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Travelogue: San Francisco

July 2012
Where We Stayed:  San Francisco Marriott Union Square

I would go back to San Francisco in a heartbeat. It was my favorite leg of the vacation and it’s such an extraordinarily unique city. I’ve never seen anything quite like it – the landscape (HILLS!), the culture, the weather, you name it, San Francisco puts its own spin on it.

On our first day we took the world’s worst bus tour. I am normally a big fan of hop-on-hop-off bus tours but this was on horrendous. Leo, our tour guide, was the most obnoxious human specimen to walk the planet. His voice was loud, he made countless sexist jokes (“You women are probably here in San Francisco to spend your husbands’ money!”), and if he made one cheesy joke, he made a thousand. It was just awful.

We took another tour the next day which was 1000% better. It’s all a matter of what tour guide you get, I swear. Here are some more random thoughts on SF.

  • Union Square has the best Macy’s I have ever seen. It beats NYC’s and Chicago’s, hands down.
  • SF was so, so cold! Southern California was sunny and in the 80s. San Francisco was sunny/cloudy/foggy/WINDY and in the low 60s. As the famous quote goes, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”
  • Alcatraz was delightfully creepy. Sheesh. My mom summed it up by saying it was “bleak.”
  • I went souvenir crazy in San Francisco. Magnets and coffee cups and Christmas ornaments, oh my!
  • If you live in SF and do not have a car, you have no reason to be overweight. I cannot imagine how thin you could get with all of the uphill walking. And those hills are HILLS.
  • Lombard Street (with its 8 hairpin turns) was great. I loved it. Beautiful homes and landscaping – and such a unique street to see.
  • Ghirardelli Square was nice, but I don’t quite understand the frenzied appeal of the Ghirardelli store. I mean, you can buy the chocolate at your local Target store… so why are we all going crazy over it in SF?
  • Rode a cable car. Not a fan. I think my experience was lessened because I was the last one on the car and had to essentially hang off the end, which was a little unnerving.
  • Had the best corn flake french toast of my life. I am STILL thinking about that breakfast.
  • Alamo Square was precious. The Painted Ladies are so impressive and I couldn’t help but think of my childhood memories involving Full House.
  • Haight & Ashbury was Hippie Central. Sweet jesus, the hippies. I am reminded of the South Park bit…”Hippies! Hippppppies! All they do is smoke pot all day and smell bad!”

And lastly I want to give huge thanks to my Mom, who made my trip possible. I had the greatest time and a “big California adventure” has been on my bucket list for years — it was a dream come true. Thank you momma, I love you to infinity and beyond!

 I have wanted to see the Golden Gate Bridge in person since, well, as far back as I can remember. It’s such an iconic American symbol – and it’s bright red (technically, International Orange). What’s not to like? I watched The Bridge a few years ago, which is a devastatingly sad documentary about suicides off the bridge, and I’ll never look at the Golden Gate the same way again.

It’s a beautiful and commanding structure and I think the photos were made better by the addition of the fog. Summertime in San Francisco is foggy foggy foggy, if nothing else. And cold. But more on that in another post. The Marin side of the bridge was sunny and the SF side was foggy – and both were incredibly-oh-my-god-I’m-going-to-blow-over WINDY.