What the hell happened to our May weather? Yesterday I spent two whole hours schlepping up and down stairways in Russian Hill in chilly winds and occasional drizzle — and that doesn’t count the one hour each way it took me to get to and from the walk. Harumph! Luckily, it was worth it. Unluckily, the shots I got were lackluster due to the grey skies.
If you’re like me, and I know I am, the first thing that jumps to mind when you hear Russian Hill Stairways is "Tales of the City." The series was one of the first things I read upon arriving here, and it utterly captivated me. Macondray Lane has commonly been assumed to be the inspiration for Barbary Lane, but insiders know that lushly-gardened, dead-end Havens is the more likely source.
But beyond TotC, I knew precious little of this hoity-toity neighborhood except that it was expensive. The tour opened my eyes to some remarkable architecture, history and politics. The biggest takeaway for me was learning that the name derives from the discovery of bones and Orthodox Russian artifacts, estimated to be from between 1812-1830, in a plot at the summit. Who knew?
More (gloomy) shots at Flickr.