Sunday, 6 May 2012

Castro and Twin Peaks

While visiting with Ric, when he went to work at the Lucent Technology offices in Alameda, I would take BART into the City. Being a 'kid' who loves rail transit, I would get off of the train at Embardadero (the first station arrived at from East Bay), go up to street level - Market - and catch one of the iconic old tram/streetcars for the ride along Market Street to the end of the line at Castro. Once there I would choose a place which served breakfast.    

A BART train pulling into Concord Station. As you can read in the overhead sign, this is the train that goes all the way to near San Francisco Airport (SFO) and Millbrae which was handy for me when I was returning home to Toronto.

My favorite breakfast place was 'Welcome Home' simply because grits was an option. Welcome Home closed a couple of years ago but I can remember it back in the 1970s when I first began to travel to San Francisco.  While not an overly large eatery, the food was good and, if dining alone, the waiter would place me at the 'community table' which was a great way to meet others.

Up the block (and I mean that direction literally as Castro went down hill from Market to 18th Street and then up a fairly steep incline  to about 22nd before dipping again) was/is The Cove which is a long time standby. When I ate lunch there I usually enjoyed the 'soup of the day'. At the corner of 18th and Castro is Harvey's (an actual restaurant - not the burger chain) while right beside the streetcar stop on 17th is Orphan Andy's - two other places where one can go for breakfast.

The corner of Castro, 17th and Market Streets on the 4th of July. In the background is a part of the huge rainbow flag which can be seen from many parts of the city.

PFLAG (which I am currently involved with  here in Toronto) has a booth at the various street fairs in San Francisco. I saw these folk first at the Folsom Street Fair and then, later, in Castro. I love the sign that this older gentleman was carrying.

Near that intersection is the Castro Theater - known for the screening of older films - even some from the era of silent movies. This is a huge draw for film buffs.

                 Looking down Castro from 17th and Market with the Castro Theater on the left.

18th and Castro looking up towards Market Street As you can see by the overhead wires, as well as streetcars and diesel buses, there are trolley coaches too.

There is a height which dominates most of San Francisco - Twin Peaks just above Castro. As the service by the MUNI is exceptional, there is even a diesel bus route serving the population which lives just below the peak. One day I transferred to that bus and rode up alighting near a flight of stairs which rises to the actual peak. The view in all directions is spectacular.

 Looking down Market Street to the financial core of San Francisco. The little bits of blue to the left and to the right are parts of San Francisco Bay.

                                              The twin towers which dominate the city.

                                                 From Twin Peaks to the Golden Gate

A guy driving a convertible stopped and offered me a ride back down  the mountain but I declined in favor of  descending on foot. That was a mistake - the stairway up which I had climbed did not have a railing and I do suffer from vertigo from time to time so I had no option but to descend those stairs while sitting on my behind!

About ten or twelve blocks down Market Street from Castro is Church Street and near that corner is a restaurant - "Home" - that is a favorite of Ric's and mine. We were there for dinner one evening leaving at sunset. Outside on the street was a great sight - fog rolling over the top of Twin Peaks.

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