Golden Gate Park

Trip Start Mar 02, 2011
Trip End Oct 14, 2011

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Where I stayed
Good Nite Inn - Redwood City
Read my review - 2/5 stars

Flag of United States  , California
Wednesday, May 18, 2011

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I checked out of my hotel and headed for Golden Gate Park. My first destination was the Conservatory of Flowers. The Conservatory originally opened in 1879. They claim it is the oldest wood and glass conservatory in the country although it has undergone significant repairs over the years.

The conservatory is split up into five rooms. The tallest room in the center, which is where you enter, is the Lowland Tropics room. The centerpiece is a very tall Philodendron vine that is over 100 years old. They also have some cycads in the collection.  I heard someone giving a tour and joined them.

The next room was the Highland Tropics where they have plants from a rainforest canopy, including a number of orchids, ferns and epiphytes.

Next was the Aquatic Plants room. It's kept at just under 100 degrees so we didn't say long. The room has a number of water lily varieties, some carnivorous plants, tropical orchids, Taros and Bromiliads.

We then walked to the other side of the Lowland Tropics room to the Potted Plants room. Many of the pots used are historic including some from the Panama-Pacific International Exposition held in San Francisco in 1915 that were sent from around the world.

The last room contained a temporary exhibit called Wicked Plants: Botanical Rogues & Assassins consisting of all poisonous plants, most of which looked rather harmless.

I then went to the San Francisco Botanical Garden, which is also in Golden Gate Park. I found an interesting plant and started to set up my tripod. I had the camera on the tripod and walked a few steps away as I was trying to decide which of several plants was the most photogenic when disaster struck: my tripod blew over.

The camera landed on its back. The camera still seems to work although the eyepiece is damaged. I'd like to send it in to make sure it's fully functional. The case of the battery grip cracked. It also needs to be sent in for repair. The glass in the lens is OK but the camera refuses to take a picture when it's mounted so it needs to go in too. I just had my tripod head rebuilt and all the gears were operating smoothly. No more. Now it needs another rebuild. I don't know how I'm going to get the repairs done while I'm on the road. I'll have to call Canon tomorrow.  I'll probably put up with the tripod head until the trip is over.

I walked around the Botanical Garden until well after closing. It's a large garden with some interesting displays. Many plants are in bloom this time of year and the garden looked very nice. One unusual exhibit they have that I enjoyed is an Ancient Plant Garden where they have the plants arranged by when they first evolved. They also have many plants from other places with similar Mediterranean climates such as Chile and New Zealand.

I headed for the famous "Painted Ladies" on Alamo Square.  Painted Ladies is a term used to describe the Victorian and Edwardian houses painted in three or more colors.  Unlike in D.C where the Victorians are almost entirely brick, the Victorians and Edwardians in San Francisco are wooden and more closely resemble the style of Cape May, N.J.  In D.C. most of the decoration was patterns in the brickwork but in San Francisco they went wild with the decorative trim and colors.  Over time, the original bright colors were repainted in more subdued colors and frequently in solid colors.  In the 1960s people started to re-paint the houses in their original splendor and the process is continuing.

There are lots of Painted Ladies around San Francisco but the stretch of building on Alamo Square has become much more famous than the others and have appeared in an estimated 70 movies. Unfortunately, I was too late to get a good picture since the sun was already low in the sky and the trees in the park were casting shadows onto the lower floors of the houses.

I drove over to the stretch of Lombard Street that is frequently referred to as the crookedest street in the world, although this title is contested, and drove down the eight switchbacks. I then drove to my hotel in Redwood City.
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