Follow my yoga quest at home and on the road…

San Francisco – San Fran-tastic!

on June 19, 2013


Prior to arriving in San Francisco I wrote a list of what I hoped to do whilst there. It is good to have a plan, as then you have something to amend…

Bay Bridge, San Francisco

Bay Bridge, San Francisco

San Francisco was my final destination in the United States, at the end of a six week trip. I loved the “feel” of San Francisco. I spent five chillaxed nights (12-17 May 2013) in San Francisco (SF). Chillaxed… partly because it is chilly (LOL) and mostly because it was relaxing.

I had lovely accommodation at a yoga friendly Kimpton Hotel – The Hotel Argonaut. As promised, there was a yoga mat in the wardrobe, and a TV channel dedicated to yoga, etc. The hotel location – on Jefferson – was convenient to many of the tourist highlights, and it was also a short taxi ride/cable car trip, or a manageable walk to move away from the crowds.

I first visited SF around 25 years ago – I remember not being able to see much of the harbour due to mist/fog. Ditto on this occasion .

Prior to arriving in SF I wrote a list of what I hoped to do whilst there. It is good to have a plan, as then you have something to amend. Anyway, this is what I did, and didn’t do…Visited the Musee Mecanique – an entertainment blast from the past… from my own, my parents, and my grandparents. It was a great place for young and old alike. 017 - musee mecanique entrance sign

I went on a lovely long walk that took me to, and up, the Coit Tower. The view from the top was great (albeit a hazy day) eg Bay Bridge, G2B, Fisherman’s Wharf, etc. Interesting murals on the internal walls of the tower reminded me of murals and other artworks viewed in New York (five weeks ago), ie in and around the Rockerfeller Centre. I walked down the 400 steps from the Coit Tower to the waterfront. These steps lead me past lovely, lush, private gardens. I then visited the Ferry Building, and caught the tail end of the farmers market which is held there several times per week.

Mural at Coit Tower

Mural at Coit Tower

I caught a street car from downtown, along the length of Market St to Castro. I had intended walking from Castro to Golden Gate Park, BUT found that the map I was using was not to scale, and was not topographical, ie the intended walk was much further, and much hillier than I had realised. As it was approaching late afternoon, I abandoned that adventure and caught a street car back to downtown, then joined a long line to catch a cable car to my hotel, at around 5pm. The cable cars are a popular tourist attraction – hence the line. NB catching cable cars at 6.30am to yoga is a breeze… more about yoga later.

Basking sea lions at Pier 39

Basking sea lions at Pier 39

On two occasions, I went to see the sea lions that gather on pontoons at Pier 39. They are an adorable, yet smelly, noisy bunch. They snuffle, snort and grunt as they jostle until they find a comfortable spot in amongst the pile of sea lions, that is, until someone decides to move…

I visited Union Square, and chanced upon a free blues concert. As I was en route to Biscuits and Blues to see Kevin Russell perform, I could not stop for long, however I enjoyed the music and atmosphere whilst I could. On to Biscuits and Blues… Kevin Russell sang the blues accompanied by a bass guitarist and a drummer. The club was underground, and intimate – the musicians were within arm’s reach. It was a great night out.

Kevin Russell played at Biscuits & Blues, San Francisco

Kevin Russell played at Biscuits & Blues, San Francisco

I attempted to catch the ferry to Saulsalito as I had heard this was a scenic trip, ie taking in views of the G2B, and the cafes were good The hotel advised me the time to catch the ferry, BUT their timetable was out of date and I missed the ferry…

I caught a ferry to Alcatraz – an interesting place to visit. The introductory video provided a good summary, and the audio tour for the cell house was very well done, the sound effects were graphic!

The weather ranged from cool to really cold, ie scarf, gloves, two jackets type of cold. I had thought I would be wearing shorts everyday by this stage of the trip. This was not to be

I noticed many interesting buildings in SF, Art Deco, and Art Nouveau trims and facades – ornate and amazing I, particularly likes the variety and styles of entrances to homes, eg welcoming vestibules with arches, multiple identical doors leading left, right and up to the respective dwellings, ornate steel gates, and decorative lights…

20130619-084528.jpgSan Francisco has many yoga studios that offer a variety of yoga styles. Following a search on the internet I chose to book three Vinyasa classes at Union Yoga. Union Yoga is located on the corner of Union St and Hyde St on Russian Hill, and was a short distance from my hotel. Initially, I had intended walking from the hotel to the studio… that was until I saw the gradient of that part of Russian Hill (!) Fortunately, a cable car stop was a stone’s throw from the hotel and the cable car passed right by the yoga studio – yeahh 🙂 I rode the cable car (CC) up Russian Hill to the yoga studio and walked back down to the Hotel.

Union Yoga studio is a bright, light space. The classes I attended were lead by Justin Montigne who is a very friendly, and welcoming teacher. It was easy to book and pay for classes on line. Classes were very reasonably priced at US$15 for a 1.5 hour session. Use of mats and props was included. There were changing rooms, and a space to store bags, shoes, etc in the reception area.

The day I left SF I was up early, and on to the cable car at 0630 – to attend the 0700 yoga class. As had occurred on my other early morning trips, I was the only passenger – which I quite liked.
The CC conductor remembered me from my initial early morning trip when I had asked for his advice of where to get off the CC for Union Yoga. As we got close to the yoga studio, he shyly asked me “What do you do in there? stretching?”.

The morning had brought beautiful, clear views of Alcatraz, and the Golden Gate Bridge. I took my camera with me to yoga, and took a few pics of the aforementioned as I walked back to the hotel for the last time. I also walked down the crookedest street, ie Lombard St, and took photos of some of the nearby porches and vestibules.

The Rock - Alcatraz

The Rock – Alcatraz

I left San Francisco wanting more and hoping to return again some day…

Thanks for a great stay San Francisco, and thanks to Justin and Union Yoga for a lovely yoga experience



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