Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Hidden Staircase(s)

I adored reading mysteries growing up. Not the scary kind of mysteries, I couldn't handle those (I think Tom Sawyer still had me in its clutches weeks later), but the puzzle kind, with hidden passageways, secret gardens, and unknown compartments and latches. I loved the idea of unlocking and discovering a secret worth keeping.

Like many things about me in childhood, that has stayed the same. I just re-read an Agatha Christie novel and found a Burmese restaurant with a small sign, out of view behind a beautiful tree. The discoveries thrill. Luckily Brian loves to discover too. A few weeks ago he found this book at a Berkeley book shop and couldn't resist.

Urban hiking? Yes. Getting to know our new city? Yes. Secrets? Yes, yes, please. The book outlines delicious walking tours throughout the secret stairs that bedeck the hills of Berkeley and Oakland. With simple maps and enjoyable text, we sauntered up and down, excitedly (and nerdily) reading the tidbits and reveling in the discovery of hidden gems.

beautiful houses...and completely decked out for Halloween.
this place takes holiday decor very seriously.

this belongs in the Harry Potter Goblet of Fire maze....

our unequivocal favorite: the personal funicular