♫ If you are going to San Francisco be sure to wear some flowers in your hair ♫
You probably know the song right ? Well they should have made that: If you are going to San Francisco bring a warm sweater! My girlfriend and I had planned on biking the Golden Gate Bridge but the whimsical weather condition called June Gloom ruined our plan.
The bay area got trapped in a vast mist and the bridge was no longer in sight. It got foggier, colder and wetter. So I thought: sod the damn bridge.
We rode land inwards and decided to visit three of the most fascinating San Francisco neighborhoods by bike.
The Haight-Ashbury district, also called Hashbury during the summer of love in 1967, was one of the root places for the hippy revolution in the 60’s. Long haired, sandal wearing youngsters cried out for peace and free love while Jefferson Airplane, Janis Joplin and The Greatfull death jammed themselves into music history and an overdose of drugs.
When I entered the neighborhood, the marijuana smell and the wall paintings set the mood. They gave me an impression of times long gone. Very little of the hippy spirit still resides here. Nowadays you can mostly find hipster shops in The Haight.
Great things to see and do anyway:
– Lay down on your back at Alamo Square park, gasp at Victorian houses such as the Painted Ladies and sing the Full House intro tune.
– Browse around for records at Amoeba music.
– Look at the giant naked legs hanging from the window at Piedmont Boutique
The ideas of free love and the summer of love movement in the Haight-Ashbury influenced the Castro’s coming of age as a gay neighborhood.
I arrived at Harvey Milk Plaza where the rainbow flag flaunted proudly.
Harvey Milk, the first openly gay city supervisor, murdered by his former colleague Dan White is still remembered here.
Times have changed though and society seems to have accepted gay guys and girls here now. Walking hand in hand, going for afternoon coffee or ginseng teas is everyday business now. It’s life as it should be but I expected more thump thump and provocative statements in this neighborhood.
I didn’t stay until nightfall so I’m guessing and hoping the neighborhood still turns fierce at night.
The mission was named after the spanish missionaries who arrived here in the late 18th century.
The neighborhood now is a mishmash of mexican, latino population and hipsters.
Dolores park was filled with people laying on their back, organizing a picnic, eating ice creams and organic food, walking their dog or enjoying the spectacular view on the city’s skyline.
Even though the atmosphere was laid back, I had the feeling that this neighborhood was happening.
A naked bike ride passed by minutes later, proving my point.
I’m glad I didn’t bike the bridge.