Of all things, I am happiest to have inherited my father's 'travel gene'. His tales of traversing the European continent with his own father instilled in me a powerful wanderlust, an ache, a passion, a need to connect with the historic cities, like Rome and Paris, that my father encountered, as well as with the places of modernity like Switzerland and the Netherlands.
When I made the trip out to San Francisco in August of 2011, I believe I found at least a piece of what I was looking for. My first day in San Francisco, like the usual San Francisco day, was quite foggy. After a cup of tea, to energize, my uncle Michael, aunt Melissa and I were out the door, to brave the soupy weather, and to find ourselves a good breakfast.
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Tartine, even at the best of times, is hectic. Located on Guerrero Street, this café boasts the best of organic, freshly baked pastries. We were all quite determined to struggle through the masses for a taste of the perfect croissant. After an hour-long (but definitely worth it) wait in line, we stumbled out of the shop, onto the street, and began our trek into the very depths of the city.
Our journey through the city proved to be full of transitions. Rather than plan out our time, or designate a certain hour for a certain place, we chose to 'wing it'. Although some may say that some sense of preparation or planning will yield the best results, I, as with most of my family, prefer to wander. I love to stumble upon greatness, upon the hidden treasures of a city. One of these hole-in-the-wall's that my family and I discovered whilst touring the fringes of San Francisco's inner-city was a store called Atys. Although we had visited many an antique shop and boutique on our excursion, Atys truly holds it's own. To me, Atys was and is the embodiment of San Francisco. A deliberate composition of sleek, modern products, like the Italian spinoff of the traditional cuckoo clock held against hand-crafted polychromatic wallets. Simple, efficient beauty was as apparent in this store as it was in the midst of the city itself. Each item, artfully placed, was an item to focus on.
This ever-shifting focus between the big picture and the smaller details was an important element in my trip to San Francisco. As much as I may have, originally,wanted to focus on the 'big picture', my wanderings through the city gave me much more satisfaction that any planned, 'touristy' event could have. As J. R. R. Tolkein once wisely said, "Not all those who wander are lost." The wandering became even more significant because I lacked a true destination. Without the target, the end, I had only the present and the time to appreciate what was right in front of my eyes.
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