I have loads of places on my travelling bucket list, but one of the top ones was California. I finally went there last year, and had an amazing time road tripping down the coast: From San Francisco to Los Angeles! Unfortunately, I'm having problems putting pictures in my posts on here at the moment (anyone know how I can get my pictures into 800x100 pixel size?) so I have posted links to my Instagram posts. I hope this is ok!
My welcome to The Golden State was not the best one; after two flights, which added up to a total of 16 hours of flying, and with barely anything to eat (I was nervous and this was the longest flight I've ever been on), the last thing I wanted to do was stand in a huge queue for an hour and a half. However, after finally getting through customs, I was finally able to see San Francisco. Before leaving the UK, I hadn't really known what to expect from San Fran: I didn't really know much about it, but I was pleasantly surprised! I only spent 4 days there, but I really wish I could have stayed longer.
The houses there are gorgeous, like an American style Tobermory, and it was amazing sitting on the top if the hill in Dolores Park scanning the skyline and watching the old-fashioned multi-coloured roof tops slowly turn into grey scale sky scrapers. Everyone we met was friendly and made you feel welcome. Another thing that surprised me was the fact that everyone was happy; every single person you walked past greeted you with a smile (apart from the odd drunk who asks you for a coupe of dollars to buy another drink, which they clearly don't need).
I spent my first day travelling and eating huge slices of pizza in the $1 pizza place just down the street from our apartment at silly o'clock in the morning. I seriously wish we had these kind of places in the UK!
The second day was a day for exploring! We had an amazing tour of the Chinese area of the city by Wild SF Tours (http://wildsftours.com ), who are the funniest and nicest tour guides ever! If you're ever planning on visiting SF, then definitely go on one of their tours! Having a break from the modern hipster city and taking a trip into a totally different and colourful culture was a real breath of fresh air. I've always loved the Chinese culture, and the China Town in SF is well worth a visit as it is huge! The tour finished mid afternoon, so we spent an hour on a boat tour under the Golden Gate bridge (which was very windy and I regretted wearing shorts MAJORLY). It was absolutely amazing seeing the sheer scale of the bridge (despite the fog), and unfortunately this was the closest we got to the bridge as our route down the coast meant we had to go over the Bay Bridge instead, which was a shame! We also got some lovely views of the city in the dusk light.
Day 3 saw another tour with Wild SF (this time of the Castro and the Mission), where we were told about the history of the big LGBT community in SF and I walked around in awe of all the stunning murals there were on the walls of the buildings in both districts! We then took a visit to the City Lights second hand book store, and even the area surrounding the bookstore was book themed, with the streets named after famous authors and big books hanging from the street lights. I had started to feel a little homesick, and I find surrounding myself with books really helps (Is this just me? Does anyone else feel this way?! Or am I just weird...?). I was tempted to buy some of the leather bound classic books which looked so beautiful and delicate it was as if just looking at them would make them fall apart! However, I didn't. I even managed to spot a Banksy artwork on the side of a building further down the road, which I got incredibly excited about!
The last thing was a night tour of Alcatraz Prison, which meant getting on another boat (this time I was more appropriately dressed!). The tour was an audio tour, and we had been told to just follow the route explained by the "tour guide", but most of us ended going off on our own. It was interesting reading the stories of prisoners in such a remote prison. At one point they shut all the cell doors, and I can't imagine what it was like to be a new prisoner there and hear that noise and know that you now have no freedom. I couldn't help feeling like I was on the set of Orange is the New Black though! Even today, 56 years after the prison closed its doors to prisoners, there are many signs of the prisoners that lived their lives here. Listening and reading the prisoners stories was fascinating, yet terrifying, and especially reading about the escape attempts really shows the courage they had to have one taste of freedom.
Day 4 was, unfortunately, our last day in SF. We spent the morning in the bay area (which was a little too tacky and touristy compared to the rest of the city), eating donuts and eating (quite a few) tasters in the Ferry Building. The Ferry Building was the best part of the bay area: filled with stalls full of food and tasters, I could have spent hours browsing the stalls, but we were limited in time as we had to head back, pack and ready ourselves for the drive down the coast in the morning. The rest of the day was spent browsing shops and doing the usual touristy things.
This was originally posted on Adventure Bottled
Want More From Me?
Published by Iona Moss