Just before I left the US a friend and I made a quick weekend visit to San Francisco which once again left me wondering why I bother flying any further than California. I doubt next time I will.
Cliche tourist activities included riding cable cars and checking out Fisherman’s Wharf, where we could also spy Alcatraz. We hiked up one of the city’s steepest hills and then wound down the world’s crookedest street. The next day after seeing The Painted Ladies (pictured above) we sifted through vintage stores on Haight Street; which happens to be the birthplace of the hippie movement.
It was a weekend that seemed to be full of burgers, as we dug into pounds of meat from The Burger Bar in Union Square (plus a phenomenal Brown Cow milkshake) and the Californian fast food institution In-N-Out. It was also filled with great coffee from organic microroasters; Blue Bottle Coffee, and from my friend’s Dad. There were also some fantastic baked goods from Icing On The Cake Bakery in Los Gatos and I got to experience my first authentic taqueria as well!
On the last day we headed up into the mountains to see the gigantic redwood trees at the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park where, after being wowed by a tree the size of the Statue Of Liberty and the joy of being immersed in nature again after living in cities for 12 months, I discovered the wonders of the brilliantly coloured, and quite large, Banana Slug.
Then it was off to San Francisco International Airport to catch a late flight back to Chicago, and the reality of leaving the country in just under a week. The American Airlines terminal has recently been renovated and it was probably the nicest airport terminal I’ve waited in whilst in the United States, with a few shops and eateries, nice public restrooms and a little museum area which at the time was featuring something about records and music.
While I got to see a lot of the city, I’m sure there’s plenty I missed, and I’d definitely love to spend more time in both San Francisco and The Bay Area as it was one of my favourite places I visited during my year in the States. Next time…