Tuesday, May 26, 2009

5 of 5: San Francisco - Day Four - Window Shopping

Our last day in San Francisco was spent window shopping inside a half mile radius from Union Square. After bagels and a muffin at a deli so small that one table was placed in the window, we had our picture taken in front of the heart at the entrance to Union Square, and then started making a circuit around the perimeter of the lively shopping district. 

We were surprised to find the open doors of the Notre Dame des Victories Church a short walk down Bush Street from Stockton. The interior of this French church founded by bothers, "striving to work together for the greater glory of God," was filled with light from ranks of candles and vibrant stained glass windows.

Continuing down Bush we found the Chinatown Gate with a message in Chinese that reads, "We all work under Heaven for the benefit of the common good." The idea of working together must be our thought for the day.

Another surprise was the elaborate Mayan influenced Art Deco decoration of the 450 Sutter Street Building. Stepping into the lobby was like stepping back into another time.

The Garden Court of the Palace Hotel built in 1909 took us further back in history. The shimmering leaded glass vaulted skylight supported on a classical colonnade dominates the elegant palm filled restaurant in the center of the hotel.

Maiden Lane was our next destination where we passed the time before the store openings by window shopping designer shops such as Channel and Gucci. A peak through the window of a gallery with a petite but powerful Frank Lloyd Wright exterior and interior dominated by a spiral ramp (prototype for the Guggenheim ) held our attention until Britex Fabrics opened at 10. The store hadn't changed much since my last visit more than 25 years ago - four floors of fabrics stacked on shelves along the walls from the floor to the 20 foot high ceiling. The third floor is devoted entirely to buttons, ribbons, and trims. Gary found a comfortable chair on each level as I wandered the aisles taking in the wealth of colors and textures.

After leaving the fabric store with our wallets unopened, an abundance of shop windows entertained us for the next hour. A soft dusty pink shear petal like dress in the Armani window and a black strapless evening dress with a short billowing skirt by Oscar de la Renta were unforgettable. The domed antique skylight at the entrance to the Neiman Marcus Department Store was also impressive.

Our window shopping worked up an appetite and a thirst which was satisfied with a chicken pot pie and a shared pint of Guinness Stout at Foley's Irish Pub on O'Farrell Street.

With only a short time left before our departure for the airport, we checked out the atrium of the Museum of Modern Art, the fountains of the Yerba Buena Gardens, and the ultra modern addition to the Jewish Museum.

A bit sad but satisfied with our four day adventure, we collected our luggage at the hotel and returned to the airport via BART. This time at least we knew where to go and how to operate the ticket machine. 

Now that we are home and rested, the words of the well known song keep playing in my head:

If you're going to San Francisco
Be sure to wear some flowers in your hair
If you're going to San Francisco
You're gonna meet some gentle people there.

1 comment:

  1. So glad to have journeyed with you - I feel as if I have a very personal relationship with San Francisco now too. The whole time you have been there, I have had the Scott Mackenzie song in my head