USA: San Francisco – A City in Bay I
I gave myself a four-day vacation in San Francisco in the middle of my two-year au-pair stay in the US. Everyone, who ever was there, never said anything except superlatives and mentioned the difference between east coast and west coast cities.
Anyone who go to San Francisco wants to return there again and again. It was the best time to see it when I was on a long-term stay in US.
When you go from New York to San Francisco it means you have to fly over the whole United States, which takes 8 hours of flight with a stopover in Chicago. We had flight over three time zones and moved from the eastern part of the US to the western; from the shores of the Atlantic to the shores of the Pacific. The flight took the same time as the flight from Europe to the US.
San Francisco is the main center of culture in north California and in the area of San Francisco Bay. It is the 14th largest city and the densest city right after New York. Except many other characteristics, they say the city is the most beautiful city in the world; many would doubt it, however, I understood the meaning of these words when I got in San Francisco. The major difference between the east and west of the US is indeed major. New York and other eastern cities are located on flat land, on the other hand San Francisco is located on hills; the city center is not that unclean and overcrowded as Manhattan, there are lots of green areas, parks, palms, sea etc. … It is entire new city, different from those I was used to until then; it was without skyscrapers, omnipresent noise, it was more European. Roads cross city on hilly terrain; you have to just get on top (beat some hills is really hard) to enjoy a magnificent view of surroundings. I bit regret that I didn’t have opportunity to drive a car in San Francisco. Still, the city is really beautiful and I now I fully understand why there is such demand for au-pair stays in San Francisco and why one has to wait even months until she gets her host family. Weather (in May) was really splendid and the sun shone every day. The only tiny problem was strong wind coming from the Pacific.
The dark side of the city represent its unseen number of homeless. There are vast numbers of them in streets, parks and it is no exception if you see a mattress or temporary shed right in the middle of a pavement. Except other American cities, the San Francisco officials are tolerant to homeless and they don’t restrict them.
We were accommodated in a hotel which was located right in the city center; the price was affordable and the location of hotel was great for we had no problem to get anywhere by walk.
On the next day morning we went to a harbor to take pictures of the most popular of the San Francisco symbols – the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz prison. We walked on a beach and indeed we intended to dip our legs in the Pacific for the water was really cold in May. Then we moved from the harbor on a boat trip around San Francisco; we had a guide with us. We sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge and around the island where Alcatraz prison is located (today it no longer operates but it is a very popular attraction among tourists); also we had a beautiful view of the city from different angles and it was sublime. After lunch we went to the aforementioned Golden Gate. The ride was long but along the road were beautiful parks and streets with colorful houses. Many articles were written about the Golden Gate Bridge already as well as many documentaries shot. According to me there is no one who wouldn’t know the 2,700 meters bridge with typical orange color you know from movies, advertisements, photos of America etc. It connects San Francisco with the district of Marin. Mostly drivers use the bridge (over 100 thousand cars daily cross the bridge) and a pathway on one side is designed for tourists and (unfortunately) suicides as well. We crossed it on both sides and on our way back we climbed one of its towers, waited for sundown and enjoyed a beautiful view of the bridge. Unfortunately, when they turned on lights the illumination wasn’t as good as we knew it from advertisements and movies…
To be continued...
Text: Pavlína Rouhová
Photo: Wikimedia.commons: jjron, Basil D Soufi, Christian Mehlführer, Daniel Schwen, Bill Ebbesen, Debivort, SamuelWantman, Wikih101
Fall is coming so we are about to visit a place of revence on our tour across the US. This place is in the town of Arlington.
California is the third largest state in the United States. It is the most populous and wealthiest. Almost forty million people live there. They produce 13% of American GDP, i.e. 2.1 trillion dollars (Czech GDP is around 210 billion).
Today we jump over the Atlantic to se eone of the most popular places in the world.
In the last part we visited Universal Studios Theme Park. It was, indeed, a glorious experience. So going to Idaho could seem little bit boring.
Last week, we were over to Hollywood. It is a place that is in some ways perhaps overrated.
From inglorious Compton with high levels of criminality (decreasing) we move to the place well-known to everyone – Hollywood.
As you may know from previous part of our story, San Francisco is a tourist friendly city. There are enough attractions and sights to keep you occupied at least for a week without you slipping into boredom.
In previous parts of our journey to the United States you could get some notion what to expect of San Francisco and what makes it famous. Also, we have seen one of the most famous prisons, or former prisons in the world, Alcatraz. It is also located in San Francisco.
In the last article devoted to the United States we have learned something about Alcatraz, a former maximum security prison. Now we move from the Rock and have a glimpse at one of the most distinct cities in the US.
Today we continue in our trip in California’s Capital – Sacramento. We are going to leave Chinatown to see the historical district of this city of half million.
In the east of California there is a place which boasts with the highest ever recorded air temperature. It happened in the summer of 193. The temperature attacked shocking 56,3 degrees of Celsius. Just remember how awful it was last summer when 35 degrees was daily temperature in Prague. Also, the highest ever night air temperature was recorded here – 43 °C.
After our last visit to Pennsylvania, today we travel to the neighboring state of Maryland. The state is known mostly for Camp David – the weekend residence of American presidents. Annapolis is teh state capital. The state is among ten smalles US states by area.
In the following weeks, we are going to visit some of the overlooked places in the USA. We begin our tour on the other end of the Atlantic in Pennsylvania, a state in the northwest of the country.
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Before we continue in our tour across super fast rollercoasters we tell you how much this fun costs. And sometimes it is even hard to believe what the park actually tries to sell its customers.
For the last time we visit the most famous theme park in the world and see what else visitors can experience there.
Today we continue in our trip in world famous theme park. We are going to leave Main Street U.S.A. and see other parts of the park.
Last week we introduced you the most famous theme park in the world. It radically change the city of Anaheim. Once a sleepy Californian town became one of the most important cities in the state and revolutionized the entertainment industry.
California is a home to new ideas and innovations. Did you know that here (in San Bernardino) the very first McDonald’s restaurant was opened?
There are places that you probably voluntarily nevypravili. One of them will surely prison. Among the best known in America is clearly Alcatraz. His name is not well known outside the country.
Portland is located in the State of Oregon which is adjacent to the State of Washington on north.
There are many natural parks in the United States. Maybe you think of Yosmite, Wrangell-St.Elias (the largest US park) or Denali.
Many Americans want to either live in California or start and build their career there. Was California an independent country, it would be one of the strongest economies in the world. Many innovative companies concentrate in the state (especially in the famous Silicon Valley). You can find here San Francisco – the city of which many songs were written. Americans love it not only for the Golden Gate Bridge but for its atmosphere and culture. There is also one of the most famous prison – Alcatraz.
New York consists of five parts – Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. Only one of them, Bronx, is located on mainland. Other districts are situated on islands; Manhattan and Staten Islands are on individual islands. Queens and Brooklyn are located on one common island. The city districts are separated with water crossed by about 60 bridges.
New York is known as the City that never sleeps or the Big Apple. It is the largest city in the United States that is also the world center for commerce and finances, and has a significant influence in fashion, education, politics or art.
Next day morning we set out to explore Lombard Street, a street that is world famous for its zigzag character. And really, houses are built to allow everyone who live there to drive in or out on this steep hill.
I decided to spent part of Christmas in the former capital of the State of Pennsylvania and the whole United States. During my introductory au-pair course I met a Czech with whom I still stay in touch, she invited me to her home in Philadelphia.
When you walk around in downtown you would definitely notice City Hall built in an Empire style, on the top there is a statue of the founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn. There is also Independence Hall in the center, the building is included in the UNESCO’s World Heritage lists and also the already-mentioned Declaration of Independence was signed there.
A trip long trip abroad means rises one significant question – what I should pack with me? I wouldn’t describe here the whole list what I put into my luggage, of course. There weren’t many things. Important is to not forget important documents.
The EMP museum is a great experience. The building captivates your attention and lures you to explore it closer. There are many exhibitions telling about the cultural character of the city and also showing more general trends of American popular culture.
Previous articles had to demonstrate you the atmosphere a visitor can feel in the United States. Today we will hit the streets of the most important city in the Pacific Northwest.
I mentioned affordability of consumer goods in the United States in the last part.
Last time I concluded my story with a theory of what is a real car for the Americans.
Almost two years while I was working as an au-pair I had lived in suburbia of the center of the whole globe. To describe every attraction worth visiting would take several articles. New York is the most monumental symbol of level of the world civilization. It consists of five districts - Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island.
Today in our article we would like to present you few interesting sites you shouldn’t miss during your visit in New York.
Historical landmarks make Boston interesting, indeed, but there are other places one shouldn’t miss. Only then his/her visit will be complete. These places are charming and have their unique atmosphere. Despite thousands of tourists visit them every year, everyone can enjoy them.
Boston, the capital of Massachusetts and a center of New England, has played a crucial role in the US history. It was founded in 1630 and the key event leading to the American Revolution happened there – the Boston tea party. Being is the city like living the American history itself, this is also due to the fact that Boston boasts with many firsts.
There are not just historical houses made of red bricks, or tower blocks in Boston but there is also modern architecture such as the building hosting the J.F. Kennedy museum and library, or a controversial Boston city hall or a new center of modern art in Boston.
When you hear Boston you think of a rich history and picturesque streets with brick houses. However, there are other sights in the city you won’t forget. It wouldn’t be always a pleasant experience but they are worth seeing.
I had visited Washington D. C. during my two-year stay in the US. I had spent there three days for I considered it a duty to visit the city not only for it is the US capital but also for its vicinity. It is about 250 miles/400 kilometers from New York.
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