Tag Archives: urban vacations

Towering Follower

 

It followed us everywhere like an eager bystander insistent on inserting himself into every group photo. Peeping through golden leaved trees, stretching skyward behind palatial edifices and statuary, hovering on the horizon like a painted backdrop that could be rolled out at will.

Arriving in Paris I had anticipated finding the Eiffel Tower after a long walk, not realizing that, instead, it would often simply stand grandly in the distance waiting for me to turn my head its way.

 

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Paris Things To Do on raveable

Paris Vacations

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Urban Hiking

San Francisco hill

The uniformed lady shook her head and informed me that my planned walking route into Chinatown was no good. “It’s all hill,” she said, not realizing that she’d just confirmed my decision.

parking "SF style"

San Francisco’s drastic changes in elevation are no exaggeration. Cars systematically park with wheels turned in to the curb. The Metro buses and trolleys run strategically up and down the steepest slopes. Women do not where high heels without ready transportation available, but it’s a great walking city and navigating San Francisco is excellent exercise.

AlcatrazChinatown is always worth a wander as is the Embarcadero along the Bay. After a ferry crossing, Alcatraz is an engrossing ramble rich with eerie histories, and Golden Gate Park holds miles of parkland and gardens.

pier

I walked alone the last time, meeting people, taking photos, and just breathing it all in. I enjoyed wandering with vague purposes and grand appreciations and found myself gently nudging some lingering memories from my last visit there with an 11-year old boy who is now a young man.

A bike ride to Sausalito and late ferry ride back to the city, a run across the Golden Gate Bridge, an exotic pet store in Chinatown, breakfast crepes on a pier…   We jammed a lot into our time there some nine years ago and even more in the years that followed.  Life stayed “busy” the whole way through.

cable car

I’m so glad we took the time to hang off the sides of a few cable cars together.


San Francisco Things To Do

Consider the Fairmont Hotel for your overnight stay and enjoy elegant accommodations and memorable dining.  The historic Tonga Room features live music on a floating stage and periodic “rainstorms,” complete with thunder and lightning.

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Chicago’s Ambassador on Wheels

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Invariably, travel exposes the best and the worst in us. It may also reveal the kindness of a stranger.  As a frequent and grateful recipient of food, tickets, upgrades, help in navigating airports and foreign cities and even dry clothing for a drenched child, I’ve learned that our capacity to help and invest in one another is limited only by our willingness to ask and/or receive.

Last weekend, as my daughter and I biked around Chicago, we impulsively took a shortcut that turned into a meandering detour. The city’s multi-leveled streets can make cross city navigation a challenge, and aware of our error, we wanted to avoid shlepping bikes down stairways to access the Lakefront Trail. So, I called out to a young guy pedaling in the other direction, “Can we get to the lakefront from here?”

He braked and rolled on over. “Well, you really need to…” He paused and smiled. “Just follow me.”

Ten minutes later, after an exhilarating ride through a parking garage and then down, around and under the city streets, he led us into the gated back parking lot of a warehouse building. He pointed to an opening in the fence. “That path will take you right to the lake trail.” We thanked him profusely, knowing he’d gone well out of his way to help us.

“That was really nice,” I commented to my daughter.

She agreed.

And once again, a single person acted as ambassador for an entire city —enhancing Chicago’s image far better than any tourism campaign ever could.

Isn’t that great?

 

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