San Francisco - wow talk about some steep hills. Walking up to Nob Hill everyday to get to my hotel eased the guilt of eating so much in Montréal. I only had 2 days here, not nearly enough time considering the amount of things to see and do. San Francisco is like no other city I have ever seen. It has a style of its own. The things I noticed most were the warmth and sunshine (although unusually warm for SF), the constant humming of the streetcar rails and the diversity of the suburbs making up the city.
The best thing I did while there was the SOSF (Streets of San Francisco) bike tour. Our rider Daniel was like an encyclopaedia for the city and filled us in on so many interesting facts and quirks of the city that we would have otherwise walked by or not received from other tour groups. Scared at first about cycling considering an exercise bike was the closest I had come to cycling in the past 5 years, once I got the hang of it I had such an awesome time. Daniel took us along the flatter streets visiting many areas with stops for lunch, chocolate and ice cream, which I might add were unbelievable and I have made sure to link below. For anyone going to San Francisco I totally recommend doing an SOSF tour. It really is a great way to see the city and experience it for what it really is. Daniel's easy going personality also made the tour enjoyable and really relaxed.
After cycling for 5 hours (in jeans!?) I was pretty hot so wore a dress to Alcatraz that night. Bad idea! It was so cold. Word of warning, dress warm if going over to the island. Alcatraz although touristy was fascinating to see. I feel guilty in seeing beauty in something that holds so much sadness or feelings of pain to many people but there is a vacancy and stillness about this place that is somewhat mesmerising. It's so close to the dense and busy city yet so far away and like another world. The view from the island is pretty spectacular.
My time here was very brief but I did try to cram in as much as possible. The tour definitely helped. I also made it to a few places I was eager to visit - Tartine bakery, Pizzeria Delfina and Ferry Building. I also tried Blue Bottle Coffee which I've heard a lot about and also dashed along Haight and Fillmore Street in my last few hours to do some (more) shopping.
• SOSF Bike Tours - best way to see the city and a very relaxed and fun day
• Pizzeria Delfina - I tried the margherita pizza which was very good
• Tcho - really good chocolate produced in the factory down at Pier 17
• Ferry Building Marketplace - a great market with stores selling food, coffee, cheese, bread, chocolate among other things. Hotspot for people working around the area
• Boccalone - artisan salumi and really good sandwiches
• Blue Bottle Coffee - really good freshly roasted coffee. Love the logo and packaging as well
• Humphry Slocombe Ice cream - so good!! Really unusual flavours. I tried the Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee, Secret Breakfast (Bourbon & Cornflake) and Brown Sugar. All very good.
• Tartine Bakery - the morning bun was really good
So that's it! Feeling a little sad as I'm writing that it has come to an end but so happy I made it over there and visited all these wonderful places. I also feel a sense of accomplishment to make it around on my own for part of it. You learn a lot about your strengths and weaknesses when doing something like that and I think it's a great thing to do for your confidence. I hope I didn't bore everyone too much with my photos! I know they are always more interesting when they are your own. But hopefully they inspire or give some ideas of things to do to those wanting to visit these places x.