Back in 1962, Tony Bennett sang a song called “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” and although I didn’t know that song till many years after he sang it, I’ve since discovered he and I have much in common in those lyrics. (Scroll to the end of this post to see video of him singing the same song in 1994.)
I first visited San Francisco in my teens when my family went on a camping trip to Portola Redwoods State Park (still a favorite campground of mine) and one of our day trips was to the City by the Bay. I was instantly fascinated! So many things to see, so much energy! I knew I didn’t ever want to leave and that evening, when we drove away to return to our campsite about an hour’s drive south, I also knew my heart had been left behind. I was in love with San Francisco.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that my soul was residing there and I was simply leaving my heart behind to keep it from getting lonely.
Over the years, I continued to visit San Francisco every chance I got, even moving there several years later when my son was a baby, and to this day, for me, there’s nothing like driving north on 101 or coming south across the Golden Gate Bridge to make the cells in my body feel like they’ve come home.
Have you ever visited a place where you felt like your DNA had come home? Where you instinctively knew you belonged? Where your very being felt at rest? That’s what driving passed the signs for the city limits and into San Francisco feels like for me.
So here I was, after leaving the Mt. Shasta area where I had been camping for several days, driving south to San Francisco. I had called ahead and gotten a reservation at the hostel I’ve stayed in before at Fort Mason near Fisherman’s Wharf, and could feel the excitement rise as I headed down Highway 101 towards the golden Gate Bridge. Excitement? I could barely stick with the speed limit, I was so excited 😀
As I passed through the now-all-electronic toll gates where a picture was taken of my car’s license plate to send me a bill for the toll, my cells settled in for an overnight stay in my favorite city. (Check out this 28-second time-lapse video of my 9-minute drive into the City, over the Golden Gate Bridge. Kinda trippy!)
I had only reserved one night at the hostel, so I checked out the next morning; however, after roaming around San Francisco for the day, I knew I had to call the hostel back and, and even though they’d said they were full-up when I had checked out earlier, see if there had been a cancellation, – and sure enough, there was. I checked back in, threw my backpack on yet another bed… and then banking on my good fortune so far, walked back to the front desk to see if by any chance that bed was available for an additional night. And yes, it was! (Even the guy at the desk was surprised!) Yay! Yippee! I settled in for my unexpected extended stay in San Francisco.
Over the next four days, I sat on benches, walked on trails, found a geocache or two, roamed among the nearby community gardens, caught a bunch of Pokémon, drank a few coffees, ate some delicious food, breathed in the air around me, walked among tourists at the wharf, talked with my fellow hostelers, shared food in the community kitchen, and in general, pretended to be a local. It was wonderful! Here’s a few pics from my adventures:
My four days came to an end far too soon but it was so much fun to be there! If I had my druthers, and a boat-load of money, I’d move back there in a heartbeat, but the City is priced way beyond my means in this lifetime. Perhaps in the next one, I’ll come back as a permanent San Francisco resident. I’d love that.
I really enjoyed visiting my heart and soul – and knowing they’re well-taken-care-of in that City by the Bay.
It’s quite a conundrum, isn’t it? Knowing my heart and soul reside in SF but also knowing they travel with me wherever I go… weird, huh. Do you have a place where your soul resides in a place you don’t?
Looking forward to the day when I get to go back and visit my favorite city!
PS. I wonder if Tony visits his heart like I visit mine?
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Check out this video of Tony Bennett singing my favorite song in 1994 (from MTV Unplugged):
Some handy-dandy links:
Cafe Terminus – good coffee and easy access to/from BART
Kim Son Vietnamese Restaurant – great food!
Recipe for Vietnamese Bún thịt nướng (similar to the dish I had but with grilled pork instead of shrimp)