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Scenic San Francisco (Part I)

4 November 2011 No Comment

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco is often said to be the crown jewel of California’s Bay Area. Built on undulating hillsides surrounded by the pristine bay, the city’s mix of modern and Victorian style architecture, together with scores of parks gave it a sophisticated, yet quaint, feel.

The crew was lucky enough to have some relatives staying in the area. Armed with local knowledge, they brought us to scenic spots where we managed to capture on film some of the most beautiful moments of our journey. And we are proud to share these with you.

Golden Gate Bridge 

The first place we visited was the Golden Gate Bridge, which was built in 1937. This is without doubt one of the most iconic places in the entire United States, and as first time visitors we could easily identify the familiar shape that we have so often seen in Hollywood movies.

San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

We’ve caught some glimpse of the bridge from afar since arriving at San Francisco, but indeed, the view up close is the best. The bridge is painted in an orange hue, officially called ‘international orange’. It is said that this color was selected to complement the surroundings and to make the bridge more visible under heavy fog condition.

Golden Gate Bridge souvenir shop and viewing platform

The souvenir shop and viewing area

There’s a public car park on one end of the bridge for sightseers, not too far from the souvenir shop and vantage viewing area. The path leading from the car park to the souvenir shop and viewing area is wonderfully landscaped. An American flag flaps proudly at the viewing area, where people throng to get a good look of the bridge and snap photos. A short distance away is the circular souvenir shop, where one can purchase items reminding them of their visit or as gifts for those who have yet to visit this magnificent structure.


Palace of Fine Arts

Our next stop was to the north east of the Golden Gate Bridge – the Palace of Fine Arts. It took us about 20 minutes to get there, due to the traffic buildup caused by road works near the Golden Gate Bridge. Located in the Marina District of San Francisco, the Palace of Fine Arts is one of the few remaining structures originally built for the 1915 Panama-Pacific Exposition for the exhibition of art work.

San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts is surrounded by greenery, and fronted by an artificial lagoon. As it was a weekday, there were not a lot of tourists there. Instead, there were a number of locals lying on the soft grass and basking in the sun. The artificial lagoon was well maintained, and very popular with the swans, geese and ducks. Just opposite the lagoon are rows of houses and each house is designed differently from its neighbor, creating an interesting mish-mash of colors and patterns. Imagine living in one of these houses and having such an excellent view at your doorstep.

San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts surroundings

Houses nearby the Palace of Fine Arts

We took a stroll on the wide walkway and were awed by the design and size of the colonnades. In the centre of these colonnades is a rotunda. Originally, there were murals on display in the central rotunda, but those were removed after the reconstruction of the structure in 1964. Given the design of the structure, it felt as though we were somewhere in Greece or Rome.

Palace of Fine Arts

While it was a sunny day, the strong winds were too much for us to handle (especially in the shade) and we did not linger long. After a short photo-taking opportunity, we decided to head back to the warmth of our vehicle.

Palace of Fine Arts rotunda

Inside the main rotunda

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