A straight flight from London to Oakland and in just under 10hours there I was in the U.S.A. Now I’ve heard Oakland can be a scary place, but when you’re adrenalin is running and you know you’ve got an awesome 3months coming up, nothing seems scary. From Oakland airport I headed straight over to San Francisco to stay at The Green Tortoise Hostel.
Firstly, I just want to say what an awesome hostel The Green Tortoise was! Perfect location, great atmosphere, cool staff, and most importantly … SO much free food! (I’m talking breakfasts and dinner!) So after the basic chit chats with fellow backpackers and throwing all awkwardness out the window, I’d made two new buddies who I would be spending the next few days hanging out exploring San Fran with.
Hiring bicycles for $25 for 24hours seemed like a great way to get around and see the sights the city had to offer. Little did I know how hilly San Francisco was! None the less, we cycled past Fishermans Wharf and The Golden Gate Bridge where we stopped and took a few quick snaps of the beautiful views. Back on our bikes we cycled over to Lands End. (This is where it got very hilly, and I will admit, I had to get off my bike and push it up hill.) Parking up we hopped off our bikes and admired the incredible views overlooking the city, before hiking through Lands End and stopping for a well-earned coffee and picnic. After what seemed like only 10minutes we were back on the bikes, maps out and on our way to the next tourist hot spot, Golden Gate Park. We cycled through Golden Gate Park and headed over to the Painted Ladies. The Painted Ladies are a famous row of 7 houses painted in 3 or more colours, and of course, where Mrs Doubtfire lived!
By this time we had cycled well over 20miles and I was totally K.O’d. Time to head back to the hostel where we met with free dinner. PERFECT. Believe it or not, that was day 1 over, and a lot of sights ticked off my list.
Day 2 we ditched the bikes and decided it was time for some hiking. After meeting someone new in the hostel who had a car and was heading over to Muir Woods we decided that was a great idea and we would tag along. Now the drive up to Muir Woods was a beautiful little trip in itself and hiking through the woods was also great. However we were slightly conscious of time as we wanted to pack our day full of sightseeing. So after a couple of hours we jumped back in the car and headed over to Mission Alley to see the beautiful Art Murals that decorate the streets, before eating some tacos. Nom. The date on day 2 happened to be 04/20… A very popular ‘holiday’ in California, but especially San Francisco. We grabbed some beers and headed over to Delores Hill where we met another group from the hostel and sat watched the craziness of 4/20. My favourite had to be seeing a man walking a miniature Chihuahua and his pet duck. Yes, PET DUCK. Not only was he walking his pet duck on a lead, but the poor duck was also wearing a diaper and little booties. This is when I realised I love America.
By my third day in San Francisco I had my first hangover and boy was it a tough day. The day consisted mainly of shopping and eating. We went to the famous Pier 39 at Fishermans Wharf as we knew this was the best place to eat crab. I’m a big fan of seafood and had no complaints with the food this day. After eating our body weight in food we strolled along the Pier to go and see the seals. Very cute and totally not what I expected, possibly 100, if not more, seals sunbathing on the docks at the Pier. Totally chilled and not a care in the world that they were being watched and snapped by hundreds of tourists. Very cute & a great way to help cure a hangover. None the less, it was still time for an early night and to catch up on lost sleep.
It was time for the big day, myself and 3 others were heading over to Yosemite National Park, a 5am start, picnics packed, and a pillow to sleep through the 5hour drive and I was ready to get on my way. After what seemed like a life time of driving (not by me of course, I slept most the way. Standard.) we made it to Yosemite. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, I had good company and I had the most amazing waterfalls to admire. I would recommend anyone who heads over to San Fran to take at least a day trip over to Yosemite Park. If you can get a group of you together and rent a car it works out way cheaper than going with a tour company, and of course you can be more flexible with time and what you want to do. We head a great day and it’s definitely still one of my highlights of my U.S.A trip.
My final day in San Francisco was spent on my own as my friends had all left to go home, start work, or just on to the next travel destination. Exploring on your own is not a bad thing, have a bit of confidence and go and see whatever it is you really want to do. For me on my last day I just wanted to walk, see where I ended up and find some new places. This was a great idea to begin with, walking through China Town and down Market Street. Unfortunately I took a wrong turning somewhere and found myself in a rather scary area surrounded by people begging me for money and wolf whistling. I quickly made it back over to the main street and found the Farmers Market I was originally looking for. Fresh fruit, heavenly. After the Farmers Market I decided to wait in line for over an hour to ride the famous San Francisco cable car around the city, where it took me to Fishermans Wharf. I went to see the seals again, grabbed a coffee, bought a cap ($3 – bargain!) and started the long and very hot walk back to the hostel for my last night in San Fran.
My time in San Francisco was full of activities and sight seeing. Although I was exhausted by the time I left I really felt like I got to see so much of the city and I honestly loved the place. San Francisco is on my list to visit again one day in the future for sure!
Can you think of anywhere I missed out on visiting? I’m always looking for new recommendations, so don’t be afraid to shoot me an email or Instagram message!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the read!