San Francisco

28 Oct

I really appreciated that Natalie spontaneously offered herself to wake up at 5 am and take me and Natasha to the airport of Chicago since we had to fly to San Francisco at 8 am. Thank you again Nat!

It was the first time I flew Virgin America. Wow. Purple lights, brand new aircraft, nice  hostesses and stewardess. Every seat had an interactive screen. You can order food, drinks, and shop and listening to whatever kind of music, select artist and genres and also you can buy movies and watch them. I couldn’t resist in buying lovely fuchsia earphones onboard for just two dollars.

When the steward said to the microphone referring to the passengers: “good morning folks, thanks for waking up early to come with us onboard” I thought that this company was so cool. Could sound normal, but I had never heard it on a plane although I took many early planes in my life.

During the flight I wrote on my Ipad some parts of the blog even if it was extremely difficult, I don’t know how you like the ipad, but writing with this tool is not the most comfortable thing. In the meantime I listened to some music, and was inspired from this singer with an Italian name: Anna Calvi. I clicked on “play”and I was immediately fascinated by her voice and rhythm.

She gained the place in my favourite play list for this trip, especially Suzanne and I, No more words and Desire.

We went to rent a car for our trip to Los Angeles and a funny and chubby man from Indiana entertained us during the boring process. He told Natasha she looks like Kate Hudson, and it was something most of people who know her would say. And I do agree, she is so similar! So, Kate and me hopped on our WV Jetta and started our new adventure throughout California.

The weather was foggy in San Francisco, this is why is known as The Fog City but the road from the airport was fascinating and looking at the colored houses from the car was nice. It is often foggy just in the morning, actually after few hours the sun was shining incredibly

The ride was amazing, but I remained speechless at viewing the Bay Bridge, very similar to the Golden Gate. It is Grey, a little bit less famous than his red brother, but still amazing and huge. I had never seen something so huge that would connect two opposite parts of a bay. Wow.

While getting to the hotel we got to see some beautiful parts of San Francisco, passed through China Town and Little Italy where the main street is actually called  Corso Cristoforo Colombo. Many Italian flags surround all that street lamps and it is full of italian restaurants. I saw a grocery shop called Molinari, like my favorite drink ever: Sambuca Molinari. It is the only drink I really enjoy to drink since quite a few years now. I enjoy it on the rocks, or better say “con mosca”, which in English means “with a fly”. You basically add ice and few coffee beans to the sambuca and it looks like there was a fly inside.

Shops and restaurants on Corso cristoforo Colombo were all nice but the one I most liked was one called Panta Rei. Now, you might know I love this word because it is not only my favorite thought and favorite tattoo, but also because it is the title of this blog. And I found it quite special to find a place named like this.

After checking in at our hotel in Fisherman´s wharf, we walked to one of those really touristic places in the harbor. We were so hungry but Natasha was super excited for seafood and we went for it. We walked alongside the ocean, bumped into many souvenir shops, restaurants and bars, and I noticed one called Gigi & Rose, that made me think about my friend Gigi in London.

San Francisco is incredible, you drive up and down the steep rolling hills and some of the roads look quite scary to drive, it somehow reminds me of the one in Naples. There are nice old cable cars that go up and down the city at all times full of excited tourists. By the car it is beautiful going up to the hill and from there to see amazing views, trees, water and colorful buildings. And then go down again and get to see another beautiful spot.  We saw the Painted Ladies: very colorful and Victorian houses and a popular touristic attraction in San Francisco.

The most popular and photographed is Lombard Street. It has eight sharp turns that have earned the street the distinction of being the most winding street in the world The switchback’s design, was born out of necessity in order to reduce the hill’s natural grade which was too steep for most vehicles.

We drove a little bit the area of Castro and we ended up in Corona Heights, a lovely dog park with amazing views. The air there was fresh and intrigued by flowers and pines.

I had read somewhere that San Francisco hosts the largest chinese community in the world outside China, but I was surprised to see Japan town, also known as Little Osaka, which is as well the largest japanese community in US. Of course the streets name were written in Japanese.

For dinner we decided to try Panta Rei restaurant just for its name, and we found out that this was a good and well-known Italian restaurant. Staff was mainly Italian as the owner, a guy from Rome. When I told him I loved the name of this restaurant and showed him my tattoo he was so happy and amazed that asked to  take a picture of it and invited us for a drink.

I had a delicious spritz. Food was really good, it is good to feel at home sometimes, the burrata and lasagna were delicious and the handmade pasta with pesto was really good too. We had a quick chat with Andrea, a lovely guy from Turin who was working at the restaurant.

He said he was missing Italy after two years living in San Francisco and that seeing family and friends just through skype was becoming tougher and tougher for him. I am a gipsy born, but when roots call, the only thing you can do is thinking about coming back. It is good to live far away from family if it really worths though. Sometimes I think about the immigrants who took a ship from Naples and other European cities looking for a better life in Americas. They did not have skype, or mobile, and I am sure they had toughest times to get to live a new life without their beloved knowing that they would probably never see them again.

We are a different generation, most of the times we go abroad looking for inspirations and new excitements, not too often for a need. I got a little  melancholic (again) after that chat but then we left the lovely restaurant and went for a drink at the Clift, a lovely boutique hotel part of the Morgans Hotels Group. There is an historic bar in the lobby called “Redwood Room”,  very elegant and with an enormous bar  which, legend says it was carved from a single redwood tree.

Its lounge furniture was designed by Starck and  throughout the room are hung displayed  digital artwork on plasma television.

Before to hop on a taxi to the hotel we decided to walk a little bit those  steep streets and it was funny. My first impression on this city was really positive.

Good night San Fran ( this is how locals call it)

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