Ok, maybe we didn't walk THAT far, but it was still a lot. I wore my Fitbit the entire trip and it calculated that I walked just under 27 miles while we were there. For some reason the stairs climbed stat didn't sync, even though I know that it was tracked, and with all of the hills we climbed and stairs we walked up, I hit at least 50 flights every day. It was a fun, memorable, and exhausting trip to say the least!
It probably wasn't obvious from social media (because I knew my mom didn't want me to advertise that she was out of town), we went on this vacation with my family! My mom planned a great trip and we're really glad that they invited us to come along! We enjoyed a lot of sightseeing, some great history (Joe's favorite part), and did a little bit of shopping.
Let the Vacation Begin!
(I tried to keep this post as short as possible, but there are a lot of pictures and I had a lot to say...)
Joe and I have taken many road trips in our relationship, but this was our first ever airplane trip together and I was a little excited about it! :) After almost three years as a couple, we're still experiencing firsts and I love it!
Proof that my family was on our trip as well.
No trip with me would be complete without a little adventure, so we started the vacation by leaving our luggage behind in Salt Lake. My family checked a bag and we checked a bag, theirs made it on the plane and to Oakland, ours did not. It was the one thing I was worried would happen, so maybe I jinxed us. We ate dinner and hung out in the general vicinity of the airport for a couple of hours and then came back to pick up our suitcase when it landed with the next flight. A little inconvenient, but it was a better option than not getting all of my stuff before we left the hotel the next morning and having to buy new clothes, etc. instead. The airline was nice and gave me a cute little toiletries bag with the tiniest toothpaste tube for my troubles, but I'm glad we got our stuff that night and I didn't end up needing to use it!
Excuse the blurriness of the photo on the right, it was a phone picture and that's the best we got. :P
Joe and I had our own hotel room (Thanks mom and dad!) and I think it is one of the nicest I've ever stayed in (with the exception of our honeymoon)! Our bed was really comfortable, we had plenty of room to relax, we didn't have to eat out every day, we had two TV's and the continental breakfast was diverse and amazing!
I loved the cute little magnets that we could put out instead of the regular "do not disturb" door hanger.
Saturday - Exploring the City
The first thing we did in San Francisco was explore Chinatown and Little Italy. I really loved wandering around, looking at the little shops and soaking in the atmosphere. I think my favorite was the atmosphere change when we walked around the corner leaving Chinatown and entering Little Italy! The smells of garlic and the fun shops and restaurants made me happy.
Telegraph Hill was our first hike of the trip, and looking back, I'm pretty sure it was one of the easiest that we did because there were little stairs for most of it, but at the time, it felt brutal! The view from the top was worth it though, you could see all the way across the city!
Did you know that the stairs up to the top of Coit Tower have been closed for 20 years now? No? We didn't either. Our original plan was to take the stairs up and back down (this was before we hiked up the big hill) but instead we got to cram in an elevator with four or five other people (there were eight of us already) and then walk the last 35 steps to the top. The view was AMAZING!
By this point, we were all grumpy, tired and hungry so we walked through Little Italy and found a yummy restaurant to eat. I love the colors and details in that part of the city, and of course my Margherita pizza and Italian Soda were delicious and made me extremely happy as well!
On our walk to lunch, we passed an amazing smelling candy shop that I knew I had to go back to. My mom didn't understand how I could even think about candy after that huge meal, but you know me, I LOVE my candy and chocolate. Really though, who could resist this?
Our last big activity of the day was to walk down Lombard Street. I figured that would be no big deal, it's all downhill and easy compared to our first hike right? Except the part where I forgot that San Francisco has hills in every direction. The only thing that kept me going to the top of every hill on this trip was the promise of something that I really wanted to see and cross off my bucket list at the end of it all. And the view from the top, the opposite side of the city from Telegraph Hill, was amazing!
Eventually we made it to Lombard Street and I only had to make one stop on the way there. My shoes were rubbing my feet in different places depending on if we were walking uphill, downhill, or on flat ground and I was getting random blisters.
Walking so much wore us all out, so we walked down to the trolley/cable car area and took it all the way back to the parking garage so that we could go back to the hotel and recharge for the next day's adventures!
Sunday - The Coast
I wish I would have taken pictures of our drive along the coast to church in Half Moon Bay, but I was too busy enjoying the view and helping Joe find the right streets. It was a cool, stormy, windy day and the coast was beautiful!
After church, we went across the Golden Gate Bridge to explore another part of the coast. Our first stop was Rodeo Beach. It was so windy and cold out there, I was glad that I was wearing layers (please don't judge my outfit, it was actually the more stylish of my layering techniques for the week). There were quite a few people, including cute little girls in bikinis, out swimming in the ocean, I don't know how they did it, it was really chilly.
There was a Marine Mammal Rescue Center just a couple miles up the road from the beach, so we headed there next. We learned a little bit about how they rescue sea lions and what kind of things they do to nurse them back to health, but we didn't stay very long.
Our main plan for the day had been to hike out to Point Bonita Lighthouse and explore it, but by the time we finished our other activities and ate lunch, we were too late and the trail out to the lighthouse was closing. So instead, we explored Battery Mendell, a really cool fort that used to house two huge cannon like objects that could shoot up to eight miles out into the ocean. Joe really loved this, it was one of the highlights of the trip for him.
We still got to see the lighthouse from afar and had a great view of the coastline and the beach!
Monday - Pier 39 & Alcatraz
One of my favorite areas of San Francisco is Fisherman's Wharf and the piers along Embarcadero. We spent the morning exploring all of the fun shops at Pier 39.
We watched the sea lions bully each other and push the smaller guys off the dock.
I loved that there were new things to see and do on the pier since the last time I was in San Fran. I think one of my favorites were the musical stairs! They look like normal cement stairs from the top, but the front of them are painted black and white and they use lasers to detect where people are walking. They were kind of fun and unique!
After lunch, we headed down to Pier 45 to explore a battleship, another high point for the husband, but I think he was more into it than the rest of us, so we may have rushed him through it a bit. We still had a lot of fun playing with some picture opportunities and exploring the living quarters of the Jeremiah O'Brien.
I never thought my mom would encourage us to have ice cream for dinner, but that day, she did! Before our Alcatraz tour, we stopped by Ghirardelli Square. The husband and I shared a Gold Rush Sundae, peanut butter and chocolate, our favorite combination! We had a gorgeous view of a beach and the ocean while we ate and like I've said before, who wouldn't enjoy a break for chocolate?!
Alcatraz was a highlight of our trip and probably Joe's favorite part of the whole vacation! There is so much history on that island, and we were there the day that "Whitey" Bulger was in court, so we got to hear a bit more of his story. It was really cold on the island and it was foggy so we couldn't see the city when our tour told us to look back at civilization, but we had a lot of fun!
Tuesday - Exploring the City & Sourdough Factory
Our last day in the city, we did a little bit of everything! It was our day to finish touring the city and visit the things that we still wanted to see.
At the Maritime Museum
After a nice hike through the city (more on that later this week), husband and I met up with some dear friends from our apartment complex, Cory and Kory, to hang out for the afternoon. We decided to eat lunch at the Boudin Sourdough Cafe and tour the museum upstairs afterward. Our food was really yummy, it was fun to spend time with our friends, and I enjoyed the museum and learning about the history of the company. Did you know that during the San Francisco earthquake, one lady saved the company by putting some of the mother dough in a bucket and taking it with her before the building burned? I thought that was pretty neat!
We had a little bit of time to kill before my family picked us up on the way back from their tour of the Jelly Belly Factory, so we decided to walk across the street and check out the wax museum. We were all prepared to pay $20 admission, but it was our lucky day! The museum was closing that coming Thursday, for good, so admission was only $5 per person. I'm kind of glad we got the deal because the exhibits were great, but I'm not sure they were worth what full price would have been, maybe that's why they're closing.
Joe & President Reagan
The beautiful beach and people watching provided some great entertainment for Joe and I for the rest of the hour until my family got back, and it was a great end to our trip!
Wedmesday - Coming Home
Wednesday morning we finished packing up our stuff, returned the rental car, and made our way through airport security. By five that night, we were back to reality, unpacking, doing laundry, and then repacking to move the next day. Luckily, our luggage made it back on time and on our flight!
We had a great time and I crossed off most everything on my San Francisco Bucket List plus some awesome things that I never thought to do! I can't wait for our next vacation!