Monday, December 28, 2009


The college town of Berkeley is an easy daytrip from San Francisco using the BART trains. The city and the University of California campus conjure up visions of 1960's and 70's student dissent, especially to the Vietman War. That dissent dwindled in the 80's and 90's but was revived with President Bush's policies and the War in Iraq.

The city and campus have a classic college town feel with Strawberry Creek meandering through the campus and interesting shops and bookstores on the "student" streets like Telegraph Avenue.

Be careful catching the BART back to San Francisco. Somehow we took an unexpected and unplanned side trip to Fremont when our visit to Berkeley was over. With the help of a lovely local headed to San Francisco we found our way.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Nancy invited us over to help trim her tree. She had the most delicious snacks and lots of Prosecco and her signature cocktail: The Poinsettia, aka, The Red Rocket. There was a very Christmassy feeling.

Her tree is always one of the highlights of the Season. Here is recent addition to her collection of Chistmas tree ornaments.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Christmas Cheer

Best wishes to you all on Christmas Eve. We toast you with prosecco, above, and   Nancy's "Poinsettias", below.

Market Street

Market Street bisects the city of San Francisco from Castro and 17th Streets to the  Ferry building at the Embarcodero on the Bay. A wonderful collection of antique streetcars, the F cars, run from Castro to the Ferry Plaza and north to Fisherman's Wharf along the waterfront.

The street passes through residential, civic and downtrodden neighbourhoods and finally reaches the Financial district near the Ferry docks.

A very useful route for tourists and locals alike. We recommend that visitors get the special 1, 3 or 7 day MUNI passports available at the kiosk at Powell and Market Streets.


Castro Street the famous center of the gay community in San Francisco is busiest just south of Market St and 17th Street.
The centerpiece for this area is the beautiful Castro Theatre designed by Timothy L. Pflueger in 1922.

 Pfleuger based the exterior design on Mexican cathedrals and many of the original deco details including the tiled ticket booth remain intact.

The street is lined with shops catering to the gay locals and tourists who throng the neighbourhood The merchants often display a camp and wicked sense of humour.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mission Dolores

Also known as Misión San Francisco de Asís, the mission was established in 1776. The diorama pictured here was created for the 1939 World's Fair at San Francisco and represents the mission and its setting as it would have looked in 1791.
The original chapel built in 1791 still stands and is the oldest extant building from the missions of California. The decorative altar above was made in San Blas, Mexico and brought here in 1796.
The wood carving of Mater Dolorosa, Our Lady of Sorrows, stands above the main altar of the new Basilica next door, built in 1918.

Mission Cemetery

Burials have taken place at the Mission Dolores cemetery from the 1790's until the 1890's. Once covering a larger area it has been consolidated into the present site.

The remains of some 5000 Native American converts have been brought together into a mass grave.

Most of the present grave markers are from after the Gold Rush and comprise notable citizens who have given their names to the streets of the city.

Dolores Park

The Mission neighbourhood around Mission Dolores and Dolores Park is favoured by both the Latino and the young, hip, arts communities of San Francisco.

On the weekends, if the weather is good, locals gather at Dolores Park to worship the sun and to see and be seen.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Haight Streetlife

The old hippy village of San Francisco still bristles with life.

Couples still express intimacy or fight.

People still graffiti the walls with heros or designs although the Art Nouveau favoured in the late 60's has been replaced by Hiphop stylings.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


The architecture and colours of Haight Street certainly make sense of the area being the centre of the hippies of the Summer of Love. It's wonderfully picturesque and yet neighbourhoodly.

Now a bit of a historical site, it still has a certain vibrancy. We enjoyed a walk through it.

New Babies

John's family had a Chrismas reunion at the Holiday Inn in Guelph, Ontario, this past weekend. He writes: My brilliant sister and her husband had rented a room with a living-room suite. When I pushed open the door my whole family was there, eating and drinking and talking. The centerpiece, pictured above in their mother's laps, were Ella (in hat), 10 months, and Cooper, 3 months.

Ella was unusually serious the next morning as she waited with her dad for the group family photograph to be taken.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rome 1999

The bicycle wheel says "I Bike Rome".

Roman Carabinière at the Trevi Fountain

It was so nice of him to pose for me.

Spanish Steps 99

Here are some local Italian guys working the tourists at the Spanish Steps in Rome.

So much energy...