballast) said...

Hi Shelli and Gene! I have read this post and the next one, too, about your missing Paris and feeling it is Home.

I was thinking about this sentence. "Extraordinary sights are almost ordinary here." It is so true that when we get accustomed to a place, sometimes it loses its extraordinariness, and just becomes ordinary. I know that is a bit like my fiancé feels after 20 years in Paris, although every so often something in Paris takes him by surprise, too, and helps rekindle the deep love he has had for her in the past.

I got to thinking about how the places and people with whom we really belong, who really call to us, never cease to be extraordinary. Don't you think?

Thank you for inspiring some good thoughts for me today and sharing your wonderful photos! SF actually looks WARM there and I am envious of the warmth! Funny thing -- I am in the French Riveria right now, in Antibes, and it is as lovely as ever but COLD and even had snow at the end of last week! Crazy stuff. I have only ever been here in February and March, three times now (oh, and one weekend in late September), and each time I have visited, it has only gotten *colder*. I have to say, though, it is still a very pretty place. :) I just need to intend to visit when it is actually warm here!

Be well and Happy Valentine's Day to you.