San Francisco

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Moraga became my home for a week. A long street in the Sunset District of San Francisco, a short walk away from the Golden Gate Park, and the actual home of Bianca. I met Bianca last year during my post-Graduation break away to Copenhagen, Denmark (see more of that here: Copenhagen in Photographs). I am well aware that the usual protocol of making friends in other countries is this conversation:

Person one: "We should meet up when you're in [insert home country here]!"

Person two: "That'd be awesome, I'd love to. I may be able to come over later this year/next year"

*Both proceed to keep in mild contact over Facebook/text/other social media but never visit*

It is safe to say that we did not adhere to such protocol.

Disclaimer - This is not my hat.

For the second year in a row, I felt the urge to bugger off somewhere. I managed to take advantage of the numerous bank holidays in April/May, and used nine days of holiday to get 18 days off work (Victory #1). With slightly more time to prepare than I gave myself for Copenhagen, I began looking for cheap places to go. Honestly, I never expected to end up in America, quickly shrugging off the idea as expensive, but then I remembered the conversations that I had with Bianca, Braden, and Eric in Denmark. They all said I'd be welcome to stay, and when paying for accommodation is no longer part of the equation, the idea slid smoothly back onto the table. I found return flights for £280, Bianca said she would be free to house me, and suddenly I had booked a week to San Francisco (Victory #2).

Unsurprisingly, I loved every second of being there. Until I landed, I had never been outside of Europe, but I have dreamt of visiting America for years. Something that I particularly enjoyed was a slight flip in circumstances in comparison to last year. My visit to Copenhagen happened to be mere weeks after the UK's decision to leave the EU, and whatever your view on this is, Bianca, Braden, and Eric used the best of American humour to rip the piss out of me for it for the entire trip. Of course, at that time, the idea of Trump as President was still a novel and ridiculous prospect, especially to Californian's. How the tables had turned. Quickly, discussions were less about taking the piss, more about who is more screwed. But that's enough politics.

My overall impression of San Francisco is that it is an absolutely stunning city, one that I'd love to visit again. I easily found something to do for every day of the week, and could have stayed another week to do more without hesitation. It was expensive though, to say the least. As a European, I was lulled into a false sense of security when looking at the price tag on anything, be it in a shop or on a menu. Suddenly the price tag and what the bill came to did not add up, promptly hit in the face with tax and tips. Why the tax is not included, I will never know, but the tips I understand. The cost of living in San Francisco is disproportionately high compared to wages (I thought it was bad living in London), so tipping is a common courtesy, even for the likes of buying one coffee. By the end of the week, I was used to accounting for this. Just.

I'm going to leave the rest of this to pictures to be honest; I don't want to bore with excessive words. What I will leave you with is a list of my favourite things to do (in no particular order):

- Coffee... anywhere
- Walking around with a camera
- Alcatraz Night Tour and learning about the history
- Getting a Crispy Burrito from La Taqueria in the Mission (on the secret menu and it's amazing)
- Driving over the Golden Gate Bridge (and making use of Bianca's sunroof)
- Realising the surprising amount of beautiful cars that match their houses
- Hiking much further than expected in Muir Woods
- Finding the menswear hotspots
- Getting more coffee

Thank you for reading/looking. If you ever head over to San Francisco, let me know and I'll gladly give a couple of suggestions as to where to go.


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