I like to wander through cities. You can only know a place if you wander past small restaurants, little shops, people on the street doing the day. The tourist destinations are fun. I like tacky gift shops too, but you’ll never know a place unless you put on a good pair of shoes and walk.
In San Francisco I walked miles to and through Haight until I found the ocean. I looked for the bridge from a different angle. In my memory I saw it from that beach, but I’m not sure now that was possible. I couldn’t find a good way to navigate to the bridge by sand, so I went back to the road and wandered to the entrance, passing an upscale restaurant along the way. Would I be allowed in, sweaty, smelling of their city?
I fell in love with the Presidio as I wandered back toward the youth hostel. I jumped on a cable car and rode the last miles to my seven dollar bed. I didn’t pay for the ride. I thought it was free until my circle of the city was almost complete. The man yelled at me, so I jumped from the moving car, somehow kept from falling. I wasn’t worth the fare to chase.
I went to the Arctic Circle after that. What a lonely trip with so few on the top of the planet.