The California Travel Diaries |San Francisco, Day 3

Hey guys! I hope you are all well and have a nice drink to hand to catch up with me on the last day of my visit to San Fran. I visited California over 5 weeks in the summer with my boyfriend beginning in mid June 2018 and we spent three days in San Francisco. If you missed what I got up to you can read all about how we planned our first stop in California, Day 1 and Day 2 here. There is a lot to see in the city and I didn’t get to do everything I hoped to but it definitely met and exceeded my standards of what I hoped it to be! Read on for my day 3 travel diary in San Francisco…

Day 3

On our 3rd and final day we caught an Uber to the Ferry building. We had a brilliant Uber driver who had previously lived there for 20 years, moved back to where he was brought up and had just moved back to the city he fell in love with. I really recommend speaking to locals or people who live in the city. You get to see so much more that you wouldn’t have otherwise! At the Ferry Building there is a wonderful food market along with, as the name suggests, many ferries travelling around California! As this was our last day in SF we had to be selective on where we wanted to go. Although we didn’t catch any ferries (the Grey’s Anatomy fan in me wanted to for Derek Shepherd’s sake!) we got another uber more central into the city where we headed to Union Square. This area really reminded me of London and once again showed just how diverse the city is. If you fancy some shopping you have your upmarket stores, complete with a Bloomingdales and Macy’s as well as your standard high street shops. It would be very easy to spend a few hours in this area alone and if I was in San Francisco for longer I would have definitely spent more time there.

We arrived around brunch time where there was also a Football World Cup game we wanted to watch, so we decided to try the Daily Grill. It is quite a nice bar that has a little bit of fancy to it; a great spot for a bit of brunch! I had a delicious chicken wrap filled with vegetables, quinoa with some aioli, teamed with a pink lemonade to wash it all down. Everything tasted so fresh and delicious, it was just what I needed after working up an appetite that morning! If you’re wondering if the hype is true that San Francisco has good food I can honestly tell you that I wasn’t disappointed by any of our meals here.

After the game finished, we caught the Muni bus to travel to the famous Painted Ladies on Steiner Street! Not only is this street home to these colourful Victorian houses, but Full House and Mrs Doubtfire were all based on this street. This is a sure treat for any movie buff.

The Painted Ladies

It was soon time for us to go pick up our rental car so we headed to Alamo Square Café to enjoy a chai latte whilst we ordered another uber to the rental company site. Once we picked up our car we drove to another one of our “must sees”… Twin Peakes! Here you have a stunning view of the city but as the name suggests, it is windy so bring layers or a hoodie!

Me at Twin Peakes

Our next stop was to do a tour of Wine Country meaning that we would be finally driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. P.S. There is a toll you have to pay to drive across the bridge so be aware of that as there are no longer physical toll booths. Earlier that day, one of our Uber driver’s recommended us to go to Muir Woods to see the redwood trees as this would be on our way to Napa Valley. Unfortunately as we drove up the long, winding, narrow and steep roads we found that you must book parking in advance! There was a warning sign about half way up stating this, but we drove to the top as there was no other way to go and we kinda hoped that we could wing our way in. Wing we could not! You also lose GPS signal up there but it’s somewhere I will definitely make a day trip out of on my (one day) future visit to San Francisco.

Final Thoughts

I loved that San Francisco has equal beach and city life combined with a bit of hiking for good measure. I think when you visit any new place you have expectations which you hope can always be met. Luckily our visit here wasn’t overwhelming and even more importantly it wasn’t underwhelming either. I feel I only scratched the surface with San Francisco and would definitely return to explore the city one day and also head over to Alcatraz! The cool temperature makes it perfect to explore, especially if like us you decide to do a lot of walking and tackle the hills of SF (we averaged around 16,000 steps a day with walking 30,000 on day 2!) If someone wants to offer me and my boyfriend an apartment in San Francisco I will pack my bags in a heartbeat. Plus I still need to ride one of their famous cable cars!

Summary of the places visited and mentioned:

  • Golden Gate Park
  • Lands End
  • Eagle Trail
  • Camera Obsucra
  • Seals Rock
  • Ocean Beach Fire Pits
  • Outer Richmond Area
  • Tommy’s Mexican
  • Simple Pleasures Café
  • Sea Cliff
  • Baker Beach
  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Presidio
  • Crissy Fields
  • Walt Disney Family Museum
  • Palace of Fine Arts Theatre
  • Ghiradelli Square
  • SF Brewing Company
  • Fisherman’s Wharf Pier 39
  • The Pub
  • Museé Mechanique
  • In-N-Out
  • Ferry Building
  • Union Square
  • The Daily Grill
  • The Painted Ladies
  • Alamo Square Café
  • Twin Peakes
  • Muir Woods

I hope you enjoyed my posts on San Francisco and that it’s now on your bucket list! If you have visited SF let me know in the comments below any places that you checked out!

If you enjoyed this post you should read:

The California Travel Diaries: Welcome to San Francisco

The California Travel Diaries: San Francisco, Day 1

The California Travel Diares: San Francisco, Day 2

What’s in My Travel Bag

The California Travel Diaries | Welcome to San Francisco

Hello all! Is it really already August? I suppose it is! Despite good intentions I did not post any blogs at all in July… Although the Californian sun rays inspired me so much so that I could have burst out of my (imaginary) seams. Nonetheless being constantly on the go meant that time and tiredness was not on my side. This resulted in many of my blog ideas remaining as “drafts”. To get back on track to where I left off, let’s have a quick catch up on what’s been happening in the world…

WELL, for all of the British out there we were on the edge of our seats watching Wimbledon and do I even have to mention the Football World Cup… We so nearly brought IT home. Love Island took over our TV screens throughout those early Summer evenings and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again arrived to our cinemas at a convenient time to bridge that heart shaped hole in our lives. Quite rightly, this is now the soundtrack to Summer 2018. In the midst of all of this, there was also my trip to California and New York – hence the lack of blogging! Despite this momentary tumbleweed of silence on Nataliatalksabout, I am full of stories, tips, reviews and a nice golden tan to share with you (had to be said- we all know it’s going to be wearing off soon enough). Therefore I have decided to begin a new series on my blog called “The California Travel Diaries” where I can finally dedicate the time to talk about my trip.

As I began writing this first post to my California Travel Diaries series I realised just how much there was to tell you. And if you have been to America you know just how much there is to talk about. If you are planning any trips to California, hopefully this series will help you out with an itinerary or at the very least convince you why you should visit the state one day. Getting a taste for travel was very important to me this Summer and whether you love to travel or dream about travellin, this series will definitely be for you.

“I left my heart in San Francisco” Tony Bennett

Everyone knows how much planning there is to any trip let alone for a six week trip! For this post I will be focusing on how I planned the start of our travels which set the tone for the rest of the road trip.

The Basics

I was traveling with my boyfriend and we decided to try and beat jet lag as well as save some pennies by flying from London Gatwick to New York JFK Airport first. We stayed in NY for a couple of nights first before heading back to JFK to fly to San Francisco. Although it was a bit annoying taking so many airport trips close together, this in fact helped me beat jet lag!

Officially beginning our Summer adventure in Northern California in Fog City, the City by the Bay, SF, Frisco or plainly The City (if you’re from the area), we spent 3 days in San Francisco. For the budget traveller like myself, I would definitely say that this is a good amount of time to explore SF and get a feel for the city whilst leaving you with wanting more!

San Francisco has the reputation of being a beautiful, windy and tech central city thanks to the numerous companies based in Silicon Valley – hiya Facebook. The latter particularly being clear even upon arrival to the airport. Okay you may think an airport isn’t worth a mention, but once you are travelling you really appreciate a good airport! It was so modern, easy to navigate and their restrooms looked like a 5* hotel. If you have a long haul flight over to the States you will be thanking me later that you had the chance to freshen up there.

In my post Life Update: I’m Going Travelling! I told you that I was going on a Californian road trip, which means lots and lots of driving. Although this was so much fun, finding an affordable car rental company was an effort. We knew that SF has a good public transport system (unlike the rest of Cali), so planned not to pick up our rental car until our next stop. As it was going to be essential to drive for the next 5 weeks throughout the rest of California we were happy to delay the driving for a while. This wasn’t a problem as there is plenty of free wifi available in most cafés and restaurants, so you can order an Uber here and there when necessary.

Unfortunately you may have heard (quite rightly) that San Francisco is quite an expensive place to travel around and I would imagine, to live in. Nonetheless do not let this put you off on having San Francisico on your bucket list! It’s such a beautiful city with a refreshing energy. Let’s just say that I now know why Tony Bennett sang “I left my heart in San Francisco”. You can also listen to ‘San Francisco’ by Courier for a more ‘modern’ rendition.

As always, choosing accommodation can be relatively daunting especially when visiting a completely new city, state or let alone a new country. I stayed in the Outer Richmond district in SF; a really nice, colourful, safe and quiet part of town to explore by foot or by car. It is approx. a 30 min Uber ride away from the airport (I guess an “Uber” distance has become a new metric for millenials). When we met locals some asked why we decided to stay in this area. If I’m honest it was the cheapest and nicest Airbnb that we could find on our budget, but by no means were we disappointed. My boyfriend and I paid about £85 per night for two people with the extra fees e.g. cleaning and booking included. Between us this was the same price as a hostel in the centre of SF, but it meant that we could have our own private bedroom, more space and our own bathroom. Plus we didn’t mind travelling into the centre as we saw it as an opportunity to absorb even more of the city!

I think that covers the basics for San Francisco which leads me perfectly to our day by day itinerary. Keep your eyes peeled for the next installment of the California Travel Diaries or you can subscribe to my blog to receive emails for (once again!) regular blog updates.

Thanks for reading!

Natalia x

If you liked this post you should check out:

Life Update: I’m Going Travelling!

What’s in My Travel Bag

The California Travel Diaries|San Francisco, Day 1

The California Travel Diares |San Francisco, Day 2

The California Travel Diaries |San Francisco, Day 3

Life Update: I’m Going Travelling!

There are many milestones throughout adolescence to adulthood. At the ripe age of 17 you can drive and have many a terrifying experience with your parents in the car, who tell (scream at) you to watch out for the pedestrians or the old lady on the pavement, who may suddenly decide to jump in front of your car at any moment. After a gruelling 6-12 months (however long you can bear those expensive lessons) you finally pass your driving test. Then at 18 years old you have a wicked house party (remember those days) set with strobe and UV lights. Throughout the multitude of house parties, you work hard and pass your a-levels and get a place on a University course, where you celebrate with your friends on a party holiday. You decide to party 10 days in Ayia Napa “let me hear say eh-o, eh-o!” as a final farewell. Then you jet off to University. Here you will learn more about yourself and other people more than you ever have. During your last year at Uni you turn 21; this is official adulthood and reality sinks in that you’re really growing up. Soon after you graduate and are given your first job, whether it’s your dream one or not, it’s truly exciting.

However in-between the next milestones, in my generation there seems to be a gap before you reach the next lot. Or perhaps you didn’t even go to University and are stumbling through life hoping for the day that you can buy your first property and the next milestones of getting married and having children are somewhere up there in the distant haze of the future. So what’s there to do in between? Well it seems for a millennial like me, travel is now playing a big part in it. No matter what your path may be I’ve noticed it more and more. Whilst I finally was offered my first job in HR, many of my friends decided to go travelling. My closest friends went for 6 weeks around South America, moved to study in Amsterdam, jetted off to New Zealand or followed their hearts to go to Australia. I worked hard and got as much experience as I could. However I couldn’t escape the feeling that I was missing out potentially on some of the best experiences in my 20’s, before I were to achieve the other milestones in my life. I had a little voice in my head saying, “It’s not time yet for this to be my life”.

I was so eager to see more of the world and have an adventure of my own. I didn’t want to have the regret of thinking “I could’ve/should’ve done that”. Especially now, where thanks to the property market I’m nowhere near being able to buy my own place, it seems that travelling has come at a very good time. I’ve worked hard for my money so it definitely does not seem wasteful (something which did cross my mind for a fleeting moment). I’ve also got some experience under my belt, which was vital to me. So where does that leave me now?

Well this Summer I’m saying yes to that little voice and I am beginning my travels in California and New York! I will be doing a road trip with my boyfriend around California and then we will be using public transport around New York. I’m so excited to say the least to experience the Californian lifestyle and live my best Blair Wardolf dreams (although she definitely did not use the subway!) As sad as it was saying goodbye to my lovely colleagues in a job I truly enjoyed, I left on a high note as I was leaving to go do something that is so very important to me. As valuable as working is (and pivotal for survival!), I’m at a point in my life where I am still living at home so I have the luxury to go and explore without worrying about where I will come back to. Travelling is also very accessible nowadays and there really is no reason why you should not go!

“To travel is to live” Hans Christian Anderson

So why California and New York? I have never really been out of Europe for starters (I have been to Turkey which counts as Asia technically, but I stayed in the resort the whole time.) I wanted to keep it simple on my first big trip but live the “American Dream” this Summer and not have to worry about language barriers. It’s no secret that my generation has been spoiled by American sitcoms, dramas, reality shows you name it. I wanted to see the real life thing amongst all the beautiful nature that North America has to offer. Plus that saying “Better to see something once than hear about it a thousand times” is very poignant in this case.

What’s on the cards after this trip? Now that would be telling!

Keep up with my blog and Instagram this Summer to see where I am and what I’m getting up to in America! I will be sure to write about it all on here.

Please let me know if you have any recommendations on what I must see or pack when I go, as well as any particular blog posts you want to read about. Let me know if you have travelled or if you would you like to!

My flights and accommodation are all booked, it’s just my excitement that I can’t contain any longer!

If you liked this post you should read:

Can Millennials Have It All?

My Travel Bucket List

Graduating, Working and Discovering New Passions

Try Before You Buy: Latest Summer Beauty Additions