Hols part 1 – San Francisco

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Last week I (reluctantly) returned from a fab break away to the USA with E. I’m now settling back into my routine and trying to get motivated for the gym again after all my indulging!

We had 2 stops on our trip, Boston and San Francisco. With just 3 days in each city it was pretty packed trying to fit everything in but we did manage most of the stuff we’d planned.  This is just a brief blog post on San Fran and I’ll throw up a short one on Boston soon too 🙂

I always like to stay somewhere pretty central when I’m on holidays. I know you can save money by staying a bit further out but I reckon by the time you’ve paid taxi / train fares into the city each day, coupled with the convenience factor, it’s just not worth it for me. We stayed in the  Parc55 Wyndham Hotel  which was right in the midst of the action in Union Square. It wasn’t an overly pricey or fancy hotel but was A LOT better than many hotels I’ve seen in New York on previous holidays. We had a really spacious room which was regularly cleaned and the hotel had a great bar and restaurant too. I’d definitely stay there again if I was to go back.

I had my Lonely Planet guide book well in advance and knew exactly what I wanted to do and see in SF. I wasn’t all that sure what to expect when we arrived as in how big the city would be etc but was pleasantly surprised to see that although very hilly, it was very walkable. Lucky I bought my runners as we walked the legs off ourselves!

We went to the Embarcadero and saw the Ferry Building.

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It’s a foodie’s paradise in here…. Two long hallways full of all kinds of food being sold and samples being given out – heaven! We walked all the way up past the piers where they were setting up for the Americas boating event and along to Pier 39 at Fisherman’s Wharf.

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This is a tourist trap with plenty of food and drink options wherever you look.

Here we hopped on a bus to Ghirardelli Square which is a small little plaza of chocolate shops. Ghirardelli chocolates are HUGE over there so we had to indulge 🙂

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That evening we had booked on the night time trip to Alcatraz. We boarded the boat at about 6.30 and off we set to Alcatraz Island.

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These evening tours book out months in advance and I could see why as you get some fabulous views of the sun setting over the Golden Gate Bridge and great views of the city from the island too as dusk turns to darkness.

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We did the audio tour which lasted almost 2 hours. It was really good, past inmates and prison guards talked you though everything as you walked around the prison. It’s hard to imagine what it was like to be imprisoned there and yet be so close to San Fran that you can practically hear the city noise.

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The following day we cycled the Golden Gate Bridge. We were very lucky weather wise the whole time we were there – I’ve heard so many people say all they saw was fog but we had 3 days of sunshine, which made our cycle even better.  We got up nice and early and after a few teething problems where I forgot how to use the bike’s gears while cycling uphill we were flying!

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There are such amazing views of the bay from the bridge.

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When we got to the other side it was a nice downhill ride into Sausalito, the most fabulous little town. I had heard of this place before going and I expected it to be a small place that we could grab a bite to eat but the place was amazing. So much money here! Loads of massive houses overlooking the water, lots of fab restaurants and bars too.

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So we stopped off and had lunch and a few drinks in a gorgeous little place jutting out over the water and also did a mini wine tasting experience in one of the small shops as we didn’t have the time to get to Napa to do the real thing.

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After all that we got the ferry back to SF… a great way to spend the day and a must do for anyone going there.

That evening we had our big treat evening. I’d looked up some nice places to eat and drink and so we started off with drinks in  Top of The Mark . We had a lovely couple of cocktails overlooking the city while the sun went down.

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Then we had booked dinner in a pretty upmarket place called 5a5 Steak Lounge .

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E must’ve eaten about 6 steaks in the days we were away! This evening, given the fact we were going to a steakhouse I decided I had to get one too. I went for the 12 oz rib eye boneless steak and went all out and got a side of marble potatoes which were served with bacon and cheese all over them… nice and healthy eh?!

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The food was fab here as was the décor and staff. We had one drink in the restaurant bar afterwards and that was us done in after a long day.

Our last day was another beautiful day. We went and did a  bit of shopping first in the Westfield centre right by our hotel. This is a great shopping centre, it had all the places we wanted like Abercrombie, Hollister, Shoe Locker, American Eagle… and most importantly, Michael Kors!  I’d saved my bum off for this holiday and the one thing I wanted to buy myself was a Michael Kors handbag so I found the perfect one here… I adore it!

After lunch we hopped on the open top bus and got to see the rest of the city that we hadn’t made it by foot. We went through Golden Gate Park, Haight & Ashbury, across the Golden Gate Bridge again (WINDY!!!) and we hopped off to see the famous curvy street, Lombard Street and have a last walk around Chinatown and North Beach then back to the hotel before our hols were over.

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We had a nice treat on our walk home with a big chunk of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory – yum!
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I absolutely LOVED San Francisco. There was a buzz around the place so much to see and do here. It was a bonus that we got great weather as the day we were leaving the fog came down. The 49ers were playing the day we left and I also would’ve loved to get to Napa for wine tasting… another 2 days there would have been great. But for now I have added it to my “Would go back” list 🙂

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One thought on “Hols part 1 – San Francisco

  1. Pingback: San Jose to Napa Valley and back again… | Dave Comes To Life

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