Monday, March 31, 2008

Virtual Vacation: San Francisco - A Pilgrimage To Grace


Although it had been my original intention to walk back to the hotel after returning from Alcatraz, all the reverie and fresh air had left me unexpectedly fatigued - which is especially surprising, since it's only a virtual vacation. So I decided to take the cable car from Powell & Bay to the Nob Hill crossing; after all, what trip to San Francisco (even a virtual one) would be complete without a ride on a cable car? I decided, though, to resist the urge to make myself Rice-A-Roni, although by now I'd decided there were certain other "San Francisco treats" I thought I might enjoy while on my sojourn.

At the spot where the Powell-Mason line crosses California Street atop Nob Hill I disembarked with the same casual insouciance with which I'd jumped on at Fisherman's Wharf, and walked the two blocks to Grace Cathedral, yet another of the sites made memorable by Armistead Maupin, in this case in the well-named sequel to Tales of the City, More Tales of the City. Along the way I passed the Pacific-Union Club and the Fairmont, another of the city's iconic hotels - featured in Alfred Hitchcock's 1958 film Vertigo.

Although in the novel a cult of Episcopalian cannibals was practicing their predilection on a walkway high above the central aisle, there was no such ghoulish transubstantiation on offer today; instead, I walked the Labyrinth, looking for the meditative state it promised. I would have stayed to see more - there's an altarpiece in the AIDS chapel designed by Keith Haring - but as will happen all of a sudden I came on all tired.

Five blocks south on Taylor and two blocks east on Geary and I was back at the St. Francis Hotel; passing the famous clock in the lobby I got my key from the desk. The concierge on duty reminded me that my delivery had arrived from earlier, and I slid him a twenty with a weary smile. Upstairs, I barely had time to notice the sumptuousness of the room before falling onto the bed and into a dream as surreal as the day I'd just had.
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1 comment:

Y | O | Y said...

The Fairmont was also featured in the 80s TV show Hotel. I stayed there and my room had a wonderful view of the bay and Alcatraz!