Tuesday, 2 February 2016

San Francisco - USA Road Trip Part 6.1

We loved San Fran, what’s not to love – except maybe the hills!

Cities often have distinct personalities and if San Fran was a person you want to hang out with them, the city is full of culture and history but has the feel of an up and coming intriguing place to be.

In total we had 4 days in San Fran and 1 of those was spent at a wonderful wedding in the Admirals house overlooking the bay and Alcatraz – and yes there were plenty of jokes about marriage being like jail – not by us of course J

Arriving at San Francisco was an experience no sooner had we seen Oakland on the road signs we were veering off over a spectacle bridge into the city. This bridge was not ‘the’ bridge but for its structural impressiveness and the sheer weight of traffic on it I was impressed. Driving into the city from the bridge we relied solely on the sat nav to guide us around the busy streets and hills, part terrified and part enjoying the ride I held on tightly to the phone scared that a wrong turn could have us facing even steeper hills. I was exhausted by the time we arrived at the Air bnb.

We were sharing the Air bnb with Laura’s parents and her Mum had managed to find an amazing place with an outdoor hut tub and a view of the bay. It was breath taking.

As we had arrived slightly later than expected we had to make a quick turnaround to make it to the wedding welcome drinks, it was so good to see all the friends who had attended our wedding a year earlier. Although most of them has to watch us stuffing our faces on the most delicious mac and cheese as we hadn’t had time to eat. Oops.

Back at the Air bnb we spent the evening chatting and catching up, oh and true Laura fashion planning out the next few days.

Good Morning San Francisco
Our first stop in the morning was the crookedest street, or Lombard Street, with Laura’s Dad driving we were in good hands as we drove past the street, then drove down the street, then parked and took photos of the street. We saw people cycle down it, rollerblade down it, Segway down it, go down in mini cars – it was entertaining just standing and watching.

We also had a quick tour of the painted ladies, beautiful houses painted in every colour you can imagine and surrounded a square park. 
A few of our favs
The afternoon was focused on putting another plan into action – finding Clam Chowder, or somewhere that served it. We last had clam chowder sat at Pikes Market in Seattle and having heard San Fran had some of the best in the US it had to be done. By sheer luck we drove past the oldest restaurant in San Fran and by chance they were famous for their clam chowder! The restaurant had originally been built to serve dock works but as time went on the city grew around it and from isolated beginnings it is now nestled among high rises and highways although inside you felt like you were back in the isolated olden days. The clam chowder was delicious. It is well worth a visit!

With wedding festivities complete and most of our friends heading home we spent the next day visiting Laura’s childhood home (well doing a drive by) before heading to Santa Cruz. The fresh sea air was perfect to rid of us of the hangovers provided courtesy of the free pour bar. The boardwalk was like a step back in time, the old amusement games, the rides, the food stands – it was amazing. We picked fried potato as our snack of choice to sit and watch an otter find, prepare and enjoy his dinner floating out at sea.

From the main beach area we took a stroll up the pier to a restaurant that the Smith’s had previously enjoyed. Fish tacos were the recommendations as they were so fresh. The highlight for me was the view though. Sat eating we were treating to a flock of birds diving bombing the water to get food and another otter, or maybe the same otter, playing around. It was mesmerizing.

After lunch we drove a little further up the coast and stopped to watch a surfing competition, the laid back atmosphere felt a lot like we were back in Australia. Our next stop was Natural Bridges State Park, home of the Pacific Grove Monarch butterfly sanctuary. I’m not sure that any written description will convey the scene that greeted us. Talking a short stroll on a wooden boardwalk you wind your way into a gathering of trees, almost a small wood, and look up. Above your head and for as high and as far as you can see are branches covered in butterflies. Camouflaged and huddled together they are indistinguishable at first but as your eyes adjust the spectacular scene unfolds. Reading the signs the butterflies hold on to each other to keep warm as they can’t fly if their body temperature drops. It was fascinating.

Next time we explore the city!


  1. Oh my goodness I love that rainbow house!!

  2. San Francisco has so much to offer. You truly made the most of your trip.


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