Final Destination: Out and About in San Francisco


Still not feeling particularly well but our minds at peace from the walk around the beach in Carmel-by-the-sea T. and I had a relaxed drive to Santa Cruz, not that far from Monterey. This is where we would also spend the night.

I don’t have very much to say about Santa Cruz, because we checked into the Continental Inn in the early afternoon, grabbed something to eat and were both - pills not doing their job anymore - hit by body ache and headache. Awesome. The rest of the day was spent in the motel room (at least a reasonable one) and crawling down to Trader Joe’s for fresh fruit (the only thing we were craving). We were miserable. 

The next morning - it was Thursday - we didn’t feel any better after having slept for 12 hours or more. And here we were, seriously speaking about driving back, down south. Would it make any sense to go to San Francisco being this sick? We spent the morning in bed and had to make a decision before noon - when we would have to check out. It’s so unfortunate that such things always get in the way when you have limited time together.

Long story short, we both would have been so mad at ourselves if we had not gone to SF as planned, especially because we were not more than one and a half hours away. Ibuprofen ahoy - and we were back on the road. We hung out at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk for an hour or so, but that’s all that we saw of the city.

We arrived in SF and all of a sudden, I was super excited to be there. We definitely made the right decision. Checked into our hotel and having paid a ridiculous amount of money for parking (welcome to the most expensive city in the states), we decided the best way to get around in two days, given our physical state, was the bus and playing the real tourist with a hop-on hop-off bus tour. We didn’t care. That way we could at least cover essential ground, although this would still mean only scratching the surface. But you gotta make the best of the circumstances you’re confronted with. 

We first, however, had to walk down to Fisherman’s Wharf to purchase our tickets. I caught some stunning scenery on the way there; the light was perfect.

We were probably huffing and puffing with every step, as walking felt like a whole round of sprinting, but we were happy nonetheless. 

How can this not put your mind and soul at peace? I could have stood there, watching, until the sun had set. 

Thirty minutes later we found ourselves sitting on the top deck of a bus to see the city glow by night. 

Of course, this is probably the sight everyone wants to get a picture of. 

I have a tendency to be super excited to see things beforehand but then, once I am standing in front of them, just think: Hey, that’s cool! However, it’s also sort of normal then. Does that make sense? I guess not but that’s the only way I can describe it.

I managed to get my happy face on even though I was freezing cold (yes, we were NOT prepared for these temperatures, mostly caused by the wind). 

We stopped for a few minutes to get our snapshots. 

Hey there, San Fran, nice to see you, finally!

Completely exhausted, we got back to our hotel around 10 pm, fingers crossed we’d feel better the next day. 

The next morning we indeed felt slightly more alive and fueled with with blueberry bagels, cream cheese and … peppermint tea. 

We then started our day tour around town. 

Of course, we saw the typically Victorian style houses. Gotta love them - but they are SO expensive (google prices for houses in the city, just for the heck of it). 

Feeling the hippie vibes? 

And here we had our bridge again. 

When we went over, the wind was so strong I was afraid we’d be blown off our seats on the upper deck (we survived, just as a footnote). 

We happily snapped away on the other side of Mrs. Golde Gate. 

The afternoon we spent wandering around town, re-parking our car and simply taking it all in. It was a low-key day and we took things easy (we kind of had too). But what’s the point of rushing through a city, trying to squeeze in as much as possible, anyway? 

The city is hilly, undoubtedly. Getting around by bike or going for a run is certainly more challenging than in other cities. People keep fit here!

Although San Francisco has its charm and living there would be a ton of fun - I can only imagine -, I was a little bit disappointed because it appeared rather dirty. Compared to many European cities, American ones always seem to be a little dirtier (at least my perception, you’re welcome to prove me wrong), but I was surprised how much trash could be found on the streets here (of course not everywhere, but in certain areas). 

I am not saying this city isn’t great, by no means. Yet, I didn’t click with it as much as this had been the case with other cities. Fair enough I think. 

Our bus tickets also included a visit at Madame Tussaud’s.  

So we fooled around and had a bit of fun. 

Peace, love and whatnot. Naturally (see the German import? I mean the car!).

We met some famous people along the way, traveled back in time…

…and kicked some noses. 

My tennis pro had to get his picture taken with Serena. 

I for one pulled up my personal pose with this athlete. 

I just had to.

I also spoke to Steven…

…while Mr. T. and E. T. went on their adventures.  

It’s all about the attitude. 

When we left the wax museum, the sun was about to set and Fisherman’s Wharf was glowing. 

It was getting real chilly. The climate is for sure different than in southern California. 

We made one last stop that day, at the Buena Vista. 

My landlady Annelie recommended this one to us, specifically the Irish Coffee (I knew this would be much needed and warm us up in an instant). 

As we crossed the street, we spotted one of the famous cable cars. 

Irish feel; I got a wee bit nostalgic when entering this place. It’s been around for a while and it made me think back to my American History lessons, Irish immigrants and so on. 

Man, this bad boy doesn’t look big but was quite strong. We felt the burn in our throats. A good burn!

We met a women and her son from Hawaii with whom we were sharing the table (because the place was packed) and talked to them for a while, which was quite refreshing, while we were snacking on our sweet potato fries. 

The day was coming to a close. 

We took a cab back to the hotel - tired, not feeling well physically, but being so grateful for our time and experiences together. Coming up here was worth every second and I would love to give San Francisco another shot - feeling great the next time, hopefully!

Share your thoughts: Have you been to San Fran before? Was your perception of the city different than you’d imagined it?