Make Love, Not War. Ten years ago in June 2007 we made one of our epic roadtrips on the California West coast. That summer marked the 40th Anniversary of The Summer of Love and not surprisingly, we headed to San Fransisco (and Monterey) to get a glimpse of the sites that lured hundreads of thousands of visitors to experience the hippie counterculture with ideals like communal living, open relationships, self-exploration and self-invention through arts, politics and a variety of substances, environmental awareness and drop-out culture. (Note: photos are from 10 years back, quality may not be that exellent.)
We have both had our hippie-inspired years during adolescence, even that Mikaela was born 10 years after the Summer of Love, July 1977. Somehow the music, the clothing and the arts of that era just had found their way to our lives.
Both of us had resonated with the gypsy style peace, love and rock’n roll lifestyles we had witnessed abroad, seen in the movies like the Doors, Woodstock and Easy Rider and even learned about at the history lessons at school.
Pekka had a chance to perform in the musical Hair, Mikaela learned to play The Beatles songs on piano and read Amistead Maupins Tales of the City, Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia, works of Jack Kerouac and learned about world religions, alternative belief systems and such. The hippie-era, we have noticed, still tends to have an importance in young, artsy peoples lives.
Anyways. The Summer of Love 50th Anniversary celebrations happen this summer in San Francisco and if you have time in your hands, we suggest you go and experience the S.F. Hippie legacy. The city is filled with events and things to experience. Here are some sites you might want to explore. Just be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.
In the summer of 1967 thousands and thousands of people made their way to this neighborhood to celebrate love and peace. New York Times called it “Hashbury”. Once home to names like Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Grateful Dead and the Jefferson Airplane, Haight-Ashbury has been able to foster part of the 60’s flower power vibes. The psychedelic paintings, hippyish shops selling Oriental and Indian fabrics and items. The incense sticks burning and at times hiding other odors. We had a couple of drinks and played some pinball at a bar, listening to the Doors and imagining what the life was here 40 years ago.
Golden Gate Park
This urban oasis is a home to the fantastic, 55 acre San Francisco Botanical Garden “Cultivating the bond between people and plants”. We spent half a day being amazed by the 8,500 plants from around the world. The Japanese garden was our favourite and in a way, a good 60’s zen thing to add to your Summer of Love tour.
This neighbourhood of S.F. is literally as vivid as a rainbow. The LGBT community waves the flag of diversity and liberal values proud and loud. The crowds are an eclectic mix of everyday jeans, shorts & T-shirts, unbelievable fabric and feather creations and super sleek suits. Here you can be anything, it seems. Enjoy The Castro any time of the day. Breakfast 24/7 and hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere. Cheers, this place is a must thing on your Summer of Love trip!
The Bay Area
Not all of this was interesting to the 60’s visitors as a lot of the area was dedicated to the fishing industry (we were told). The touristy edge was created later. But still, the bay plays an important part in the essence of the city. We don’t think S.F. without a sea shore, the fog, the iconic bridge and the natural beauty would have become the ultimate hippie destination. Do wander the Fishermans Wharf, see if you can spot sea lions on Pier 39, treat your taste buds with fresh seafood and make sure you’ve booked your Alcatraz tickets in advance to ensure your visit. And if possible, make a trip to the opposite side of the bay. We did (the last photo; we had a couple of hours at a beach).
This Chinatown really seduces you into a mini vacay within a vacay. The largest Chinatown outside Asia and the oldest in the US tells a lot about the city and its roots. For the flower child it offers amazing bazaar-type stores filled with curiosities and flower embroided gowns & dresses. Feed your curiosity by stepping into shops, bars and restaurants.