A swap from Los Angeles to San Francisco and it was a lengthy sixteen hours across to the other side of the world. Landing at 2pm, we made our way out of the airport and across to the hotel. Most people were exhausted after a really busy day and the eleven hour time difference from Dubai, myself included.
However, after looking at the weather forecast for the Memorial Day weekend in San Francisco it seemed that today had glorious sunshine, and the following day was forecast for non stop rain showers. Wanting to make the most of my time here, I threw on the first thing from my case and jumped in an uber in the direction of Lombard Street.
Lombard Street was something I hadn’t visited last time I was in San Francisco and something I was keen to see.
Lombard Street is an east–west street in San Francisco, California that is famous for a steep, one block section with eight hairpin turns. Stretching from The Presidio east to The Embarcadero, most of the street’s western segment is a major thoroughfare designated as part of U.S. Route 101. The famous one-block section, claimed to be “the crookedest street in the world”, is located along the eastern segment in the Russian Hill neighbourhood.
It is a major tourist attraction, receiving around two million visitors per year and up to 17,000 per day on busy summer weekends, as of 2015. San Francisco surveyor Jasper O’Farrell named the road after Lombard Street in Philadelphia.
Walking down from Lombard Street I went in the direction of Fisherman’s Wharf. I was really hungry to say it was 4am in Dubai at this point, and I was struggling to decide between solo dining at a seafood restaurant or just grabbing a quick Chipotle. I decided to save my money and knew I had the rest of the weekend for some fresh seafood, and called into Chipotle for a burrito bowl. The level of obsession is unhealthy for Chipotle at the moment.
Feeling full and content I strolled through Fisherman’s Wharf. As it was Memorial Day Weekend it was packed out with tourists and locals making the most of the glorious weekend weather. There were stands selling an abundance of seafood, souvenirs and sweet treats. I weaved my way in and out of the hustle and bustle as I headed in the direction of Pier 39.
Pier 39 is a shopping centre and popular tourist attraction built on a pier in San Francisco, California. At Pier 39, there are shops, restaurants, a video arcade, street performances, the Aquarium of the Bay, virtual 3D rides, and views of California sea lions hauled out on docks on Pier 39’s marina. A two story carousel is one of the pier’s more dominant features, although it is not directly visible from the street and sits towards the end of the pier. The family oriented entertainment and presence of marine mammals make this a popular tourist location for families with kids.
From the pier one can see Angel Island, Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Bay Bridge. Blue & Gold Fleet’s bay cruises leave from Pier 39.
The weather makes such a difference to San Francisco. The last time I was here, the rain and cloud made it super gloomy and the sea lions located here reflected the mood. This time it was packed out with people admiring the sea lions jumping in and out of the water and basking in the summer sun.
I exited back through Pier 39, passing the carousel, the lunchtime show that was going on and spotted a cart selling Oreo churros. I was super intrigued and bought one for an astonishing $5.25. Daylight robbery right there.
It was good enough, albeit a little dry and definitely not worth the money and I walked along tucking in.
I wanted to rent a bike and cycle towards the Golden Gate Bridge but with time pressing on, the sun due to set in about an hour and a half, and the fact that I was exhausted I passed up on it and walked uptown.
One thing I forgot about San Francisco is that it is SO hilly. The undulating topography really has you using your calves, and I powered on up the hills and passed Washington Square Park and on through China Town towards Union Square.
I’d seen there was a pop up of The Museum Of Ice Cream that was here in San Francisco for about eight weeks. I’d always wanted to visit the one in LA so I popped in to see if they had any spare slots for just the one person that day. Sadly they were sold out over the entire weekend which was sad to hear, albeit not that surprising with it being Memorial Day Weekend.
Not fussed for much else, I jumped into an uber back to the hotel ready to give up fighting the tiredness and passed out in approximately 0.3 seconds of my head hitting the pillow.
The next morning I woke up at 4am thanks to the effects of jet lag, and despite trying to fall back asleep in the end at 6am i just went down for breakfast and tried to think of a plan for the day with the impending rainy weather.
I bumped into one of the crew Stephanie at breakfast who was also in two minds about what to do. We saw that the weather was to clear up around lunchtime, and we decided to head to Muir Woods with one of the other crew Jakob.
Feeling full up, especially with the size of the strawberries, we arranged to meet a few hours later and potentially hire a car.
For the three of us to hire a car, it was actually working out cheaper just to uber there and back, to and from Muir Woods. So we jumped in the car and made our way across town and over the Golden Gate Bridge.
It’s a good job we didn’t rent a car as parking spaces are limited at Muir Woods and have to be reserved in advance. So we hopped out the uber and paid the $15 entrance fee to enter the national park.
We stopped at the cafe at the entrance for a hot beverage as it was a little chilly, much colder than yesterday when I was out in my shorts! I grabbed a cup of tomato soup which was delicious and really warmed me up, especially my hands.
Muir Woods National Monument is a United States National Monument managed by the National Park Service. It is located on Mount Tamalpais near the Pacific coast, in southwestern Marin County, California.
It is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and is 12 miles north of San Francisco. It protects 554 acres, of which 240 acres are old growth coast redwood forests, one of a few such stands remaining in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Muir Woods National Monument is an old-growth coastal redwood forest. Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the forest is regularly shrouded in a coastal marine layer fog, contributing to a wet environment that encourages vigorous plant growth. The fog is also vital for the growth of the redwoods as they use moisture from the fog during droughty seasons, in particular the dry summer.
I was so happy to just be hiking wherever we best pleased through the greenery. To be out in the fresh air, burning off the breakfast we’d eaten and taking in the beautiful view of these redwood trees. I cannot put into words how tall they were!! I felt minuscule for once in my life.
We hiked for around two hours, way up into the national park. We explored every corner, clambering up and down tree stumps, walking over logs that acted as bridges across rivers and just felt at one with nature.
Fun fact: The tallest redwood in Muir Woods National Monument is 258 feet tall. Redwoods can grow as tall as 380 feet.
It was definitely past lunchtime and we’d worked up quite an appetite and were also a little bit cold. We ventured to the town of Sausalito by jumping on the shuttle bus that runs between the two, and Jakob had a restaurant in mind that served up seafood with a heated outdoor terrace of the view.
We were a bit apprehensive of an outdoor terrace when we were cold, however the outdoor heaters they had were amazing and we actually got a bit too hot underneath them. We grabbed some drinks and looked through the menu before I opted for the seafood stew.
What arrived was the most incredible dish. Filled to the brim with fish, mussels, clams, squid and three giant king crab legs served in a creamy thin tomato bisque with onions, carrots and celery. It was to die for. This is one of the best seafood stews I’ve ever eaten, and the portion was HUGE served with two wedges of garlic bread. It could have easily fed two. If you’re ever in or around Sausalito head to this restaurant and order the seafood stew. They said it was their most popular dish and I can completely see why. I’m craving it again now just writing about it.
We were ready to go back to the hotel and call it a night after a busy day, especially now full of food and drink. I was definitely ready for a sleep.
I managed to sleep all the way through to the following afternoon with a couple hour break for some breakfast, in time for our wake up call back to Dubai. I had a great weekend in San Francisco and it’s definitely changed my perception of the city.
After a few suggestions of would I ever vlog or start a YouTube channel, I gave it a go on my trip here to San Francisco if you want to check it out. Hats off to YouTubers, this is actually really hard and takes a lot of work and thought. This is my first time EVER vlogging and I genuinely don’t know anything about it. So please give me your feedback and what I can improve on! If it’s something you’d like to see more of let me know, I won’t be doing it on every layover for sure but I would be keen to improve!
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