Friday, 25 December 2009


For Christmas I gave myself....a little run around The City.

I was going to go when it was still dark but then decided I wanted to make this eight miler all about the sights. So, I waited til first light, so I could take some "snaps".

It started at the Port of San Francisco's Ferry Building. Wanted to duck in there for one last stop for Mother Nature...but dang if it wasn't all locked up. As I was about to set out I noticed a sprig of misteltoe dangling from an overhead wire.

Hung out there for about 30 seconds, hoping I might get lucky...then realized I could probably hang for 4 or 5 hours, or days, with similar, disheartening I set off, heading west, up the city's main drag, Market Street.
Didn't take long to realize that there were quite a few homeless folk out and about in the early morning chill. I'm guessing it seemed like a lot because their presence was not diluted by the normal workday masses. Most of those people were surely warm and full and being hugged. Not the order of the day on Market.

Where Powell Street and Market join in a "T", the city's famous mobile landmarks wait to carry giddy tourists to the top of Nob Hill.

There were three "gripmen" here, waiting for their turns to pull into place. Each of them was either talking on their cellphones or texting someone. In a few short minutes they'd be ringing their bells as they glided past Union Square. I was headed there...on foot.

Just before Union Square the temptation was strong to duck into the Gold Rush for a quick Irish Coffee...

Steadfastly, I resisted.
From here it was back to Market, with City Hall in mind. Before I got there, though, I cruised through United Nations Plaza and up to the city's old main library. Today it was not about was about scores of needy people digging through piles and piles of free clothes. They were hoping to find warmth in there...somewhere.

This scene played out just a stone's throw from one of the most opulent buildings in the city...

 a dedicated band of devotees to someone/something bigger than themselves performed their morning ablutions in the plaza.

One of my morning rituals is the homage I pay to the Blue Bottle Coffee Company. Quite simply's the best. One of the company's few outlets is a kiosk, tucked away on Linden, in the Hayes Valley area of the city, behind City Hall. I knew it was probably not open...and I was right.

How dare they take the day off! That's okay, really. I didn't have time to stop for a cup. I had to climb up Gough Street and then down Geary to take a pic of St. Mary's Cathedral, known to some locals as the "pregnant Maytag".

After a couple more blocks of climbing (walking!) I tumbled down Gough towards the waterfront. As I hit Fort Mason I was hit with a view of the iconic Golden Gate...

Not the best picture ever...but,'ve seen it a bazillion times...used your imagination, huh?

With only a couple miles to go to where I'd parked my car, I prepared my senses for the tastiest part of the run. As I headed into the Fisherman's Wharf area, I passed the California Shellfish Company. In its window, a couple of carolers...

After this it was Fisherman's Wharf proper...complete with fresh crab...

...and the cocktail version...

...and the intoxicating sourdough drift from the Boudin bakery!

Before heading into the home stretch, in other words, the last mile, I tooled around Pier 39, perhaps most famous for the colony of sea lions often seen, and heard there, basking in the sunshine. Plenty of sun there this morning but no sea lions. I guess even they go home for the holidays.
I hope you got to be home for the seasonal festivities, and that your celebrations were joyous and your personal encounters were sweet.
Gotta run!


RoadBunner said...

Merry Christmas! Looks like a great run.

Sky One said...

Thanks for the SF's virtual-tour! :-)

rUntoNamAste said...

Wow, what a tour and a great holiday gift to yourself! I wish the best for you and your family during this festive season.

p.s. I'm on the hunt for a pair of VFF's. You've been raving about it for a while now but I finally got the point after reading Born to Run. What a fantastic book!

TokyoRacer said...

Nice run, Michael, and the photos are great. In Japan the big holiday is New Year's, so...Happy New Year!

Chris Barber, said...

That looks like a really great run around the city. How did you find the time to take such great pictures? I love checking out a new city when I go running and some places offer tours. Check it out:

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

kara said...

Happy New Year Michael!

Can't wait to hear of your plans for this new year.