San Francisco is good for developing the leg muscles. We had already walked up Powell Street (long and steep) and back down the hill past Chinatown and towards Levi’s Square. Now we were at the bottom of Telegraph Hill, looking up at an endless flight of wooden stairs.
The Filbert Street steps stretch into the distance
Filbert Street Steps
Telegraph Hill is not the tallest of San Francisco’s 49 hills but it is high enough to provide a leg workout and to give some spectacular views at the top. I counted the stairs as we climbed: 297 wooden steps followed by 172 concrete ones. But it was an enjoyable walk, lined with small wooden cottages. A cat basked in a garden and lemons were growing on a tree in one of the verdant front gardens. It was a world away from the city streets with their noisy traffic and rattling cable cars.
The path up Telegraph Hill is lined with wooden cottages
Telegraph Hill is famous for its flock of parrots, apparently descended from captive birds that had escaped. We looked out for them, but unfortunately they were nowhere to be seen.
At the Top of Telegraph Hill
The final steps were inscribed with the names of people who had donated towards the restoration of the Coit Tower, the tall white structure at the top of the hill. We walked towards the tower on a peaceful woodland path, pausing to admire the distant view of the Golden Gate Bridge.
A peaceful woodland walk at the top of Telegraph Hill
A view from the top of Telegraph Hill
We had hoped to go into the Coit Tower, to see its famous murals and the panoramic views from the top, but the renovation work was still going on. But an old man with a dog (who told us that he had come to San Francisco from Ireland 50 years ago) stopped to tell us some of the history. Apparently it was built after Roosevelt’s New Deal to provide employment for artists, and continued to be regarded as a monument to the working people. He said it had even been closed for a while because striking workers were using it as a place to send signals to their comrades down below!
We walked back down by the Greenwich Steps, where the magnolias were in full bloom. Again we passed small cottages with well kept gardens. But there was an unusual feature to these gardens: many of them contained sculptures by local artists.
The Greenwich Steps
Some of the gardens contain sculptures by local artists
And another sculpture…
By the time we reached the bottom we decided our legs had worked hard enough. It was time for some of those famous San Francisco cocktails!