Woohoo, I’m here in San Francisco for the launch of my most recent book (a collection of tales from the indigenous Yagán people of southern Patagonia, which I have translated to English). My presentation was on Friday night – so Saturday morning it was time to burn off a bit of physical energy, and go for a running tour of the city.
I was staying in a hotel on Post Street, in JapanTown. I’d heard about the great farmer’s market at the Ferry Building, and also that I could get a good breakfast there. So I had only a cup of coffee at the hotel, then headed out eastward along Post Street a bit before 8:30. The streets were pretty quiet at that hour, and the sidewalks weren’ t too crowded. I stopped at one of the traffic lights to tighten my laces, and when I looked up I was surprised to recognize the spot as the start line for the Nike Women’s Marathon, which I ran with the women of Project Athena in 2010.
I hung around the Ferry Building for a while – first checking out the farmer’s market, then ordering breakfast at the “slow-food” American Eatery. It was slow food all right – took a while to get it – but it was definitely worth the wait: getting food that has actually been cooked and prepared specifically for you. I had a pork and corn-bread “scrapple” with an egg on top, and fried heirloom cherry tomatoes on the side: a very tasty and nutritious meal that would keep me going for the next few hours. I found myself a bench overlooking the harbour where I could sit and enjoy it.
Then I headed out again, first eastward along the water, and then exploring inland. Dave had told me to go run down Lombard Street – that iconic winding San Francisco street. I found it on the map, thinking that the winding part would just be a quick run up the hill frm the water. But I turned left on Lombard to find a huge cliff in front of me! No winding road up that! So, I figured, the winding part must be the downhill on the back side of that cliff. I started searching parallel streets, getting cliffed out again at the next one,
but the third one dead-ended in a stairway that got me partway up the hill. I cut back on another side-street, another steep uphill, up to Lombard. Then I ran down that part of Lombard: still no winding part! I finally found it – it was the next uphill to the west. That was a lot of hills.
So from there, another big downhill northward, back to the water: Ghirardelli Square, then Fisherman’s Wharf – where there was a tall ship anchored, and there were so many active people, running and cycling and swimming laps in the ocean. That was also my first view of the Golden Gate Bridge – and a formidable rocky island that I realized could only be Alcatraz. By now I was really thirsty… I hadn’t had anything to drink with my breakfast because I figured that I would find a place to buy some juice along the way. But there was nothing! It wasn’t until 10:45, over two hours into my adventure, that I finally found a water fountain and café side-by-side.
See, isn’t that a great thing about running? What a way to see the city… and it’s free, and it’s good for you. I had a really great day!