Flashback Friday #13

The City of Love: How I left my heart in San Francisco

(This is a long post about my love affair with San Francisco which started in 1965)

San Francisco first hit my radar way back in 1965 when “California Dreamin’ ” by the Mamas and the Papas hit the British charts. Knowing nothing about LA or indeed California, anywhere that offered warmth in winter seemed like a good place to be to me. By the time Scott McKenzie was singing “San Francisco (be sure to wear some flowers in your hair)” a hit in the spring of 1967, I was hooked. This was one USA state I had to visit. Haight-Ashbury frequently featured on the television with its flower-power, incense-burning, acid-dropping, tie-dye-wearing, peace-and-love-vibe hippies during the summer of love (1967) and I fell in love with the whole enchilada. As the ‘60s turned into the ‘70s I too became an incense burning, peace-loving hippy myself, though it was an awful lot more years before I would get to San Fran.

The next time the city nudged its way into my life was in 1972 when I was working for a brief spell in Zürich as an au pair and came into contact with a group of Americans from California who were over in Europe to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War. Falling in love with a gentle, flute-playing, blonde haired surfer from San Francisco made me yearn to visit that golden state again. All too soon he took off for India and I returned home to the UK, alone. The years passed and the USA was no longer on my ‘must see’ list and San Francisco faded from my dreams. The summer of love was long past… Continue reading Flashback Friday #13

Life in Colour

To find out more about this year’s photo challenge here on Travel Words, please read this post.

This month we will be looking for Green. Green signals new life in spring, fresh green leaves, the shoots of new bulbs emerging from the soil. It is a cool and soothing colour, bringing us moisture and shade. But there is more to green than the colour of nature. This week I am going to look at San Francisco Streetcars. Green ones naturally.

Melbourne (Australia) 496, built in 1928. The famed W-class trams dominated Melbourne’s transit system, with a layout that reversed San Francisco’s ‘California’ design, by putting closed sections at both ends, with the lowered section for boarding and alighting placed in the middle.

Los Angeles Transit Lines 1080, built in 1946. This car is painted in the livery of Los Angeles Transit Lines (LATL), which operated PCC streetcars after World War II

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 1062, built in 1948. The “Steel City”, as Pittsburgh has long been called, was also one of the great PCC streetcar cities as well. It operated the world’s first PCC carrying passengers, in August 1936. Car No. 1062 now honours Pittsburgh’s extensive PCC operation, after spending its first 21 years in Muni service painted in tribute to Louisville, Kentucky, a city that bought, but never operated, PCCs after World War II.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1055, built in 1948. The ‘City of Brotherly Love’ first ran PCC streetcars in 1938. This car, numbered 2122 in Philly (now Muni No. 1055), was delivered in 1948 and wore this livery of green, cream, and red from 1955 to 1968.

St. Louis Public Service Company 1050, built in 1948. Here it is painted in its original  Muni green and cream “Wings” livery. In 2016 it was decided to honour St. Louis by repainting Car No. 1050 in SLPS livery (red and cream).

Chicago, Illinois 1058, built 1948. This streetcar is painted to honour Chicago, which ran PCC streetcars from 1936 to 1958. Chicago had the largest PCC fleet ever purchased new by one city–683 cars. At 50′ 5″ they were the longest single-end PCCs ever built, and boasted three sets of doors to swallow crowds quickly.

Milan, Italy (1930s 1970s) 1818, built 1928. The second most common type of streetcar in Muni’s historic fleet is an American classic with an Italian accent. This type of car is named for Cleveland street railway commissioner Peter Witt, who designed it for his Ohio city around 1915.

If you want to learn more about San Francisco’s historic streetcars and cable cars then please visit the Market Street Railway Museum.

It’s easy to find shades of green in nature, but what else can you discover?

Streets of San Francisco

Well we have reached the penultimate day of the January Squares challenge, hosted as ever by Becky, the Queen of Squares, which  is all about ____light. That’s words ending in light. So if you want to join in best be quick!

Headlights and Brake-lights

Another photo from the streets of San Francisco. This time I stepped out into the middle of the road to take this shot on California Street (don’t worry I waited until the traffic had stopped at the lights down below) aiming for an iconic cable car image, but we have headlights, brake-lights, streetlights and traffic-lights too.

Headlight (noun) = Headlamps are also often called headlights, but in the most precise usage, headlamp is the term for the device itself and headlight is the term for the beam of light produced and distributed by the device.

brake-lights (noun) = Illuminated brake-lights indicate your car is slowing down or has stopped, giving other cars — in daylight, dim light or darkness — plenty of time to stop so they don’t crash into you.

January Squares | Day Thirty


The new January Squares challenge, hosted as ever by Becky, the Queen of Squares,  is all about ____light. That’s words ending in light. In this often dull month light of any kind is what we all need to lift our spirits as we wait impatiently for spring to begin. Click on the link to find out more.


This is one of the beautiful historic streetcars that move around San Francisco, this one I believe is from Milan. There are several and they are all gorgeous and I loved to ride on them when staying in SF as we always stayed in Fisherman’s Wharf area where many of these streetcars go to. I can’t believe that I have never published a post about these beauties, something I need to rectify.

Headlight (noun) = Headlamps are also often called headlights, but in the most precise usage, headlamp is the term for the device itself and headlight is the term for the beam of light produced and distributed by the device.

So here we have not only headlamps, but also a few headlights! (And even a couple of traffic-lights in the background)

January Squares | Day Twenty-Three

postcard from america

This is farewell to my series of postcards from America. I shall leave you with one last view of the iconic Bay bridge as depicted on one of the lovely Heart installations in Union Square. 

It won’t however be farewell to posts about my USA trips as I still have several ideas and photos that have yet to be published.