First of a couple of posts from a trip to California for the (main) purpose of attending the 2006 Experimental NMR Conference. This was a good opportunity to spend a few days exploring San Francisco; during my brief postdoc in Berkeley, I’d rarely got further than the department stores around Union Square…

Powell street

A typical San Francisco image: Powell street at the intersection with Bush [37 47 24 N, 122 24 32 W]. Not the steepest street by any means, but no doubt exciting enough for tourists holding on to the cable car.

Bay Bridge 1 Bay Bridge 2

A couple of pictures of the Bay Bridge from the ferry port [37 47 49 N, 122 23 38W]. Although somewhat in the shadow of its famous cousin, the Golden Gate bridge, it’s an iconic structure in its own right. Note the ridiculous notice (no doubt warning about the risks of getting wet) – who would read that fine print?


The Embarcadero used to be taken up by a freeway. After being damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, the freeway was demolished, reconnecting downtown San Francisco to its waterside. The Ferry Building, pictured here [37 47 44 N, 122 23 36W], has been renovated to house a splendid collection of upscale food and drink stores.

Weird Roof

Spotted during a random excursion using San Francisco’s metro lines to explore the further flung reaches of the city. At first glance, this unusual roof [37 44 56 N, 122 27 36 W] seems the result of earthquake damage, but no, apparently this was the intended effect…

Asian Art Musuem

The highly recommended Asian Art Museum has recently moved to this new location off Civic Centre. Don’t leave a visit too late, as it closes rather early at 5 pm. OTOH this means you can get out before the area (Civic Centre and around the Bart station) turns into bum central – not a place to hang around after dark…

Hotels used for reference:


Firmly out of my normal league, I’d managed to find this appartment of a room (450 sq. ft, 50 m2) at the Donatello Hotel for a mere $108 + tax through the internet. Good points: wonderful room, great Union Square location (Post & Mason). Bad points: rubbish breakfast by European standards. Overall: superb, just make sure to find a cheap deal in advance.

Cornell hotel

The Cornell Hotel de France (to give its full title) wasn’t quite in the same league (slightly more “lived in” shall we say), but at $115 + tax for a large room this was a more realistic price for a booking sans internet. The “de France” bit was a surprise; I was sorely tempted to converse in French but resisted. Overall: would happily use again esp. if one of the cheaper rooms was available.

Find Bay area travel tip: I’d originally planned to stay overnight in Berkeley on Sun Apr 16, but finally concluded that accommodation in Berkeley was either shabby or outrageously expensive. For a brief visit, stay instead in one of the many hotels around Union Square in San Francisco and take the BART

California trip: San Francisco