After an unforgivably long absence from the travel blogging realm, I’m back from a fun and MUCH needed long weekend away in San Francisco!
If you haven’t been keeping up with my life (I don’t blame you, its been extremely boring), my past eight months have consisted of 80+ job applications, 3 interviews, and 0 big girl job. Safe to say, a weekend away was JUST what I needed.
Background on the trip: My boyfriend, Korey, went to San Francisco for business at the beginning of the week and wanted his brother, Kason, and I to join him at the end of his work week for a fun-filled weekend (and we didn’t disappoint!) Planning the trip consisted of many group Facebook messages, texts, emails, and the occasional Instagram DM with stunning pics from travel bloggers to vamp up our excitement.
Thursday April 7
The plan was to meet Korey in San Francisco on Thursday. Kason wanted to take off work the least amount of time possible and flew in Thursday night. Since I am, for all intents and purposes, unemployed, I flew in that morning and got to the Airbnb around 9:30am, yay for time change and an entire day to explore a dazzling new city!
After walking 15 miles (yes, we walked 15 miles, I have no money and Korey is all about logging those steps, so we loved it) we saw so much of the city!
What started as a hunt for brunch (and eventually lunch because we couldn’t decide on a place), we walked 3 miles to a pizza place, Hole in the Wall Pizza. If you’re in a pinch for time and in that area, its pretty good pizza, however, if you’re looking for an amazing pizza place in San Fran, this isn’t the one for you.
It worked out for us because it was in the direction of Presidio Park, where one of my favorite artists, Andy Goldsworthy (don’t worry, I don’t expect you to know of him), has multiple art installations!
|Andy Goldsworthy, "Wood Line," 2011.|
"I am not a performer but occasionally I deliberately work in a public context. Some sculptures need the movement of people around them to work." -Andy Goldsworthy
Goldsworthy works ephemerally, some of his work doesn’t even last for more than a few minutes. This particular installation was created with large tree trunks laid end to end along a path between the trees in Presidio. The back and forth path of the logs and the shadows cast from the tall trees easily played on the imagination. Moving through the piece, each time we looked back from where we had come the installation gave us a new image, like it itself had moved. As we walked, “Tree Line” slithered along with us. I absolutely loved this piece and am so glad Korey walked 4 miles to get there with me (I think he enjoyed it too!)
As we walked through Presidio to another Goldsworthy installation we realized there were trails running throughout the park, and one that led to the Golden Gate Bridge!! Since I had yet to see the bridge, we took off down the most direct path to the bridge after stopping by Goldsworthy’s “Spire”.
|Interacting with art may be one of my most favorite things!|
|Andy Goldsworthy, "Spire," 2008|
|National Cemetery overlooking the bay!|
|View from the cliffs!|
Side Note: San Francisco’s public transportation is expensive! ($4 for a bus ticket! Yikes!) And the subway only runs on the east side of the city, so we opted for an Uber, which was our main form of transportation from that point onward). Taking the Uber back to Civic Center to catch the subway back to our Airbnb we hunted for dinner. I say hunted because I was hangry and irrationally indecisive (completely different from my normal indecisiveness). We settled for a sushi place we found in a cool, hipster grocery store called The Market. Inside it sold groceries, had a café, and the quaint sushi bar we ate at; it was perfect!
Kason’s flight was delayed (boo!) but he eventually made it to the Airbnb and our crew was complete and ready to take San Francisco by storm early the next morning!
Friday April 8
First thing on the agenda: Brunch (obviously!) We ate at Plow and it DID NOT disappoint! We ended up walking there from the Civic Center subway station, which we immediately regretted. We walked up LOTS of STEEP streets, got lost, but eventually ran into a local taking a break from her morning workload. She was walking around the block and was so kind to help us with directions.
We finally found Plow and got coffee at a nearby coffee shop
while we waited! Seriously, Plow was SOOOO good and I’m so sad I forgot to take
a picture of our yummy food before we devoured it!
|Plow was on the corner of Texas Street!!|
|Coffee Shop across the corner from plow (the baristas were super pretentious, just a heads up)|
Because we knew we had to be at the dock for the tour that evening we started the day in the Marina District.
|Columns at the Palace of Fine Arts|
|I loved this! Not that you can tell or anything ;)|
|Dainty details at Palace of Fine Arts!|
|View of Alcatraz from our walk to Fisherman's Wharf!|
Lunch was what you expect from a place hustling and bustling with tourists, over priced and over rated, but it sustained us for the time being.
After lunch, with time to spare, we rented bikes and biked back toward the Golden Gate Bridge (Kason had yet to see it).
The fog was SO thick that day you couldn’t
see the bridge at all and when we got to the bridge, bikes weren’t allowed due
to fog and foot traffic.
In these circumstances it’s the journey, not the
destination, and biking on the bay with these two hooligans was all sorts of
|Kason contemplating where the Golden Gate Bridge went... (you should be able to see it in the background, but fog)|
|Thick thick fog at the GGB|
|Yeah, we look like tourists (sorry not sorry)|
|View of Alcatraz from the Ferry|
|Alcatraz from the ferry with San Fran in the background|
The audio tour was very well done; they have different voice over actors for different inmates and prison guards.
Touring the prison while
the sun was setting added another component to the tour, making it even
The audio tour covered attempted escapes, successful escapes, an
inmate uprising, and other aspects of the prison. We were taken down the main
cellblocks, including solitary confinement cells, the library, cafeteria, and
The hospital was by far the creepiest part of the tour. I got
the heebie jeebies walking through the rooms and reading informational posters
about psychotic inmates who stayed up there.
Walking back down to the dock in
the dark black fog was eerie. We couldn’t even see the lights of the city at
times when the thicker fog would roll through. Overall, I would recommend the
night tour! It was definitely worth the extra bucks to experience so much more!
For dinner we got pizza from Pizzeria Delfina, this is where
you want to go if you want some yummy Neapolitan pizza in the city.
|That audio tour life >>>|
|As the sun went down the lighting in the main cell block changed with the natural light.|
|Alcatraz lighthouse. Did you know it was the first lighthouse on the west coast?!|
|Kason and I outside Alcatra-ra-razzzzz, notice downtown San Fran in the background through dense fog!|
|Operating room in the Alcatraz hospital (the lack of overhead lighting didn't help the creepy setting)|
|There we go, being tourists again!|
Tip: A lot of restaurants there have a weird hostess system, instead of giving your name to someone who works there, you just write it down yourself on a list with the number in your party. It took us a while to figure this out.
Saturday April 9
As the brunch athletes that we are, we decided to hit up brunch a second morning in a row! This time at a super crunchy farm to table place called Outerlands.
Then we were off to the Muir Woods!
Getting to the Muir Woods was something we had planned. We talked about renting a car for the day, or figuring out a bus that went there. In the end we settled for an Uber. With three of us, it wasn’t too expensive once it was split. A 40-minute drive from brunch, which was in South San Francisco, took us to the Muir Woods. Entry fee is $10 for adults and parking is limited (another reason we chose an Uber).
The Muir woods were fantastical. A main boardwalk path runs through the National Park with other unpaved trails leading from it. After talking with someone in the gift shop we chose a 3.7 mile hike that boasted gorgeous views of the ocean. Again, it was a foggy, rainy day and no view of the ocean was to be seen.
The fog made the forest come alive. I felt as if we were on a quest in Middle Earth, or some other enchanted land. With the mist and the fog and the tall trees it took everything I had to not let my imagination run away completely. We trekked through mud and rain, over cliffs and rivers, and loved every second of it!
|Not twinning (as much) in this picture|
Next on the agenda (much to my begging) we walked across the Golden Gate Bridge.
This was one of those activities that is awesome to say
you’ve done, but that day with high blustering winds and down pouring rain, I
somehow convinced Korey and Kason to make the most miserable walk of the
weekend. They complied and there was no complaining to be had as we crossed the
bridge as quickly as my little legs would take us.
|Right before we walked across the bridge, can you tell I'm already frozen?!|
On the other side of the bridge, thoroughly drenched and shivering from the cold (or was that just me?) we found ourselves at the Painted Ladies.
Alamo Square is a small park where the Painted Ladies partly line one edge. Actually, all of the houses immediately lining the park are gorgeous, I’d recommend taking them all in if you have the time and desire. You will know where the Painted Ladies are because all the tourists will be pointing their phones in that direction (again for the gram). If you’re lucky enough, you may even catch a whisper of the Full House theme song playing over someone’s phone speakers (thankfully we weren’t “those” people.) The Painted Ladies were fun to see and it was interesting to converse over which was our favorite (mine was the blue one!)
That evening we spent in the Airbnb. After weathering the elements all day/weekend and walking our tired feet off, we couldn’t be bothered to get out and find a fun, new place to eat, so we ordered pizza! Third time in one weekend, no complaints!
Sunday 10 April
We decided to hit up brunch one last time (we have a problem, and we aren’t going to apologize for it). But we stayed close to our Airbnb so there was less rush getting to the airport. We decided on a place called Big Joe’s! The owner’s daughter (maybe 7 or 8 years old) helped seat guests and the whole place had a local diner feel (probably because it is the local diner). Many people came in and were called by name and sat at what seemed like their usual place at the bar. It made us feel like locals on our last day in town!
We spent the rest of the morning finishing laundry and packing. If you have never stayed in an Airbnb, DO IT!!! Meeting locals, living like a local while you’re there, having access to a kitchen and washer/dryer (depending on the listing) are all pros to the Airbnb experience. We lucked out with an AMAZING Airbnb location (right off the subway) and had great hosts who left us a list of local restaurants to try, among other things.
This weekend was so fun for me. I loved traveling with Korey and Kason (seriously both of them are such fun and positive people you CAN NOT have a bad time when you are with them!) I am so humbled that Korey wanted me along for an otherwise bro trip! This experience reminded me, yet again, how blessed the past 6 months have been (it's seriously hard to forget y’all). I know, I know, ending a travel post bragging on my boyfriend will probably be looked down upon, but I can’t help it. Traveling with him and Kason just hit home for me even harder how thankful I am for Korey’s family and how welcoming and kind they have been to me. The same goes for all of his friends I’ve met the past 6 months who make me feel like part of the group and genuinely want to get to know me. While it is easy to focus on how stressful my job hunt has been, I can not overlook the abundance of community God has blessed me with through Korey! I can’t wait for our next adventure!