Wow. What a fantastic week in San Francisco! I’m honestly not even really sure where to start! I had been planning this trip since last summer…right after I knew about DrupalCon Paris. Knowing there was no way possible I was going to be able to swing Paris, I set out to attend the next one in San Francisco.
I’ve wanted to go to California my entire life and DrupalCon seemed like a great bridge to make that dream come true. When I was in high school, I wanted to move there to go to school but as a youngin’ =) I was convinced by many it wasn’t a good choice, so I passed up the opportunity. And as you can imagine, as the trip came closer and closer, my anticipation grew so big I could barely sit still the week prior to leaving.
I had been hearing so much about San Francisco from friends (basically about how AMAZING it is) that I was starting to think maybe it was too good to be true. As we arrived to the sunny skies, breezy temperatures, and the hills and mountains, I knew it was definitely not too good to be true. We took their metro subway (the BART!) to our hotel – right in the heart of downtown San Francisco on Powell and Market. From the moment we got out of the metro and onto the streets, I had a HUGE smile on my face that I just could not wipe off.
For a lack of better words, San Francisco is just beautiful. Nothing beats a fast-paced (yet mellow) and diverse culture of a big city…street vendors, young and old people, dancers performing in the streets, enormous stores like Forever 21 and Urban Outfitters (hello…that is paradise for me) – it was just incredible. The last time I went to a “big” city was Chicago a few years back (that is another place I want to visit soon again).
After dropping off our stuff, we ventured to explore! We went up to North Beach to check out Coit Tower. We hiked our way up the hills of San Francisco, screaming quotes from “The Sweetest Thing,” and staring in awe of our beautiful surroundings. The view from Coit Tower is worth all the huffing and puffing up that steep hill to get to it.
Coit Tower was built in honor of Lillie Hitchcock Coit and for the San Francisco firemen – hence why it looks like the nozzle of a firehose! We took the scenic route down, through gardens and wooden stairways. One of my favorite parts about this day was we really didn’t know where we were going, we just went and we were going to love where ever we ended up. We stumbled upon this Zen Garden where we laid in the grass making grass angels, balanced on rocks in the water, saw people meditating, and watched the Weeping Willows blow in the wind. Sigh… it was breathtaking.
The next day we went to visit Alcatraz. I’ve never been a big history kind of girl – always really bored me. Alcatraz was awesome though. As we toured the island, took an inordinate amount of photos, and listened to the audio tour of the cellhouse, I was really excited to be standing on history. The audio tour of the cellhouse was really interesting. Actual prisoners and officers narrated, telling us stories and the history of Alcatraz. And wow – what a view of San Francisco from the island. Absolutely gorgeous.
Did you know Alcatraz became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1973? It now has over 1.4 million visitors a year! CRAZY!
After Alcatraz, we walked around for a bit, breathing in the salty air, we grabbed some seafood at the Fisherman’s Grotto. Salmon cakes for me. YUM. On our way back we got to catch some break dancers (don’t worry, I got video…it is to come soon) – they were awesome!
I think we picked a perfect time to go to San Francisco because one thing I did not expect was the amazing landscaping all around. I’m not sure if it’s like that in most parts of California, but the trees and flowers all over the place are just gorgeous. I was never really into plants and flowers and trees (ask my Mom, I never wanted to help out in the yard – haha) but I can say I was always fond of weeping willows and daisies – all of which San Francisco had plenty of. Guess you gotta make time to stop and appreciate that kind of beauty!
I have lots more from my trip, I just didn’t want to bore you all at once, so stay tuned! =)