California Part 1: I left my heart in San Francisco

My first travel blog! Yay!

Initially I thought I would make “a” blog about my California adventure. Two hours later I realized I have only gotten through the first 2 days…whoops.

This trip to California was quite a big one for me. It was the first major trip I have taken in years (yes, I travel a lot but usually for no more than 3-4 days at a time), it was also the first big trip that I planned and researched without the help of any kind of travel agency, my first vacation with my boyfriend, Rob, the first trip I had a fancy camera to take photos with, and the last trip of my 20’s(!!!) as my 30th birthday fell on our last Saturday in Cali.

So it was a big deal! I spent a PAINSTAKING amount of time preparing for it, I always wanted to drive down the California coast but had no idea just how much there was to see! Even after spending 10 full days there I feel like we only covered about half of what there was to do, but it was hands down one of the best trips of my life. I had a lot of people ask about the adventure, and I have always wanted to do a travel blog so I thought I would kill 2 birds with 1 stone. Hope you enjoy!

 

San Francisco

We started out in San Francisco. As I mentioned above, my travel companion was my significant other Rob…

Rob1

Yes, he is as mischievous as he looks..

He was flying out of Pittsburgh and I Philadelphia, so we arranged to get on the same connecting flight in Atlanta. I am a nervous flyer so it was nice to have him on the second part of the trip with me, even nicer that he brought sleeping pills to knock me out(otherwise I coulda gone all Kristen Wiig in Bridesmaids). Our flight was delayed a few hours but we had no plans that night anyhow, so around 11:30pm PST we finally pulled up to our hostel in San Francisco. Yes, I said hostel. Lets get one thing straight here, I looked on Expedia for weeks, the cheapest, centrally located hotel I could find was ~$200/night. This was $65/night. Sure it had a shared bathroom, and when I wanted to shower I had to wear flip flops like I was in the dorms again, but to me it was worth it. If you are cheap like me and plan on visiting SF its the Park Hotel, I recommend it!

The next morning we set off to tour the city! As the hostel was located in Union Square everything was walking distance for the most part.

Chinatown

Chinatown

Kids dancing to the jazz music outside of the Ferry Building

Kids dancing to the jazz music outside of the Ferry Building

Dang things are everywhere

Dang things are everywhere

Inside of the Ferry Building

Inside of the Ferry Building

Indulging in some Oysters

Indulging in some oysters

We had signed up for a tour of Muir Woods that day which left from the Ferry Building, so after grabbing some food and snacks we boarded a bus out to the woods.

Quick photo stop at the Golden Gate Bridge

Quick photo stop at the Golden Gate Bridge

Muir Woods was AWESOME. There were plenty of options to wonder off the beaten path and do bigger hikes, but we decided to keep it simple and spent around 90 minutes or so on the trail just wandering around and taking pictures.

Just a small town boy wonderin the woods..

Just a small town boy wanderin’ the woods..

Muir 2

Muir 3

Feelin tiny

Feelin’ small

Muir 5

Muir 6

To put these things to scale...that super tiny thing on the right is me..

To put these things to scale…that super tiny thing on the right is me..Shoutout to my Jansport backpack that I’ve had since High School, I knew it would come in handy one day!

Muir 8

My first slow exposure shot..

My first slow exposure shot..

After the tour ended we boarded a ferry at Sausalito to take us back into the city. We didn’t get a chance to stay long as we had dinner plans that evening but it looked like such a cute town! Next time…

View of Sausalito from the ferry ride back

View of Sausalito from the ferry ride back

At night we met up with my friend Cristina and her boyfriend BJ. Now just wanna frame this for anyone who is unaware, but CC and me are like peas and carrots. We met in middle school and have been close ever since, so I was OVERLY excited to reunite. She picked a delicious German restaurant in the city for us to meet and we ate ourselves into a schnitzel oblivion. Afterwards we went back to their apartment for a few drinks which quickly turned into all of us falling asleep(the 30’s man..what can you do?).

The next morning we met up with CC & BJ for brunch in the Mission area and went on a self-guided tour of the murals. I am a major art geek and I adore some good street art so this was really fun. CC brought a map indicating where the more popular murals were to be found, but it seemed like they were on every street!

Mission 4

Spotted: BJ sneaking in a pastry

Mission1

Mission2

Mission3

This guy..

Mission 5

Mission6

Mission 7

Mission8

Mission 9

Mission 10

Some of these were REAL weird

Mission11

Muir 12

Muir13

Muir 14

Muir 15

After the Mission we headed down to Alcatraz to take a tour. To sum up the experience in three words: interesting, windy, creepy. Originally we were talking about doing a night tour..glad that didn’t happen. Let’s just say I scare easily.

Alca1

Alca2

Alca3

Alca4

After the tour we headed back to the hotel to get changed for dinner. But before stuffing our faces, Rob was insistent that we stop and take photos of the Bay Bridge at night. It has a cool LED light show, and now that we were armed with a nice camera and a tripod, we set out to take some cool slow exposure shots.

Bridge

Bridge2

Bridge3

We then met CC & BJ out at a DELICIOUS Italian restaurant called Flour + Water where CC surprised me with early birthday candles and some fun hats..

Birthday

For only having 2 full days in San Francisco we had a blast and made a ton of memories. It also warmed my Sunny heart to be able to spend time with CC & BJ have them meet Rob.

We called it an early night as the next day we had to wake up early to get the rental car to start our trek down the coast.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my travel blog as we take on the rest of the West Coast on Highway Rt 1!