Lombard Street at 5 mph

Anne and I had three hours between checking out at the hotel and checking in at the airport to see and do whatever we could in San Francisco.

First we must find something to eat but not in the middle of financial district. Breakfast yesterday was great but at a hefty price. Checked out Chinatown and found a small shop selling porridge and hot dim sum. Sweet comfort food!

Next we headed to Lombard Street. Just driving there was a test of nerves for us.

I had to get pass a horde of tourists doing stop-the-traffic poses at the top of the steep road while my car almost slid backwards downhill to avoid running over them.

Foot on the pedal charging forward only to notice a cable car with sightseers doing one-hand pole other-hand camera stunts. I paused in the middle of the cross junction on the tracks with Anne close to hysteria. Managed to pull off in time.

When I rented the car from Enterprise, they didn’t have a compact size for me. Instead I was given a Chevy Malibu. Nice car but rather big for me. Still it’s manageable driving on normal roads in an orderly fashion. It’s a different story with roads of over 20% gradient, mostly straight and a few winding ones such as in Russian Hill.

This is a section of Lombard Street dubbed as the world’s crookedest street with eight hair-pin turns designed to make the steep descent ‘easier’ for vehicles. Beautiful private residences on both sides and flowers nicely planted around makes the street one of the most popular tourist attractions here.

We actually parked the car some blocks away after the first scare with the tourists. Shall we just drive off to the airport or get back to Lombard Street to make the quarter mile descent?

Well it isn’t everyday that we’re in San Francisco and we don’t know when we’ll be back again together. So here we go – 5 miles per hour down the world’s most famous crooked street.

JY

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