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Sad for San Francisco

✈️ 🚃 🇺🇸

This week was my first time back in 'Cisco since Covid, and I was so very sad to find that it wasn’t quite the place I remembered. It seems it was hit hard while I’ve been away, and the empty shops and quiet streets are a stark contrast to what used to be my favourite US city. I read somewhere that between 2020 and 2022 6.3% of the population left, that is how bad it got when people stopped visiting...

In the past I'd have spent all day in the shops, trudged up the hill with my bags... and maybe grabbed an Uncle Vito's pizza on my way home, (via The Gold Dust Lounge if we go back a few more years 😉). I loved the art deco buildings, the trams that whirred past carrying excited sightseers, the general laid back vibe and the feeling that you were lucky to be there. It was a place that rich people lived, and when you were there you felt like one of them.

Now though, the streets aren't bustling and the big flagship stores that had always been there, like Gap and Old Navy have long gone. Even Nordstrom could not survive😞 Security is everywhere you go, in every shop, trying to tackle the crime that got out of control when the drug use and homelessness spiralled… Don't get me wrong, the city always had a problem, but maybe it was diluted somewhat as it never ruined the charm, but that, I'm afraid, is no longer the case.

Despite it all though, I still felt lucky to be back, and you can always find positives in any situation when you look for them! There is still Macy's, and on its rooftop The Cheesecake Factory is exactly how I left it!

With its views of the square, and epic portions, nothing has changed there I am pleased to say🙌... The Michael Jackson impersonator is back moonwalking outside of Ross Dress For Less too😅… and the tram still runs on the same tracks it always did.

And…. You can still rely on Sausalito!!

San Fran’s answer to the Isle of Wight is still a stunning ferry ride away, out of the bay, past Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.

It’s clean streets seem untouched by the past few years, and here we met friendly locals who have turned to coming over to the island rather than ‘risk being mugged in the city’ (their words). They have great happy hours and great food there too!

We had a wonderful day, and indeed for some of our new crew their opinion of the city was changed. Sailing back in and seeing it in its spectacular glory one of them admitted that before that day they had not liked to come here. They had only seen the streets in the centre where we stay, had no memories of it before to help excuse it. I was happy that our older eyes had helped them to see it a little differently.

I wish for them, and for the people who live there, that the green shoots of recovery I can see blossom into great things. Apparently people are slowly coming back to this once great place, maybe together they can make it great again.

Thanks for reading ☺️

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1 Comment

Thank you, once again, for bringing us along on your travels. Love how you paint such a vivid picture for your readers and I very much agree with your assessment of this once amazing city. For years I loved visiting SFO overnight for work and for longer stays when on holiday, especially when visiting Napa. Glad to know Sausalito is still charming as ever and that there are some glimmers of hope for the City by the Bay. Smooth and safe travels! Barry in Atlanta

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