Scribbles from San Francisco – pictures & notebook musings

“Don’t leave your heart in San Francisco” they say...

A very sweet lady next to me on the airplane from New York ‘warned’ me about this and I had no clue what she was on about. What’s the deal with this big city, I wondered. And what’s up with all those San Fran songs?

Turns out, there’s a LOT special about this place.

And it’s not just about that bridge. Although, it is rather magnificent…

Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge

We were lucky enough to visit San Francisco last year as part of a mini US trip (which we’re still paying off – that exchange rate is NOT a joke). Over the last two weeks, Facebook has very kindly (or cruelly) flooded my memory feed with some snapshots and it got me thinking – there were a ton of pics I never posted – or looked through for that matter since last year.

In fact, I never even blogged about this trip.

Why? Time, I guess. Imagine going through over 2000 photos and then narrowing them down and resizing them. YAWN. And then for some or other reason, I didn’t feel like posting because I thought it would annoy some people. Silly me… trying to teach myself to go with the flow more and stop worrying about every little thing.

Do more happy stuff. Just because.

Streets of San Francisco

But – this nostalgic feeling just won’t go away.

So here goes… a trip down memory lane: some pics and a bit of info from our trip to San Francisco…

Scribbles from my notebook…

I bought a fancy notebook from Typo before we left (had to) and forced myself to write down as much as I could remember every day – thank goodness I did, because I wouldn’t have remembered half of what I wrote.

Instead of writing out long-winded paragraphs and trying to make it short and interesting, I thought I’d pull some stuff straight from the notebook. Trying something new. Let’s see how it goes…

DAY #1

  • Landed at 1.40pm and eventually figured the transport out. (Btw, SF airport is so sleek and modern. Special fountains to fill your water bottle! Music in the bathrooms!)
  • Took Airtram and then BART to Powell station.
  • Arrived to THIS gorgeous sight of San Francisco after coming up from the station… #loveatfirstsight
  • Walked a bit to the hotel – luckily not too far.
  • Such friendly staff at the hotel – WOW! Quite a change from New York. (Hotel Beresford is awesome. Right on Union Square – highly recommend).
  • Checked in. Went for a walk to check out the neighbourhood. (LOTS of hills – whew).
  • Got pizza and lasanga (recommended by reception) from a nearby Italian takeout place called Uncle Vito’s.
  • Ate supper in bed, watched movie trailers.
  • Fell asleep just after 7.30pm.
  • Body clock completely out of whack.

DAY #2

  • Woke up at 4am – WIDE awake. Still on NY time. Went for brekkie just after 7am.
  • Cute little restaurant called The White Horse – all dark and cosy with wooden tables and chairs.
  • Breakfast was self serve – muffins, croissants, grape jelly (jam), apples, grapes, orange juice and coffee.
  • Went gallavanting the city from +/- 8.30am (the shops here only open at 10am… weird).
  • Took lots of pics of Union Square.
  • Just after 10am we entered Macy’s. SEVEN floors. OMG. Amazing. Everyone greets you with, “Good morning” or “Welcome to Macy’s” – and each floor has different departments.
  • Holy moly – we laughed so hard converting dollars to rands. Needless to say, we bought nothing – but it was fun browsing all the fancy clothes.
  • They even have their own post office.
  • And each section (like the women’s active wear) has their own music specific to that area, which changes when you move to a new section.
  • Stopped at Jamba Juice for a healthy green juice.
  • Walked back to hotel to rest feet for 30 min.
  • Went exploring again. Found Cotton On! (One store we could afford to get one or two things).
Just look at how awesome these styles are… I couldn’t get enough of them. Two colours and SO many styles…
  • Hit the food court. Spent 20 min trying to decide what to eat: Thai, vegan, Brazillian, deli, burger, sushi… and on, and on.. Got some spicy Thai dish, which I couldn’t finish because it was so hot.
  • Felt bad throwing it away. But my nose was running and my face was blood red – not fun.
  • Browsed some more streets, got some groceries for supper.
  • Spent way too much time looking at all the food options. (I miss fat-free Greek yoghurt).
  • Back to hotel, ate, slept by 6.30pm.
  • Woke up at 8.30pm just before the big NBA game we planned to watch finished – damn!
  • Tried watching Hanibal season 2. Was weird. Switched it off after 10 minutes.
  • Passed out early, again.

DAY #3

  • Woke up at 5am. Ate breakfast at the bar around 7.30am.
  • Had 2 x croissants, a cranberry muffin, grapes, cereal with strawberries, orange juice AND coffee…
  • Got to the laundromat at 8:45am, left there an hour later.
  • Dropped clothes back at hotel. (Self service is WAY cheaper than drop and go – all the places we found charged from around $2 – which was about R25 – an item!)
  • Took a nice walk to Fisherman’s Wharf with the sun shining. What a charming place!
  • Stores selling crab cakes, clam chowder and a ton of other seafood. We shared an order of curly fries… interesting…
  • Saw a man in gold “statue” delight the little kids – HILARIOUS. Could have watched him all day.
  • There was a guy playing music and cheeky seagulls and birds walking around wanting food.
  • Browsed some suvenier shops – wanted too much. Got a fridge magnet.
  • Walked around a bit more and saw a HUGE WW2 submarine and a ginormous ship!
  • Took a lot of photos of Alcatraz in the background. (Forgot to book tickets to visit before we left SA – really, really regret this).
  • Found Big Bus tours and bought tickets to explore the city on the red bus instead – yipee!
  • North Beach looks like a cool neighbourhood – lots of restaurants and places to hang out.
  • First stop = Golden Gate Park. (Interesting fact: This park was built based on Central Park in NY and stretches 5km long)
  • The Japanese Tea Garden is beautiful, tranquil and lush. Koi ponds, waterfalls, gigantic bonsais (Geoff was in his element), gorgeous temples.
  • We caught the next bus to Golden Gate Bridge.
  • The weather changed and it was freezing, overcast and felt like autumn with the wind going crazy. (NOTE: No matter the season, ALWAYS pack a warm jacket or windbreaker for walks on the bridge).
  • We only managed to walk half the bridge because it was so cold.
  • Geoff wanted to go up the hill on the other side. I needed to pee. Was freezing. Irritated.
  • The view of the bridge from up there was worth it.
  • Got back to the hotel at 4pm. Chilled. Napped. Left at 5.30pm for some food.
  • Walked to Macy’s food court and gave into temptation – had a grilled cheese sandwich (yum!) and had to – Ben & Jerry’s peanut butter chocolate with salted caramel.
  • Got some snacks for breakfast and bus ride tomorrow.
  • Chilled at the hotel. Watched “What would you do”. Passed out.

Why you’ll probably leave your heart in San Fransicsco…

There’s no two ways about it: this city is intoxicating and magical in a way that New York isn’t.

Creatives and ambitious souls everywhere you look.
Clean streets and malls. FRIENDLY people.
Customer service that could teach us a thing or two.
Food for every health-conscious or picky eater, or general gourmet foodie lover.
Gay pride – loved seeing the flags waving proudly in the wind.
Hills for Africa – forget the gym, just take a walk around the city, you’ll get your workout in.
The ocean, city life, cute cafes and restaurants, dog friendly places, national attractions.
(The only downer = the whole earthquake matter. And it’s a little on the expensive side).

We squeezed a LOT into those 2.5 days, but wow – does my heart still ache for that place.

Damn you, San Francisco. Give me my heart back!

Saving the planet, one bike at a time…


On the red bus, going gaga over all the tall buildings…
Parallel park AND on a hill? No thank you…
The coolest vibe in any city
A cheeky display on one of the buildings we drove past




9 Replies to “Scribbles from San Francisco – pictures & notebook musings”

  1. Absolutely love this. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Melanie Chisnall says: Reply

      Thanks Martie! That means a lot coming from you. Hope you’re having a great weekend. 🙂

  2. Your commentary had me giggling more than once. Stores that open at 10am? That’s all over this country – even where I live. It’s like 10-5 or 10-6 that they’re open.
    Spicy food? Makes me cry, too.
    Chilled and freezing gets you irritated? Me, too.
    Ben & Jerry’s Salted Caramel!? YES, PLEASE! Haha.
    This trip looked like SO. MUCH. FUN!
    And you’re accurate: NY is all hustle and bustle and business. San Fran is like letting the ocean waves take you away…not that I’ve been to either place, actually. I’m going to have to fix that…
    Cynthia recently posted…The Meditation RetreatMy Profile

    1. Melanie Chisnall says: Reply

      LOL, 10am is laaaaaate!! Some stores here open at 8am, others 8.30am, but most 9am.
      Now I’m getting hungry reading your comment about spicy food and salted caramel ice cream – that’s a pretty good combo, actually!
      YES – you are going to have to venture to The Big Apple at some stage. Give me a few years, I might join you! (wishful dreaming…)

  3. Believe it or not, I have never been to San Francisco, but totally on my bucket list for sure. Beautiful photos and can not thank you enough for sharing your trip here with us though, too!! 🙂
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Send Funny This Father’s Day with CardfoolMy Profile

    1. Melanie Chisnall says: Reply

      You haven’t?! Oh my goodness… you will love it! 😀 Hope you’ve had a great week! Will catch up with your goings on over the weekend. 🙂

  4. William Holland says: Reply

    We’ll leave the light on for you. 🙂

  5. William Holland says: Reply

    Boston, San Francisco and Seattle…my three favorite cities in the U.S. You were only 900 miles from us and didn’t stop in for a visit??? How dare you!!!! LOL

    So glad you had a wonderful trip, Mel! Thanks for sharing it with us.

    1. Melanie Chisnall says: Reply

      Aaaah, Bill!
      I WISH we could have dropped in – 3 weeks and the change in our pockets disappeared like lightning; so crazy! :O

      Boston sounds like a beautiful city… it’s definitely on the bucket list – along with Olympia and North Carolina 🙂
      Will have to make a return trip one day!

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