Since the Worldwide Photowalk occurred on two days this year, I decided to participate twice! The second one was scheduled for a walk from Levi plaza to the top of Telegraph Hill in San Francisco. Since I had never been in this area, I thought that would make for a nice venue.
Our leader was Jenzie Hallifax, a native San Franciscan. This was her first year as a Photowalk leader and she did a pretty good job! She laid out a very nice route that took us up a series of stairs through a very scenic neighborhood with great views. The one problem we had was that the time was changed at the very last minute and I never received any emails from her. Well, I guess that’s two problems. Apparently she sent out emails, but I never received any. Anyway, the time was originally scheduled for 9:45am and got changed at 10:55pm the night before to 12:15. It’s a good thing that I checked the site just before leaving or else I would have driven an hour to an empty meeting place (presumably – perhaps there were others who also missed the change).
Well, the weather was beautiful – bright and sunny with just a touch of a breeze and clear visibility (for San Francisco). The bright sun was not especially helpful, but the mild weather was certainly welcome. We met in Levi plaza, which has some lovely fountains. Jenzie got a group picture and laid out the basic rules – watch where you’re going, be safe – stuff like that, and we were off!
The route up consisted of a very pretty climb up a variety of staircases that wound their way through the surrounding neighborhood.
The bay was full of sailboats, that could be seen in a peek-a-boo fashion through the trees and bushes on the way up. The Bay Bridge was prominent in many of these views, as was Treasure Island.
About 2/3 of the way up I came across this fire hydrant that had a lovely little painting on the walls behind it. It’s always fun to see the personality of a city and neighborhood come out in such a way!
The final stairway opened out at Coit Tower. From here there was a vista point that afforded a view of the Golden Gate bridge, Alcatraz, Lombard Street, and much of the bay. Unfortunately the surrounding bushes had been allowed to (deliberately?) choke off the view for the most part, only allowing us to catch bits and pieces over the juniper bushes.
There was a clear (except for the bushes) view of the Golden Gate bridge. It was a great view of the full span, although the air was not as clear as you might like, it beat the heck out of the usual fog that chokes the bay.
In the front courtyard stand a statue that I’m told is Christopher Columbus, but I didn’t see that prominently displayed anywhere (I failed to take a picture of the plaque to refer to – my bad). I didn’t find it to be a particularly inspiring statue; he is depicted in a somewhat awkward pose; I think they could have done better. Also, I don’t really get why there’s a status of Christopher Columbus there at all…
Inside, Coit Tower is decorated with murals that were commissioned as part of the New Deal in 1933 where artists were hired to decorate the interior as a Public Works project.
Around back was a view of the Bay Bridge, the Transamerica Pyramid, and the clock tower at the Ferry Building.
It was also from here that you got what I think was the best view of Coit Tower. The elevator to the top of the tower cost $7, but I didn’t feel that I had enough time to spare for the view, and it gives me a good excuse to return!
A somewhat steeper stairway lead back down to the neighborhood below. At this point I was pretty much by myself, most of the photographers having dispersed at Coit Tower. I walked through the neighborhoods enjoying the scenic views of the city and the bay.
Back at sea level I walked back to our starting point – into a park just opposite Levi plaza (or perhaps it’s considered part of it?) – where I found a father and two children watching the fountains there. I also saw other young families enjoying the great weather.
The terminus for this photowalk was the Fog City Diner – a retro 50’s sort of place with great food and prices to match. A bowl of admittedly very good macaroni and cheese went for $13.50!!! I didn’t see anything on the menu – not even appetizers – for less than $5. Booths were cramped, but the atmosphere was amiable. I sat with our leader and two other photowalkers and talked a little of what we saw. Like the photowalk the previous day I didn’t see many people sharing their photos and I was more than a little disappointed by that.
Thus endeth the Fourth Annual Worldwide Photowalk. I’ll look forward to next year where I might just decide to step up and lead a walk myself!