A travel moment in San Francisco

The day had been nothing short of perfect.

The sun was slowly setting behind San Francisco’s magnificent Golden Gate Bridge, casting one final tender ray of warmth before night time engulfed the city. As our ferry set off from the Sausolito docks – albeit slightly later than planned due to our not so punctual time keeping – the four of us stood in silence, captivated by the picturesque vista the cityscape exhibited, desperate not to forget the moment. Our last full day in San Francisco – by far the best.

It had been on Fisherman’s Wharf where we had first seen the litter of bikes, the makeshift stand, and, of course the obligatory over-eager salesman, imploring us to try our hand at a bike tour of the city. Fortunately, with the clement weather on our side, minimal persuasion was necessary. Eager anticipation stirred within each one of us, mundane paperwork complete, we set about familiarising ourselves with this childhood pastime.

After a wobbly start we were soon on our way, maps, helmets and cameras in tow. It wasn’t until we were away from the bustling streets, entering Presidio Park, that the thrills truly began. Adrenalin and
camaraderie were paramount as we raced – not without a few stumbles along the way – through the beautiful parks the city had to offer. Our carefree laughter was certainly infectious as we glided through San Francisco’s back garden and we received many a glance from the passersby, admiring our efforts in tackling the unruly hills of the city.

As we slowly drew closer to the Golden Gate Bridge, its sheer enormity dawned on me: ‘breathtaking’ didn’t even come close to describing its grandeur, I realised that its cinematic portrayal by no means did the city’s cherished landmark justice. Before we knew it we were there, flying past the sea of rush-hour traffic that had ground to a standstill on the bridge. Surrendering to a feeling of unbound freedom, it was as if every concern, every care in the world had been replaced with elated happiness. Up close, the towering vermillion bridge was still every bit as majestic, if not more; the strength in its beams, its foundations unfaltering, and as we raced across, I too, for a fleeting moment, felt untouchable. I found myself rendered speechless; words became redundant when conveying the abundance of emotion that had captured me.

Side by side, finding new companionship in our trusty bikes, we once more reached for our cameras, longing to capture the picture-perfect sunset. Comprehending the events of the day; cycling through the city’s blossoming gardens; the finale of the glorious Golden Gate that stood before us now as we returned to the pier, so distant and serene; it was too surreal to fully digest. However, one thing was certain: the ear-to ear-smiles which adorned our faces at that moment would reappear every time we remembered our all too brief getaway to San Francisco.

E de Souza

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