Hey guys !
After my series of article about my trip to Roma (here is part 1, part 2 and part 3) as well as to the Vatican, I’m taking you to…California ! If you’ve been following me for a little while, you might know that I’m currently living in Monterey for my studies, therefore every weekend is an opportunity to discover new places.
My first road trip was to San Francisco, an amazing city. Let me share with you my discoveries and my pictures. Enjoy !
Day 1. West Auckland, Embarcadero, Chinese and Italian quarters & the Wharf
First of all, this is the Airbnb my friends and I stayed in. It was truly amazing, and reminded me of the house from the Charmed TV show. It was located in West Auckland, 5 minutes away from the BART, a train that can take you pretty much anywhere in the city. So house was huge, with a terrace, and a big TV screen – perfect to relax at night after long days spent walking.
After having put our stuff at the Airbnb, me and my friends took the BART to the Embarcadero stop and started walking around to find a place to eat. We ended up in the Chinese quarter and ate a delicious and very cheap (around $5) banh mì, a vietnamese sandwich made with carrots, cucumber, coriander and pickles notably. I had the vegetarian one with fried tofu, it was simply delicious !
We continued our walk after lunch and visited some shops as well as the oldest temple in the city, the Tin How temple. It was at the top of a small building, on 125 Waverly Place. The temple was really small with people in it working to make candles or other things. Then, we arrived in the Italian quarter where every restaurant was selling pizza – it smelled so good !
We continued to walk until the end of Stockton street and after a brief shopping stop at Ross and a coffee break at Starbucks – I gotta have my iced caramel macchiato with vanilla soy milk ! – we arrived at the Fisherman’s war and the harbor. It was a pretty cool place : bars and restaurants everywhere, big boats, music in the streets… We could even see Alcatraz from the wharf !
We decided to check out the Mecanic museum without having any idea of what it was, and we did good ! It was a place filled with old arcade games – such as Pacman – and you could play every game there for 0.25 to 0.50 cents ! Let’s just say this kept us busy for a while – I particularly recommend the ice hockey game, which is like fusball but of course with ice hockey !
We then check out the famous Lombard street, and it was worth it : the view from it was amazing even though it was crowded with tourists.
After a bit of thrift shopping, we stopped at a Mexican restaurant on Polk Street which was delicious – I had mushroom quesadillas… Divine, and really cheap ! Then we went back home, pretty tired of our first day (we walked just a bit less than 15km!).
Day 2. Saturday : Mission, Castro & Twin Peaks districts
After waking up around 9am on Saturday morning, we headed downtown with the BART again. We did some thrift shopping (again, I know) and a Starbucks break (yes !) in the morning, but it was soon time for lunch, so we decided to walk to the Mission district where the best Taqueria was supposed to be (and again, Mexican food ! I just can’t get enough, and you cannot pass of the offer to try the best restaurant either).
So we had lunch at Taqueria Cancun, 2288 Mission St, and it was indeed delicious ! I paid $8 if I remember correctly for the quesadillas which were massive ! I managed to finish it all, but with difficulty, and ended up not being able to eat anything for dinner ! So be prepared, you’ve been warned. Also, note that they only accept payment by cash. sorry, I don’t have any pictures of my food, I was just too hungry after all that walking and shopping… (such a hard life, I know).
After this huge meal, we definitely needed some time to chill so we headed to the Dolores Mission Park. It was huge, and crowded with people playing all sorts of games, having picnics, listening to music… One of them even brought her turtle ! It was such a cool atmosphere !
After we felt more rested, we decided to check out the Castro and Twin peaks districts. We stumbled upon some pretty amazing and colorful street art along the way. San Francisco is such an artsy-hipster city, I really fell in love with it !
We ended up on Haight Street, a wonderful street that is a lot like Camden town in London : colors everywhere, thrift shops, punk, rock and goth elements all over the shops… It was so different from what we had previously seen in SF !
After another 15km walked, we felt we deserved a treat and ended up by pure luck into an amazing bar called The Page, on Page street. The atmosphere was really British-y and retro, with a backroom where there were old books, a Pacman arcade game, a fusball and a pool table too. The pint of beer was $2 during happy hour, $3 otherwise for the cheapest ! The service was quick and efficient, the music was good… We really had a good night there ! the bartender even let us out with pizzas that my friends had bought at the place next to the bar (only the guys were able to eat something after the Cancun taqueria !) The only two negative points might be that it was too dark inside, and that they do not accept credit cards either (but there is an ATM in the bar though).
Day 3. Sunday, the end of the trip. The Golden Gate
Sunday arrived so quickly ! It was our last day in this amazing city. We packed our stuff and drove downtown to get some lunch after having cleaned the Airbnb. My friends tried the In’n’out burger next to the Wharf, but since they did not have a vegetarian option I went to Chipotle instead (my first time !). I had the burrito that I loaded with pretty much everything ; they even had a vegetarian option with marinated tofu which was delicious. As you notice, this weekend in SF was really all about Mexican food !
Anyway, after our lunch, we drove to see the last emblematic spot we still had not seen : the Golden Gate ! I was personally afraid that we would not be able to see it well because there is a lot of fog in SF, and on Sunday the weather was pretty grey and cold. But we were really lucky because there was not any fog, so we kind of went crazy with taking pictures and selfies in front of the bridge !
Unfortunately, it was time to back home to Monterey. We took the highway 101, which has a scenic view along the sea. It prolonged the beauty of the city a little while longer before getting back to our home… and our studies !
San Francisco was an amazing city to visit. It is huge, there is so much to see… Art is a really big part of its identity which gives it a truly alternative style compared to other cities. I really fell in love with it and was so grateful to visit it, especially since it was my first road trip ! Now keep an eye on my blog for the rest of my adventures : Monterey, Carmel, Santa Cruz, LA… And next weekend, I’m going to… Vegas, baby !