When you’re new to a city, making a concerted effort to explore new neighborhoods and see the sights is a given, but over time the newness wears off. You’ve seen more by then, so you explore less, even when there are still things you want to see or do.
It wasn’t that long ago for me when San Francisco still felt that new, with so much I hadn’t seen or done yet. After four years, the newness has mostly worn off. I still love seeing this city from almost any angle, but other things have inevitably taken a higher priority than weekend sightseeing. Travel for work and for pleasure has commanded my attention a lot lately.
That’s why it was wonderful to have friends visit last weekend. We throughly enjoyed showing them San Francisco, and I finally got around to seeing a few more of the sights that have somehow gotten missed.
We climbed to the top of Telegraph Hill to see Coit Tower, which reopened earlier this year after undergoing restoration. We waited in line for the tiny elevator to enjoy the 360 degree views from the top. Then after heading back down the hill, we crossed through North Beach and climbed to the top of Lombard Street.
Somehow I’d never climbed to the top of either before. They aren’t on my regular tour of the city when friends come to visit, but with these views they may be from now on. (You’ve been warned.)
The next day we showed off Golden Gate Park and visited the Japanese Tea Garden. A first for me too.
We showed up at Burma Superstar, a well known Burmese restaurant in the Richmond, right at 5:00 pm (their opening time) to introduce them to wonders of the tea leaf salad — without even having to wait in line. More than a minor victory.
Happy and full, we ended the day by watching the sunset on nearby Ocean Beach. A splash of hot pink spread across the sky in the last moments of light, a surprise none of us saw coming, but a fitting end to a weekend in which I was reminded just how much beauty there is to enjoy around the corner from home.
P.S. — There’s still more to come from Asia. Soon!