Picture of the Week

19 September 2012

Week 36: here and there in California

Filed under: — Administrator @ 07:23

Week 36 continued in California. We spent most of our time exploring the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, making occasional day trips to places like Napa Valley or Big Sur.

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Morning sunlight on the parking lot of the Rockridge BART station:
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One morning we went to the Golden Gate Bridge to do the ritual walk across. The area is very popular with recreational cyclists:
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The bridge was completely shrouded in fog, so we postponed our walk to another day:
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The same day we went for lunch at Bette’s Oceanview Diner in the 4th Street area of Berkeley. The place is very popular, so there was a 40-minute wait which I spent walking around the area while my family waited in the restaurant. The range of services advertised here give a good idea of life in Berkeley:
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There is even poetry in a highway underpass:
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We finally had our lunch at Bette’s. The place has a certain ambience, but I found it nothing special and overpriced. For me, it was very much a case of “been there, done that”, similar to my reaction to the famous Chez Panisse restaurant, also in Berkeley:
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After lunch, we went to a North Face outlet in a less posh neighbourhood of Berkeley:
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We spent a day driving around Napa Valley, tasting wine at a couple of places and seeing some more. Compared to other wine areas we have visited, Napa Valley is very manicured. This is the view from the entrance of the Artesa winery, our first stop:
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We tasted and bought wine at Artesa and at Michael Mondavi’s winery (separate from the large Mondavi outfit). In general, we found most of the Napa reds too light and expensive for what they are. But we did come away with four bottles:
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A sour note while driving around Napa:
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My cousin’s house is near the southern end of College Avenue which leads up to Berkeley. But even the Rockridge part of the avenue has many nice shops and restaurants, and this wonderful independent bookshop:
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Bookshops are for browsing (and buying books):
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During my two weeks in Oakland, I was able to go cycling six times. My usual route was to climb the hills overlooking Oakland and San Francisco. One morning I got a good view of the morning traffic while passing a freeway entrance:
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My daughter and I spent an afternoon in Haight where she had picked some shops to visit. But first we had coffee:
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My daughter takes pictures too:
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Drinking coffee. Monica has recently gotten into wearing long socks:
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One of the shops we visited was in fact a sock shop where Monica got three pairs (the other places on her list were the Anarchist Bookshop and the Amoeba music shop):
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One of San Francisco’s iconic buildings:
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One of the places on my list to visit was the City Lights bookstore on the edge of Chinatown:
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City Lights is a wonderful place, faithful to its heritage:
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“Free the Press”:
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We did:
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We must have spent an hour at City Lights, and we came away with a reasonably heavy bag. Where else would I buy a collection of haiku by Kerouac?:
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Street signs in San Francisco serve as advertising platforms:
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Church entrance:
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Being vegan, my daughter was in heaven in the Bay Area. She found several unique places, among them the Souley Vegan restaurant in downtown Oakland:
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Only in California will you see signs advertising “Aquarian Minyan”:
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Diners, Berkeley:
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One afternoon we finally did walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, in glorious sunshine. I tried to take interesting pictures of this much-photographed structure:
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Heavy transport on two wheels:
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More heavy transport on two wheels:
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Fisherman’s Wharf is a rather tacky tourist trap, but the seagulls love it:
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One the way to Big Sur we had to stop in Monterey to pay homage to one of my favourite writers:
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Take-off, Monterey:
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Surf report in burrito shop:
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Oakland driver:
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You know you are in low-rent neighbourhood when you see signs like this:
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I guess a lot of this laundromat’s customers attend the Burning Man event:
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Criolla Kitchen:
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In the UK it is common to see LOOK LEFT or LOOK RIGHT painted on the sidewalks to warn pedestrians. Here is the San Francisco equivalent:
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My full California gallery can be seen here.

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