Where Land Ends

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Where Land Ends

It is difficult for us to fathom (I like the sound of this Middle English word “fadme” that refers to a unit of length used to measure the depth of water. To understand something thoroughly is “to get to the bottom of it”) that for the most of human history people believed that the Earth was flat, and if one reaches the end, he will fall off in the abyss (another Middle English word “abissus,” which means bottomless, or deep bottom of the sea). Therefore cartographers drew dragons at the end of the known ancient world maps to indicate the danger of getting there.

Nevertheless, San Francisco has its own Land’s End. It is the name of the park, which is a rocky and windswept shoreline at the mouth of Golden Gate, situated between the Sutro Bath and Lincoln Park. A beautiful place to visit and walk along the track with the expansive view of The Golden Gate. The area has rich history and is named “Land’s End” because by the 1860s a horse-drawn stagecoach made a trip every Sunday from crowded downtown San Francisco to the area where San Francisco ended by the ocean. During the 1880s Adolf Sutro, who made a fortune at the Comstock Lode, increased his wealth by large real estate investments in San Francisco. At one time he owned one twelfth of the acreage in San Francisco. This included Mount Sutro, Land’s End, the area where Lincoln Park and the Cliff House are today, and Mount Davidson, which was called “Blue Mountain” at that time (the area where our family lives). At the “Land’s End” he built an entertainment complex called Sutro Bath. He also laid down a railroad in order to reach the area. Adolf Sutro served as the 24th mayor of San Francisco from 1895-1897, and made many contributions to our city. Unfortunately, Sutro Bath was destroyed in a fire, along with his mansion, which was at the top of what is now Sutro Heights Park, and the original Cliff House, a seven story Victorian Chateau, called by some “The Gingerbread Palace”. The railroad tracks disappeared as well, and now it is about a trail that is about two miles long, which starts just above the Cliff House and winds in and out of the woods and along the edge of the bluffs and ends in the residential area of Sea Cliff near China Beach. When you visit the area, also explore the labyrinth, and if you do not mind walking down the steep hill, visit the Mile Rock Beach.

I have visited the trail many times, but never walked down to the beach. This time when I came here with a friend, I discovered another hidden gem of our city.

P.S. After coming down the hill, I decided to explore the beach and noticed a trail going up the hill through the tall wild flowers. I convinced my young friend to join me. It was fun, but if you decide to do the same, be sure to wear hiking shoes. These four images are only teasers; you need to have your own experience.

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Manny<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Signature

Enchanting Forest

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Enchanting Forest

In folk tales, the forest is a place of magic and danger; it is a place where strange things might occur, and where frightening people might live, it is the home of monsters, witches and fairies. If you are not afraid of all of those creatures, a walk through the forest is a wonderful place to get some exercise.

I found an interesting article online about 12 of The Most Enchanting Forests in The World. Forests are also great for your immune system. Trees release phytoncides that protect them from insects and rotting. This organic compound is beneficial to us as well. As we inhale the phytoncides, our stress hormones decrease. It’s been proven to help with depression, anger and anxiety. I do not need this scientific explanation to enjoy my walks in the woods. We have one in San Francisco, not far from our house, on Mount Davidson. Of course there is an incredible Sequoia Forest in Muir woods in Marin, but the only time we went there was when someone visited us from out of town. Nowadays, there are so many tourists that there is no place to park your car, and to get there you have to take a shuttle. There is a cluster of Eucalyptus trees near Stow Lake where we sometimes go for a walk. But for a real walk in the forest we drive to the Sea Ranch, or to Calaveras County to visit the majestic Big Trees State Park with the giant sequoia trees (and they are really giants). But those trips are a three-hour drive each way and therefore reserved for longer vacations. To my great surprise, we recently discovered a great forest/park, a half-an-hour drive from San Francisco.

On Mother’s Day our daughter Alona, who lives in Tiburon, took us to Larkspur for a walk in Bolivar Park. Magnolia Street, which leads to the forest, is across from Perry’s Restaurant. We drove to the end and prayed for legal parking, since it is a residential area. But it was worth the effort. When I stepped into the woods, I felt like I was in an enchanted forest. We are blessed to live in this area full of wonders.

P.S. If you want to see beautiful images of enchanted forests, just google them. My four abstract images are a reflection of the mystery and enchantment I encountered there.

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Manny<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Signature

Who Was Julius Ceasar?

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Who Was Julius Caesar?

Gaius Julius Caesar, known as Julius Caesar, was a Roman politician, general and notable author of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. He was assassinated on March 15, 44 BC, at the age of 55. My interest in him was prompted by the event that happened many years later. In 1599, William Shakespeare wrote his tragedy, “Julius Caesar”, and last month, my wife and I had the pleasure of seeing a performance of the play in Ashland, Oregon. We came here after spending five days in Klamath Falls, only an hour and a half away; I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago. Ashland, which is about a seven-hour drive from San Francisco, is the place for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. In its 82nd year, with four different stages, this Tony award event is the magnet for theater lovers and an opportunity for talented actors and directors to share their skills. In spite of the long drive, we come here often. My wife Elfa bought a yearly membership and we were able to see two shows this time. The second play we saw, “Shakespeare in Love”, was an adaptation of the great movie made in 1998 under the same name, which won seven Academy Awards (after watching the play, we saw the movie and enjoyed the great story again).

Ashland is a very pleasant town with good restaurants, book stores, a beautiful park and very pleasant people. We usually stay in a B&B, but this time my wife booked our stay at the Ashland Springs Hotel, one block from the theater. If you like to watch good theater productions, I strongly recommend this trip, but buy tickets in advance.

P.S. Every time I come to Ashland in the spring and take my customary walks in the residential neighborhood in the early mornings, I am amazed by the incredible blooming flowers in almost every front yard. I share four of them with you.

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Manny<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Signature

Do You Like Golf?

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Do You Like Golf?

Golf, as a majority of sports, has four basic aspects: the players, the equipment, the field, and of course the fans. The fifth one is the business aspect, which is probably what is behind making any sport activity. I do not play golf and do not care about people swinging clubs, but I like golf courses very much. Many resorts are developed in the proximity to a golf course. Some enthusiasts travel long distances just to play a few rounds.

I am writing this story after walking along one of the most luxurious golf courses I have ever visited. It was designed by Arnold Palmer, and our time share, which I wrote about last week, was located right on the course. If you play golf, the focus is on the small ball, which depending on your skills, will fly to a distant spot, when struck by a golf club. However, for many it is not only a recreational sport, but also a social excursion. A friend of mine, who used to be a big shot at Bank of America, had to learn how to play golf to enable him to bond with prospective clients. Many important deals have been sealed on golf courses, and many sports medicine doctors, in particular chiropractors, make their living from this wonderful sport, as do the developers and operators of golf courses.

It is generally widely believed that the game of golf originated in in the Netherlands during the middle ages. From there, it spread to the United Kingdom in the late 19th century, and eventually to the United States. I found a fascinating article about golf’s history in Wikipedia. Often Exclusive private golf clubs are designed for those who have very deep pockets, with waiting lists, but there are exceptions to the rules, like the beautifully appointed golf course in Lincoln Park in San Francisco. Regardless if you play golf or not, you might be able to enjoy your time on golf courses, as I did.

P.S. While staying at the resort, I would get up early and by 6.30-7am, I would go for a walk along the golf course. It was still chilly, and not a soul in the vicinity. The grass was wet from the dew, the sun was coming out from behind the trees, greeted by the chirping birds. Pelicans, who slept by the lake, woke up alerted by my approach. And since there were no players, the whole course belonged to me. Four images are not enough to share the beauty and the joy which filled my heart while I was there.

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Cheers,

Manny<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Signature

Do You Know About Klamath Falls?

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Do You Know About Klamath Falls?

Klamath is located in 25 miles north of the California border in Southern Oregon. When I mentioned to a friend that we are planning to come here for a week-long vacation, she made a face and asked what do you do there? We stayed at the Running Y Resort in a Timeshare Exchange. Our fourth floor unit had a balcony that faced the golf course designed by Arnold Palmer with sweeping views of the mountains. On our way there, we stopped at Mount Shasta to buy groceries. It’s a dinky place at the foot of the snow-covered Mount Shasta Mountain.

Our resort was a twenty-minute drive to Klamath Falls, a local center with a population of over 20,000 and three local museums. Klamath is the name of one of Native American tribes, who lived there for 4,000 years. It is located 6 hours North of San Francisco (it took us eight hours with two stops) and 5 hours south of Portland. One of the local attractions is about an hour drive to Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park. It was formed about 2,200 years ago when the Mount Mazama Volcano collapsed into a caldera and filled with water to form a lake. Crater Lake is the deepest and clearest lake in the United States. When we got there, the surroundings were covered with snow; a magical scenery to see. People were skiing along the shore or walking on snowshoes. We were at the lake a few years ago during the summer and had a completely different experience.

The area has many other attractions. We visited the Lava Beds National Monument, which is actually located in northeastern California. It has numerous lava tube caves, which are open to visitors (You could read about this place in the last Sunday’s Travel Section of San Francisco Chronicle). Klamath Falls area is well known for their bird sanctuaries, as well as fishing and hiking. We did everything but fish, which we let others do for our dinners. But the most important part of our visit was to have a few days of rest and fresh air and it gave me an opportunity to start writing my next book, “Retirement Solutions for Smart People. 5 Easy Ways to Enjoy Your Golden Age”. I will keep you posted. We stayed in the resort for five days and then drove an hour and a half to Ashland. I will let you know about this visit in a few weeks.

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P.S. For me, photographing nature or people has the same basis. I photograph when I encounter beauty. With nature it can be easier, to what these four images will attest.

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Cheers,

Manny<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Signature