From the West Coast with Love – San Francisco Baby!
Ah I think I am in LOVE… with San Francisco.
We got to San Fran around 2pm on Wednesday afternoon. We were both exhausted from our days of travel and as sad as it is to say, we laid down in our hotel room a zoned out in front of the TV.. it wasn’t until about 5 pm that we emerged from our hotel into the cool evening air of San Fran and wandered in search of food. I had done a little brief research for something that I liked the look of, and lucky enough it was just around the corner in Chestnut Street. We went to a little place called Pacific Catch – I had coconut crusted prawns and some sweet potato fires. Yes this was naughty – it was all deep fried! I found the batter on the prawns too salty, so ended up pulling that off and just eating the prawns. The sweet potato fries were so good. To anyone concerned that my desire to eat healthy was going to stop me from experiencing some of what the US if famous for – don’t be. I am balancing it out and indulging where I choose. That is something that I have loved about this journey so far – you can actually travel and eat healthy, you just have to be prepared to plan a little and do some research, but I have been able to choose the times I want to “cheat” on what I feel is worth it.
Speaking of indulging.. I did some research on food that San Fran is famous for. Google told me that apparently they do great Milkshakes.. so off I searched for places to got get a Milk Shake – boy did I hit jackpot. Over at a cute little cafe on Baker St, towards Golden Gate Park, Chilli Pies and Ice Cream have created the Pie Shake. Yep, a pie shake. Literally it is a piece of pie and ice cream blended together. Ah-mazing. seriously – who thinks of that?? I loved that all their pies were homemade, using fresh, local ingredients and their ice cream is also using locally sourced organic ingredient. Since parking was such a difficult thing that night, Reg dropped me off, telling me he wanted something with Apple pie. The only option they had created is Green Chilli Apple Pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Shake. Amazing. I had Pear and Cranberry Almond Crumble with Lemon Cookie Ice Cream. Amazing. Brilliant, loved it, totally worth it.
Not surprisingly the next morning I was pretty flat. After a high dose of sugar, I often sink a little emotionally. Thats how I felt on Thursday morning. But we headed out into the crisp morning to hire bicycles. Reg had a few buildings he wanted to see on the east side of the City, and we wanted to see the bridge – and what a better way to get around town than on a bike.
MAN. It. Was. Tough. My bike fitness is nowhere near where it should be, or needs to be (given that I have a triathlon to do in March with a 20km hilly ride!). As much as I struggled uphill, I did thoroughly enjoy seeing the city this way, and got a lot more confident in riding on the road as a vehicle! Here are some snaps from our excursion..
Once we finished riding the bridge we headed into the park (via Bakers Beach) to look at some buildings..
So much to see, not enough time.. we get our bikes back to the hire place, walked quickly (as we could – there are some serious hills in San Fran!) back to our hotel to get ready for dinner down at Stanford with the beautiful Smallcombes and Welburns! Been about 12 months since we have seen all these wonderful people and it was so awesome to catch up!
On Friday we decided that we would jump on the ever-most touristy method of getting around town – the Sightseeing Hop-on, hop-off bus! We had discussed the night before with Rachel, that this is her favourite way to get around a city when you are not familiar with it. We had pre-planned where we wanted to go in the city, given that Reg had some buildings he wanted to see. We hopped off once we got into the Financial District and headed to the Ferry Building. We walked out the pier to see Bay Bridge and the happenings of the Port of San Francisco – not much was going on out there. Once inside the building it was like we entered a whole other world. The building was so full of amazing boutique stores that I think I could have spent all day in there browsing through the beautiful produce and products available.
After Reg dragged me out of the Ferry building we began our wander through the city, using the locations saved on google maps. In no time we came across a cafe that I had pinned called The Plant Organic Cafe. It did some beautiful meals, but it was only mid morning, so we weren’t ready for a meal.. They did a wonderful selection of fresh juices, but it was far too cold for juice.. so we opted for a cup of homemade Potato & Leek soup. It was delish and warmed me up just enough to brave the cool again. As we sat and drank our soup, Reg turned to me and said that the building we were in was one he was meant to be looking at – according to his map! We got outside and it wasn’t that impressive, so we moved on. We continued to follow the map, leading us to our next destination..we got onto a street name (which I can’t remember) and I told Reg that there was a cafe on this street that I had wanted to see! There were no buildings there to look at, even though the map said so.. Lightbulb moment – we were looking at the map I had made with cafe’s on it, not Reg’s buildings!! hehe… whoops!! So the journey kind of began again for us, but this time looking at buildings instead! 🙂
Believe it or not, I have begun to thoroughly enjoy looking at buildings with Reg. I am finally able to give a critical review, make comments, and ask questions that challenge his thinking.. it has become quite an interactive activity for us!
I like to do some research on the buildings so that I have something to tell/talk with Reg about – I had read that Wright was not the first choice architect for this building, but he was doing the Morris home in Sea Cliff. When Wright found out that someone else had been commissioned he confronted Morris – and the end result was that Wright was given the building brief to design! That little fact Reg didn’t know so I was happy with myself there. this building Wright also used as the trial for placing a spiral stair case in a square building.
We continued to wander and look at more buildings, until we got hungry of course! So we googled the closest Wholefoods and headed there to get some deliciousness in our bellies! We both opted for the Hot food Bar, since it was cold, having veg was heaps more appealing than salad!
Not sure at what point of the day we found the Scotch and Soda Store, but we were both so thrilled by this! It’a a super funky clothes shop. I wandered through the ladies section, holding back from picking anything up.. only to find that Reg was in the change room already.. so I headed off to pick out what I liked to try on! I made sure I looked at each piece with the rest of my wardrobe in mind, and also what i available at home. I chose one sweater, a little blue one. It reminds me of something my sister Jolie wears 🙂 * I can’t seem to get get my pic to upload.. will try later!
We jumped back on the bus at the end of the day with just one stop left to check out, just to be real tourists! Earlier in the day we had been told by a local that they would never go there, as if it doesn’t even exist. But we did it. We went to Pier 39 to check out to seals and have some famous Clam Chowder. No regrets there. Delish again! Something I have noted about America is that you get bread at every meal, complimentary! Way to make yourself full before dinner! It was only about 4:00pm at this stage, the sun was setting and it was cooling off even more!
We walked back to our hotel, at least this time we avoided the hills! Both of us were exhausted at this stage – I’m pretty sure I blogged.. about 8pm Reg was hungry again so we headed back out, just around the corner from our hotel was Chestnut Street. This time we walked much further than the 2 other times we had been down there and found that it had a treasure chest full of little shops, bars and restaurants – all open for our exploration. We chose to dine at a place called Blackwood. Turned out to be an amazing combination of American and Thai Cuisine. the scollops were devine!
That brings us to today – Saturday. This morning the alarm went off at 7am. It felt like about 4am. It was dark, cold and miserable out. We packed up our room and checked out early. We were going to have breakfast out and then check out some op shops. I had read the the Haight-Ashbury area was good for both, so we went that way. We parked on Haight Street and wandered down. It got weirder and odder as we went, to the point we were both uncomfortable so we got back in the car and re-planned our morning. We went to a church, St Mary’s Cathedral, Reg had wanted to see – turned out to be one of his 2 favourite buildings he saw in San Fran, so super glad that we did.
It. Was. Stunning.
Then because it was freezing and our morning hadn’t turned out as planned, we decided to head to Redding early… and so our road trip to Seattle began…
Ps. we are in Redding now – and its been “lightly” snowing. More like tiny shards of ice are falling from the sky, turning to water quick-smart!
Pps. I forgot to let you know how we have been going with working out. Winter kills it for me. We did a workout when we were in San Luis Obsipo, HIIT that involved lots of burpees, squats, push ups etc. And our run in Monterey. We considered the Bike riding and walking enough while in San Fran. To be honest, it hasn’t been as easy to include it as I thought.. Hopefully we will be able to get some in while in Redding – Reg has just been doing lots of Push ups. I remembered this morning I should be practicing my handstands! I might clear some room for that tonight!