On Monday, my envoi day, I got out my new book of Historic Walks in San Francisco and I walked and walked and walked. I did the tours of the Fillmore, Japantown, Pacific Heights, and Cow Hollow (and then I walked up Telegraph Hill and down to the wharf, to catch the F train back to the Castro). What an absolutely perfect day to do this, when every house glowed invitingly and you could believe that San Francisco is the most beautiful city on earth. It helped that part of my tour brought me to the ostentatious mansions and apartment buildings of Pacific Heights. The book was filled with stories of various important and otherwise colorful characters from San Francisco's history, so I was in a sort of tourist heaven. At one point a woman who identified herself as "your local dyke contractor" saw me checking out a row of Victorians and stopped me to talk (for close to half an hour) about various restoration work she had done in some of the houses.
In mid-afternoon I called to check in with my mother, who is home and recuperating. My manager today told me he hoped my mother was resting comfortably and I said she's resting but I doubt she's particularly comfortable right now. I lorded it over my mother a little that as we were speaking I was walking through one of the most beautiful sections of San Francisco, with spectacular views, on a sunny sunny day, but she didn't seem to mind. At this point it certainly looks as if I'll be seeing through my plans to show my parents San Francisco at the beginning of April. In fact, the dyke contractor gave me her business card and encouraged me to call her if I take my parents on an architectural tour.
Beautiful it may have been, and comfortably warm in the bright sunshine, but it is still in fact winter so dusk brings a bit of a chill. I tried to get home before it got too dark and then, on my last evening, I drove across the Bay Bridge to attend a small shapenote singing in Berkeley, at a Craftsman-style church in the middle of a neighborhood of bungalows. It was about 7:15pm when I walked through the neighborhood, which is the time of day when you can often see into people's homes, a fact which I took advantage of. Those houses seemed so comfortable and warm and inviting, with beautiful dark wood interior detailing.
Usually I am more than ready to come home after a trip this long, and there was a moment last Thursday afternoon when I suddenly thought that I'd been away long enough and it was time to go right then. But after Monday I wanted to stick around until I had a chance to go through every one of the 18 tours in the book (I've now done 5 of them).