After a long and practically sleepless flight from Sydney to San Francisco we spent our first day here with our friends Matt & Ange. The first thing we noticed when we stepped out of the airport was how freezing it was. The sun is shining but the wind is strong and bitterly cold! Thank you Dad and Mum for encouraging me to bring my jacket!
It’s been pretty low key so far, we spent a lovely day fighting jetlag by walking around the neighbourhood Noe Valley, having lunch, chilling in Dolores Park. Parklife in San Fran appears to be a popular pastime amongst the locals. There is a great view over the city here and many groups of people gather to chill, hang out, drink and smoke pot (openly done here). It really stood out how spoilt we are for choice back in Sydney as there were so many people in this one spot. This was noticeably the place for young hipsters and gays to hang out so we felt right at home having come from Darlinghurst!
There was this one girl in what can only be described as a “strawberry shortcake” dress wondering around selling homemade brownies and cookies. Her treats were sober sweets this time but I am informed that more often than not these sweets are filled with happy herbs. We saw Miss Shortcake again later in the evening at the dive bar with her baking tray refilled… still the sober variety. Disappointing.
Simo did a great job of fighting jetlag and powered through the day, I caved and had a nanna nap. Once I forced myself to get up we spent our first night visiting local dive bars and had a lovely meal with Matt, Ange and my old friend Johnathan. The food here as promised is fantastic and the wine is also great. It’s funny not seeing any New Zealand or Aussie wine on the menu and my expertise has now gone out the window. I left it to Matt to order.
Heading out we went to the typical American dive bar. I love these places.. very laid back, jukebox music and cheap beer… what more could you ask for?
We were lucky enough to have great guides in Ange and Matt who are both very knowledgeable about SF. They drove us over the Golden Gate Bridge, which like all of the famous bridges in the world is very grand and beautiful. Its orangey-red colour stood out against the water and city backdrop. We drove to some beautiful look out spots in green rolling hills from which the city and bridge looked amazing – great opportunity to get our cheesy tourist shots. We spent the second night in and are actually pretty tired by evening. If this is jetlag it’s coming at the right time.
I love this city and its architecture is some of the prettiest and most colourful I have seen. The buildings are grand, opulent and really individual. I found myself staring in wonder out the car window. Down town though I could never really shake the feeling that I was in a Grand Theft Auto game! It had a completely different feel and it seemed like there were more loonies than not… our kind of place!
We met TK and Sarah in Haight St, which is the area the hippies and flower children dominated in the 60s and 70s. There were some pretty cool shops, mainly elaborate smoke shops, vintage thrift shops and dive bars, the locals were all very friendly and go out of their way to help (well the ones we met anyway).
We headed downtown and with the help of some funny lookin’ locals on the bus, found our way onto the F line trolley (tram) and headed toward the Alcatraz tour. One quote about SF from a lovely yet crazy-haired lady rang true – “San Francisco’s weather is sunshine with the air conditioning on”.
Alcatraz was great, though the worst thing about having to do a touristy activity is hanging out with all the tourists. To be fair, though there were a lot of people with us we barely noticed. The four of us had a great time exploring the island and jail. The audio tour was informative and interesting… what a mad place, you really got a sense of how desperate some of the inmates would have been to get out. I am glad I went to see it and can now tick that box!
All up San Fran did not disappoint.. I really love this city and wish I had more time to explore it. We had a great few days with good friends the only thing I missed out on was a Clam Chowder out of a sourdough bowl…. oh well next time… on to Vegas now!!!!
Also we just want to say a huge thanks to Matt & Ange for having us stay with them. It was lovely to stay in such beautiful home and do as the locals do! Thanks guys xx