A dozen disparate places from my unpublished travel memoir to distract you while I explore new places I will no doubt later share.
My favorite place in San Francisco is the Palace of Fine Arts, a rose terracotta dome and attached colonnade left over from the 1915 Pan-American exposition. Why? It has that beaux arts, Little Nemo in Slumberland quality of idealized architecture, of materials made ornate and space glorified for no particular purpose. Though for me the icing on the cake is the enigmatic, almost disturbing caryatids, enormous statues of women, 18 feet tall, forming the corners to the dome’s planter boxes. Not facing outward, as would be expected, but turned inward, heads bowed, as if weeping, displaying their broad backs. I’ve never seen anything like them, anywhere in the world. They were originally intended to convey a certain fashionable melancholy. Guards at the 1915 fair were told to inform curious visitors that the statues were “crying over the sadness of art.”