This morning we took a guided tour to the beautiful and beguiling city of San Francisco. Our guide had a mischievous wit and a laid back style to his job that immediately endeared him to everybody. He was the perfect match for the city. I was particularly interested in the sites related to Hitchock’s great film, Vertigo. The guide was happy to oblige, pointing out how Hitchcock had deliberately used some of the steeper streets as backdrops to emphasise the sense of heights (and Stewart’s character’s fear of them). As it happened, the Golden Gate Bridge was closed off after a man had been seen climbing its structure so instead we even got to Fort Point which is where, in the film, Kim Novak’s character jumps into the Bay, only to be saved by the betwitched James Stewart. (It is also where I took this picture of the bridge from, as they say, an ‘unusual angle’.) The guide also pointed out the big hotels where the politicians stay (Fairmont for the Democrats, Mark Hopkins for the Republicans) and told us that, whereas they had had ‘trouble in getting rid of’ Clinton, George W. Bush had never once set foot in the city during his eight years as President. I wonder why. After lunch on Fishermans Wharf and an obligatory visit to the city’s sea lions, it was time for a cruise to Alcatraz (see next post). Samuel Clements (Mark Twain) once famously observed that ‘The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.’ Our day started off very cold and foggy but, as the guide had predicted, the fog was burned away as the sun grew stronger and the rest of the day was sunny and quite warm.