For decades now people consider the Golden Gate Bridge as one of the greatest monuments in the United States. It’s the identifying icon for every soul living in the Bay area. Not only is the Golden Gate Bridge the most photographed bridge in the world but it’s also one of the most overrated.
Yes, I said it.
Having grown up listening to so much hoopla about the bridge, there was no way I’d skip the bridge during my visit to San Francisco. Besides, a trip to the Bay area is incomplete without a lame photograph reminder of the bridge. And now that I have plenty of photos to prove I’ve been there, I’ve also acquired some knowledge about the Golden Gate Bridge that’s made it less impressive in my mind.
To be clear, I don’t hate the bridge. And no, I didn’t hear some grotesque story about the bridge’s history. But I did realise that the Golden Gate Bridge isn’t the only awe-worthy construction in the city. In fact, there are more attractions in San Francisco than people give it credit for. Speaking of bridges, though, there’s the Bay Bridge.
When I first saw the Bay Bridge, I was still high above the sea level. I stared down at the bridge through the window in my flight. From up there, I, like so many other tourists before me, mistook the Bay Bridge to be the Golden Gate Bridge. After all, a typical misinformed tourist to San Francisco only hears about the towering Golden Gate Bridge that they have to see. My neighbour in the flight explained my blunder to me, and to pacify me, he also commented I shouldn’t feel bad because so many people make the same mistake as I. That only made me feel smaller.
Even when I trudged to the Coit Tower about a week later, I saw the Bay Bridge more times than I did the Golden Gate Bridge. It was so massive that it popped up at every clearing. The Golden Gate Bridge, on the other hand, was shrouded in mist.
The more I learnt about the Bay Bridge, the more I felt bad for the injustice we’ve inflicted upon it. The bridge is the direct road running between the cities of San Francisco and Oakland. It’s a two-deck bridge that carries upto 260,000 vehicles a day, and was opened in 1936—about 6 months before the Golden Gate Bridge.
The Bay Bridge’s international orange-coloured rival, on the other hand, has always been the perfect spot for tourists and suicidal folks alike. And the fact that the mist from the ocean’s heat hides most of the bridge from view is only an additional attractive feature.
I won’t deny that the Golden Gate Bridge is beautiful. I will look at it all day if I could. But I will also look at the Bay Bridge all day. If I had to choose, I’d choose the Bay Bridge just because it’s more interesting. It’s interesting how much we humans under appreciate it despite the fact that it’s as deserving as the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s much like an under valued older son in a family of two boys.