I arrived in San Francisco late the previous day. After getting settled in the penthouse room I wandered to the nearest subway station to load a 3-day Muni Pass on the Clipper Card that the folks I stayed with provided. After that it was a quick dinner at a nearby restaurant and then crashing after the day of travel.
April 5th – the first day of wandering San Francisco. I had three goals for the day. The Japanese Tea Garden, the De Young Art Museum, and the Cartoon Art Museum.
The goal was to see the Dutch paintings from the Mauritshuis (aka: The Hague). The highlight of this show was Vermeer’s painting of the Girl with the Pearl Earring. This painting was the reason I decided to take the trip to San Francisco. It is more beautiful than any photograph can show. I nearly wept at the opportunity to be near it.
Etchings by Rembrandt and his contemporaries were also on exhibit. Small etchings that I had to take my glasses off to see. Crowds gathered around the artwork. People slipped in and out of tiny spaces making room for the newcomers.
My first stop of the day was the Japanese Tea Garden where I took one of the City Guides Tours. In the early 1900s a man named Mr. Hagiwara expanded and maintained a beautiful space until he and his family were sent to a detention camp during WWII. A sad part of American History. But the beauty he created remains. It is a peaceful place even when filled with tourists.
The Japanese Tea Garden tour was early in the morning: 9 or 10 a.m. My tickets for the De Young weren’t until 2:30 p.m. Between the two I hopped on the #5 bus and went across town to the Cartoon Art Museum. Luckily, at the bus stop, there was a man and woman (dressed in Giants garb as it was opening day at the ballpark) who took me under wing and guided me through the public transport system so I could get to the Cartoon Art Museum quickly. (The people of San Francisco are awesome.)
At the Cartoon Art Museum I saw artwork by Chuck Jones, the artist behind Wiley Coyote, the Road Runner, Bugs Bunny and the gang. The museum is small but filled with cartoons. Enough to thrill a big kid like me.