Lombard Street

To me San Francisco has always defined itself as a place with a unique charm and iconic style that can be compared by no other. The people of San Francisco don’t just make the city come alive; they make it dance. Even as a person from Southern California the allure of San Francisco struck me as some sort of distant, faraway place that could carry me away. I remember the days when I would stare longingly at iconic landmarks such as “the Painted Ladies” or “Lombard Street.” Those classic images were what I was dreaming of when I was fast asleep in the car and by the time I woke up they laid themselves in front of me because, I was in San Francisco.

Lombard Street, also known as “the Crooked Street”, consists of a road section located on Russian Hill that not only goes down a steep slope, but is also filled with tight turns. Those turns may seem like a hazard, but they were actually put there as safety precautions to keep people from rolling down the hill at top speed, since the hill was so steep. Besides the street itself, the beautiful Victorian houses that border the road give the area an additional unique beauty. The houses there include Victorian style mansions, townhouses, and condos. Russian Hill is the location of some of the most expensive and classiest pieces of real estate in San Francisco.

Everyone knows that quaint picture of Lombard Street that practically exudes calmness and beauty, but the truth behind that veneer is a little ways off. I wonder if that camera man caught a lucky break that day or if we just had bad luck, because when I arrived at the street an image of tranquility was quickly shattered. Honking cars, yelling taxi drivers, and confused tourists littered the area. I guess this was already a pretty good day considering people are driving down this street that is not only hard to drive in, but is now also filled with tourists snapping their cameras away. My dad, the self-proclaimed family photographer, decided to further add to the confusion by following suit to the confused tourists and attempt to stand in the center of the road in mid-traffic just to take a photo. My disgruntled brother and I urged our dad to quickly take the photo, but all of our coaxing and urging worked to no avail. The photo op ended to the drivers’ delight when my dad stepped out of their way and further commented on the photo by saying, “the light wasn’t good.” I decided to retreat to my mom to escape from any future photo ops by my dad. After observing the numerous amounts of turns and curves, I asked my mom if she could drive down Lombard Street. I was answered with a straight-faced “no” and “I’ve got no guts” excuse. It seemed that our past experience of hectic one way streets had already pushed her driving skills to the limit. That quaint image of Lombard Street doesn’t seem so calm anymore does it, but that isn’t necessarily true. When I got to the bottom of the hill and looked up at the street I realized that the charming brick roads, the vibrant flowers, and even the crazy twists and turns was just one of those places that reminded people of iconic San Francisco. You could even say it was an oasis in the middle of a big city street; as Bill Cosby said, “Lombard Street, wonderful street.”

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