The sunny sides of San Francisco

Hopping on a red-eye flight on Maui, I fell asleep on the plane and woke up right in time when we were approaching the airport in San Francisco. Since we landed early in the morning, when I finally made it to the hostel, my room wasn’t ready yet. So, in the meantime, I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood, stopped at Lombard Street, and then walked down to Fisherman’s Wharf. There, I grabbed lunch and just sat down in the sun at Pier 39 to listen to the funny noises of the sea lions. As I was still tired from the red-eye flight, back at the hostel, I was happy when I could finally move into my room and just lay down in a bed. And as none of my roommates were there at that time, I could also enjoy a bit of me-time. In the evening, I met my two roommates, Innara and Tasha, and already made plans with Innara to explore the city together the following day.

So, the following morning, after Innara and I grabbed breakfast, we took the bus to Dolores Park, walked around the neighborhood there for a while, and then continued onto Bernal Heights Park. And after climbing to the top, we got to enjoy the stunning view of the city from up there. Back down again, we headed to Alamo Square but grabbed some takeaway lunch on the way, which we enjoyed at the park with a view of the famous Painted Ladies. Since we were both a bit tired from all the walking around, we went back to the hostel to take a rest. As it was Thanksgiving evening, we decided to order some food and have some wine to end the day with a small Thanksgiving celebration in our room.

Innara, unfortunately, already left early in the morning, so I spent Saturday with Tasha then. In the morning, Tasha and I first drove to Muir Wood north of San Francisco, walked on one of the trails towering old-growth redwood trees, and even hugged one of the redwood trees. Around noon, we went back to San Francisco again and got ready for our wine tasting tour to Napa Valley in the afternoon. On the way there, we also stopped quickly at Sausalito and then reached our first stop, the Madonna Estate Winery. In the beginning, we learned about winemaking and the history of the winery, followed by tasting some of the most popular wines. Afterwards, we headed to the Sutter Home Winery, one of the largest family-run independent wineries in the US. However, we didn’t get a tour there, but at least we were able to sit outside in their beautiful garden after the wine tasting. As this was already the tour’s last stop, later on, we drove back to San Francisco again and made it back in the evening. So, Tasha and I went for dinner at Boudin Bakery, famous for its sourdough and where I had probably the best vegetarian pizza ever.

As Tasha also left the following day, I spent Sunday by myself and started the day by getting my obligatory breakfast – bagel with cream cheese and an iced americano. Since it was so sunny again, I decided to walk along the beach to the Golden Gate Bridge afterwards and spent some time sitting in the sun at the beach, watching the waves and ships passing by. Later that day, I went to Salesforce Park, an urban rooftop garden in the middle of the city, walked around there for a bit, and then headed back to the hostel again before it was getting dark. Because, to be honest, although I’m never afraid when traveling, I didn’t feel that safe wandering around alone at night in San Francisco.

I still had enough time left in San Francisco. So, Monday morning, I decided to take the ferry to Alcatraz and visit the prison on the island there. During the about three hours I spent there, I got to see the different facilities there and learn about the history of Alcatraz via an audio guide while also enjoying the beautiful views on the skyline of San Francisco as well as the Golden Gate Bridge. When I got back from the island again, I spent some more time down at Fisherman’s Wharf before walking back to the hostel and going to sleep quite early that evening.

On my very last day on the West Coast, I checked out in the morning and then took an Uber to Esra’s apartment, who was so kind to spend the day with me and show me around other places around the Bay Area. So, after having coffee at her’s, we drove south and stopped at Mavericks Beach first, followed by another stop at Half Moon Bay. Later in the afternoon, we made it to Standford University and walked around the campus for a while before having dinner in Palo Alto. On the way back to San Francisco, Esra then dropped me off at the airport, and I, unfortunately, had to say goodbye to her again. However, although we only got to spend one day together, I definitely enjoyed it to the fullest and am glad we met. And I’m also sure we’ll see each other again in the future. But now, it was time to say goodbye to the West Coast and look forward to my last five days in the Big Apple, also known as New York.

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