Golden Gate Bridge

Something Jane has been saying since we arrived in SF on Thursday is that she’d like to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. To put this in context: Jane hates bridges. But she was determined to do it, just to prove to herself that she could. So today we wandered down to the bridge and did the 1.7 miles walk, and back again.

I say we wandered down, it took us over an hour to walk from Pacific Avenue through The Presidio to the SF-side of the bridge. Like so many historic landmarks in this country, just before you step onto this giant suspension bridge there is an opportunity to purchase one or two ‘tasteful’ mementos; an official outlet of American Heritage, if you like. We side-steped that in favour of making it our first stop on our triumphant return to terra firma.

The walk was easy. For me. Jane held tightly onto my hand as we stepped across the Golden Gate, suspended a couple of hundred feet above the water. At one point I stood next to the handrail and looked over, watching an enormous ship pass beneath laden with containers. Two highway patrol men cycled by and one commented on Jane’s facial expression.

“Do you not want to walk next to the edge?” he called.

“She doesn’t want to walk across at all!” I called back.

Beyond the second tower a couple approached us and asked “Do you mind taking a photograph of us?”, thrusting a camera into my hands. I was tempted to reply, “It’s okay, I’ve got my own camera,” take a photograph of them and walk away.

It took us about an hour to shuffle across the bridge into Marin County and back again. I took umpteen photographs en route, to document this historic occasion. So now Jane has challenged her fear of heights (Space Needle in Seattle), and bridges (Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco), what could be next? Next holiday I’ll challenge some of my fears: being snogged to death by supermodels; and standing at the top of an enormous building and losing my glasses, and then losing my balance, and then losing my life! Perhaps not. Apart from the supermodels bit.

We walked back by another route, along the coast into the Marina area of San Francisco, past the Palace of Fine Arts. On our way Jane pointed out a street sign: Crook Street. It had a One Way sign pointing into the bay towards Alcatraz, which we thought was quite apt.

To say that we walked up Broderick Street from Marina to Pacific Avenue really doesn’t do the steepness of the climb any justice. It’s a bit like saying Neil Armstrong went on a flight and then took a walk. I’m surprised the streets don’t have oxygen masks at each street corner, or climbing ropes and crampons!

In a couple of hours we’re heading out to Nob Hill to take cocktails at The Top of the Mark, a restaurant on the 19th floor of The Mark Hopkins Inter-Continental hotel, near Grace Cathedral. Then we’re meeting a friend of Silver Joinee Kate Arkless Gray for dinner in China Town before returning to pack for our homeward journey tomorrow.

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 52 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Enneagram type FOUR and introvert (INFP), I am a non-stipendiary priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir, play guitar, play mahjong, write, draw and laugh… Scrum master at Safeguard Global; latterly at Sky and Vision/Cegedim. Former web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and previously warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall.

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