A Fragment of San Francisco

Continuation of the tale of our recent trip to California  

We had four nights at a normal hotel near Union Square. It was a practical place to stay though I wouldn’t be able to remember anything from that hotel.

Market Street

Market Street on our way to our destination

We would like to see another part of the big city and found an old Victorian Hotel called “San Remo” at Mason Street, North Beach, not far from Fisherman’s Wharf.

Pier 39

Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf


San Remo Hotel at Mason Street, San Francisco



At TripAdvisor, some people would complain that the rooms were too small and it was annoying to share bathrooms with other people. Nevertheless, that was the charming about it and somehow we got the feeling that we were one big family that had to show consideration of the other guests. Everything at the hotel was renovated in the old Victorian style and all decorations match that time period. That gives you the feeling that you can’t complain because you are put back in that time. The staff were very kind we got the impression that we were at a guesthouse.

A detail from the interior at the San Remo Hotel and the corridor



They didn’t have a clue about how we could get to the Amtrak Station at Oakland but after some research, we luckily found out about it ourselves. We had decided to travel by Amtrak to Monterey and further on to Oxnard later and it showed up to be an interesting experience worth writing about in a later post.

A poster from the hotel and a real street car


The famous cable cars are very close to this hotel at the Fisherman’s Wharf and North Beach. The Area is Italian inspired and a famous bookshop “City Light” is mentioned in our guidebook. We found it after some searching and it was like stepping back in the fifties. Shelves with books everywhere. Not like modern bookshops with few books and more toys and stationary things. I bought two books. I would have liked to put a fine photo of the bookshop but those from Mr Google cost a fortune. Instead, I have a photo of the café where “Godfather” was written nearby.


The Caffe Trieste close to The bookstore City Light



The Emigrants by W.G. Sebald

I have read the first one and I found it fascinating as it reminded me of blogging. One small detail can develop into an interesting story if you are a good writer. The book follows four different lives of elderly Germans in exile. The author reconstructs their lives in a downplayed way by following their steps and using family photos. The rest of their stories are created in the readers’ mind.  One of the characters lives in Manchester as a painter. His life was saved by the “Kinder Transports” and he never saw his parents after parting at the Munich train station in 1939. I have lived in Manchester when I was young and when I read about the worn and dirty houses in Manchester and surrounding districts I just knew that he had been there to make such precise descriptions. Quote from page 165:

One summer evening in 1966, nine or ten months after my arrival in Manchester, Ferber and I were walking along the Ship Canal embarkment, past the suburbs of Eccles, Patricroft Barton upon Irwell on the other side of the black water, towards the setting sun outskirts where occasional views opened up, affording an intimation of the marches that extended there as late as the mid-nineteenth century. The Manchester ship canal, Ferber told me, was begun in 1887 and completed in 1894. The work was mainly done by a continuously reinforced army of Irish navvies, who shifted some sixty million cubic metres of earth in that period and built the gigantic locks that would possible to raise or lower ocean-going steamers up to 150 metres long by five or six metres. Manchester was then the industrial Jerusalem, said Ferber, its entrepreneurial spirit and progressive vigour the envy of the world….

Manchester’s shipping traffic peaked around 1930 and then went into an irreversible decline, till it came to a complete standstill in the late Fifties



The other book is by the Russian author and dissident Anna Akhmatova.

City Light bookstore

Anna Akhmatova

I have not yet read that but I have for many years been fascinated by stories of people been suppressed by evil rulers like Stalin. How did they cope with their circumstances?


After returning home I read in my guidebook that the area is full of fashion shops so I would like to come back and see all the rest and the great views from the hights and the Coit Tower.


  1. I was out there a couple times many years ago. I loved going under the gate as you entered China town….I hope its still as beautiful as it was 25+ years ago. Thank you for the share, brought back nice memories for me.


  2. Hi Maria. Thank you for the follow on my blog! We will be in San Francisco for five nights in May. Our first trip. We have booked into an “old” hotel that survived the big fire in the early 1900s. We are hoping that will be a fun experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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