Tuesday, 1 December 2009

View from a hill

Olivia and her Canadian husband David, together with their nine-year old Alfie and three-year old William are in San Francisco for a year or so while David works on a movie project for DreamWorks. Olivia’s on sabbatical from the same company, looking after the kids and working on a screenplay about a LA, a woman and trees…it sounds really cool.

Very kindly, they offered to put us up for a weekend at their amazing house in Bernal Heights, on the side of a massive hill just above The Mission neighborhood and overlooking the whole of San Francisco. So even staying inside – watching the monolith-like fog overtake the metropolis or the reflection of the sunset on glass skyscrapers built to outlast earthquakes - you are really doing the city.

Snug on this vantage point, we enjoyed three days and nights of really delicious food, quite a few bottles of wine, lots of catching up and the sound of three-year olds mostly playing very nicely together. Alfie, for his part, sat with the grown-ups and was a delight. At night, we got to sleep in real beds(!) in a house(!), which was beyond wonderful.

We ventured from the house a few times: twice to the bottom of the hill into the Mission, and once up the hill to a park at the summit and then over the other side to Bernal Heights.

San Francisco is a beautiful city, full of fine food from all nations, overflowing with sophisticated people and plenty of arts, music and culture. Sitting between the Pacific and the Bay, and further beautified with all species of warm weather trees and flowers, the city forms an odd microclimate with a temperature that only varies by about twenty degrees year round. So it is neither hot nor cold, just something in between.

The Mission is a great melting pot of a place, serving as a point of landing for the city’s many immigrants. Full of lively restaurants serving ultra fresh food from all of Latin America and beyond, the neighborhood also has lots of small galleries, excellent bookshops and cool clothing boutiques.

Daniel totally wants to move to San Francisco.

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