Two Symbols of the Frontier City – Golden Gate and Alcatraz

Look at the world and you’ll notice that the people who live by the sea/ocean tend to develop a distinct outlook when compared to the heartland folks. On one hand, open waters still present endless possibilities, fuel for hopeful dreams. It is the fruits of the sea trade, the influx of goods and immigrants that shape the perspective of the settlers of the area. There is an undeniable dynamic force that defines the culture in those cities. On the other hand, the further you go inland, the more static the air gets. You begin to realise that the forces of continuity triumph over the forces of change. Maybe it’s the natural limits set by imposing mountains or the crop fields that span all directions of the horizon that mystifies the routine of the seasons, natural chronicle of predetermined “life choices.”

San Francisco, as it was touched upon in our 101 post on the city, is a quintessential example of open-mindedness and tolerance of differences. It is the “frontier” by many measures. But today I want to focus on two famous landmarks of this frontier city: Golden Gate Bridge and the Alcatraz, symbols of desperate escapes for freedom from two different perspectives.

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Golden Gate is among the most famous, certainly one of the most beautiful bridges of the world. It was built in 4 years, ahead of schedule and under budget(!). For everyone who understands how miserable even small projects can become, this is an achievement worth celebrating on its own. :) Even though 11 people lost their lives during the construction, the safety net under the bridge helped to save the lives of 19 men. Those who fell but saved by the safety net later found the ultra exclusive “Half Way to Hell Club“.
The bridge looks amazing at all times and mystical & elusive at times of fog.

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It is the bridge at the end of the world, connecting the frontier city to further Northern California. We had the opportunity to pass it three times, two on a tour bus, once with a car. A video from one of our trips is right here. We later discovered that the wide angle of the GoPro distorted the picture a little, but it was not our intention.

Alcatraz, the famous prison island, is right in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. Even though it does not have an imposing presence, every tourist knows where it is and what it means. It ceased to be prison for over 50 years ago but still keeps that air of seclusion and the urge to escape. When Alcatraz was a prison, Golden Gate Bridge was already built, right there at the end of the bay, standing strong like another gate before the freedom of the ocean. And you can get the best picture of the old prison from the bridge herself. :)

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To read more on our California trip, please visit: California Road Trip of 2014

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  1. Pingback: San Francisco 101: City of “Mistical” Contrasts | Home vs Away

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