So If You’re Going… to San Francisco…

My autumn resolution is to fall back into my summertime habit of updating consistently! It is a bit harder to do with school on top of work, but I can do it!

Last week I returned to Denver from a quick 4 day trip to San Francisco! I flew west in order to meet up with my parents who were returning from an AAPRCO convention trip in Napa. I arrived two days early in order to have a bit of time to explore the city at my leisure. Plus, who doesn’t love an excuse to miss class?!

I’ve only been in California once previously for a layover, but we didn’t leave the airport, so I consider this trip my first adventure to the infamous “Cali.” Once I arrived at the SFX airport, I had to figure out the BART system in order to get into the city. My trusty iPhone app was telling me false information, so I had to do it the old fashioned way – by reading signs. I finally made it to my hostel after trekking across the insane hills of San Fran and promptly fell asleep, but not after snapping a picture of the gorgeous building adjacent to my hostel!

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I planned to extensively explore the next day. I woke up early at 8am to enjoy the free breakfast and then set out on the road. My itinerary included the Castro district, a cute cafe I found online called Craftsman and Wolves, the Painted Lady buildings, University of San Francisco, and then finally the Golden Gate Bridge. It took me the entire day to walk from one end of the city to the other, but I saw all of them! It turned out to be around 13 miles that I walked!

I was a bit disappointed in the U SanFran campus. I had wanted to apply there, but never got around it, and thank god! It was tiny and felt like an afterthought to the neighborhood. Also, the famous Painted Lady houses were not as incredible as they are made to seem in movies. I think every movie and TV show set in San Fran has at least one shot of the iconic homes. While the architecture of the city is definitely unique, I saw several other buildings that were more stunning than the Painted Ladies.

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The highlight of my day was definitely walking across the Golden Gate. I didn’t expect it to be as crowded as it was. It seemed I spent the entire time trying to dodge cyclists and other tourists! I also didn’t think it would be so long! The bridge is 1.7 miles long, but it didn’t seem like it. I was a bit disappointed that so many features of the Golden Gate Park were closed due to the government shut down. Thank god I was still able to walk through the park to get to the bridge!

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That night, I met up with one of my friends from high school who currently lives in SF. She lives in a great part of town, near the Painted Ladies. We went with a few of her other friends to a bar and then to see the band Bronze Radio Return play. I hadn’t heard of them before, but they are actually really good! I’m not the biggest fan of live music (standing for 2 hours to watch people play instruments? No thanks) but it wasn’t so bad. The bar scene felt very similar to Portland. Everything was low key and beer-focused. We left around 1am and I took a cab back to my hostel because I did not want to navigate the public transportation system that late at night. It was the first time I took a cab alone in the states!

The next morning, I woke up to begin my journey to Berkeley to see UC Berkeley. In retrospect, I should have applied there. The average ACT/GPA is exactly what my scores were, so I think I could have gotten in. The campus was beautiful! A great mix of trees/nature and modern architecture. The surrounding town was adorable and filled with so many vegan cafes. I walked around the campus for a few hours and it seemed like the people were much more my type – unlike the skiing greek life kids at DU.

I returned to San Fran just in time to meet Patty at our hotel – The Edwardian. While I was looking for places to stay, it seemed that all the hotels anywhere near downtown were outrageously expensive! Somehow I booked the Edwardian for a much cheaper price, but it didn’t feel like a cheap hotel at all! It was super modern and unique, albeit very small. I would definitely recommend it to anyone going to SF.

We spent the day riding the cable cars to Fisherman’s Wharf and walking around the ultimate tourist destination of the city. I indulged and bought a cheesy t shirt with the California flag on it. We ate dinner on the water which was so nice after being in landlocked Colorado for the past month! I’ve always said I want to live in a city that smells like fish. Ever since my trip to Iceland, I’ve fallen in love with the smell of the ocean.

The next morning, we met up with my parents and had brunch and then went to the dock to catch a ferry to Sausalito. Even though it seemed to be just as touristy as SF, it was nice to do something different. In my Israeli lit class, we discussed the idea of space and how places are defined by only a few spots. Tourists have the tendency to simply go from spot to spot without truly noticing the things in between. Sausalito felt like more of an “in-between” place. Plus, I love boats so taking the ferry instead of a bus was just the icing on the cake!

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That evening we went to a restaurant named AQ and it changed its menu AND decor with the passing of each season. It was definitely a “Katie” type of restaurant with outrageously priced food and ingredients that we had to Google. I immensely enjoyed my octopus salad and even Dad said that the food was tasty (as much as he pretended to hate it.)

Afterwards we had a glimpse into the gritty, urban aspect of the city as we were forced to walk through blocks and blocks of drunk, homeless people in order to get to our bar called Bourbon and Branch. It is a speakeasy where you have to know the password in order to gain entrance. The drinks were overpriced but delicious and unique. It’s nice to be reintroduced to cocktails after constantly ordering $2 PBR’s on my student budget.

The next two days of the trip were spent on the railcar traveling from SF back to Denver. Being on the railcar is always fun for the first half of the day, but then becomes repetitive very quickly. The only things to do are sit, eat, and drink!

I’m finally caught up on the work I missed while being gone and just finished midterm week! I can’t believe that my last quarter is already halfway over. I’m excited to graduate and never have to write another paper, but it’s also scary to move on to the next chapter of my life.

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