RSS Feed

San Francisco

We woke up on our first morning in San Fran, well-rested after our long drive the day before. Ian popped down to Starbucks for coffee and chai then we headed out to explore.

photo 2

After over a week in the desert, the chill of San Francisco caught us slightly off guard and it felt like we were back in the UK again! All week, the weather was really unsettled, going from bright sunshine requiring t-shirts and flip flops to chilly, overcast grey skies needing a coat and scarf. I decided early on that wearing layers was the way to go although I was sad to pack away my summer dresses for the rest of the week.

We were staying in a very central location which was great for getting around and we had a wander around our neighbourhood that morning, indulging in a spot of shopping before exploring Chinatown.

photo 6 photo 7 photo 8 photo 317

photo 9

One thing I absolutely loved about this city was all the different neighbourhoods they had; Chinatown, Japantown, Little Saigon, the Italian District…all with their own distinctive styles, shops, smells and restaurants. On a normal street too you could wander past restaurants offering 7 or 8 different cuisines which helps make San Francisco a truly unique melting pot of cultures.

photo 343

photo 310

Another thing I noticed very quickly was just how hilly this city was. These hills weren’t marked on our map (total tourists!) so our legs got a very good daily workout this way!

photo 11

We walked through Chinatown and Little Italy, past Coit Tower, all the way down to the seafront to explore Pier 39. Now this is totally touristy but I loved it. Wooden decks, great views over the bay of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges and great seafood restaurants.


photo 13 photo 14 photo 16 photo 17 photo 18 photo 28

photo 29

photo 374 photo 375

photo 19 photo 20

photo 10

We stopped off for an amazing lunch here, starting with some local brewed beer and oysters.  Ian then had a mixed seafood platter but I had one thing on my mind since we left the UK…clam chowder! Served in a hollowed-out sourdough bun (which was also delicious) this creamy, fishy soup was the best.

photo 21 photo 22 photo 23 IMG_5381

photo 24 photo 25 photo 26 photo 27

Feeling very full, we carried on wandering along the pier to see the famous sealions (very funny to stand and watch), a sourdough bread factory, visit the Ghirardelli chocolate factory (and pick up a few free samples!) before riding the cable car, one of San Francisco’s famous street trams. There was a bit of a wait for this but totally worth it as we went bombing up and down the hills with the bell ringing…Ian had to hang on for dear life!

photo 33 photo 34 photo 35 photo 36 photo 38 photo 39 photo 42 photo 46 photo 49 photo 50 photo 51 photo 53 photo 57 photo 58 photo 60

photo 1

That evening we had tickets to our first ever baseball game to watch the San Francisco Giants against the Milwaukee Brewers. We walked to the AT&T stadium, through a rather questionable neighbourhood, but made it in one piece, had a few beers, met up with my friends Lu and Ellie (who had also got to San Francisco that day!)  and sat back to enjoy the game.

photo 367 photo 368 photo 370

photo 61 photo 62 photo 63 photo 66 photo 67 photo 68 photo 75 photo 85 photo 89

Despite not really knowing what was going on, the atmosphere was great, the views over the bay were stunning and we had such a laugh together. My highlight was the KissCam on the big screen…hilarious!

We got home that night to find a piece of ‘towel art’ waiting for us on the bed. We got a new animal every day and we started to look forward to coming back to the hotel to see what was waiting for us next!

photo 344

photo 152

photo 294

photo 4

The next day, we had booked a wine tasting tour so were up early to be picked up by what looked like a normal coach but inside was like a party limousine! We were sat by another couple on their honeymoon from Australia, a couple of other Aussie travellers and a pair of girls from New York and we quickly became firm friends. We had breakfast on the bus, with me rather awkwardly trying to butter my croissant as the bus flew around the corners, followed by mimosas at the Golden Gate Bridge (all before 10am!)

photo 90 photo 93 photo 94 photo 96 photo 362 photo 364 photo 366

photo 97

photo 98

photo 95

We spent the day stopping off at various wineries in Sonoma and the Napa Valley. If you’ve ever seen the film Sideways you will know what to expect! Lots of the wineries also sold great quality olive oil and balsamic vinegars so there were lots of tasters to eat and drink at every stop. We also popped into a local cheese and fudge shop for a few samples.

photo 348

photo 99

photo 103 photo 105 photo 106 photo 107 photo 108 photo 109 photo 111 photo 114 IMG_5474

photo 116 photo 117 photo 118 photo 121 photo 353 photo 354 photo 356 photo 358

photo 125 photo 132 photo 134 photo 135 photo 136

After our third winery and tasting session, we had a delicious lunch in the gardens with the most amazing falafels and stuffed vine leaves from our Egyptian bus driver, Abe, who was an absolute star all day, telling jokes on his microphone and making sure we had everything we could possible need.

photo 110 photo 137 photo 140 photo 147 photo 351

photo 160 photo 167

photo 150

By our 4th vineyard and a full day of drinking, it all got a bit much for me and I embarrassingly nodded off at whilst sat on the most comfortable sofa sampling some rosé…you cannot take me anywhere!

We said our goodbyes to our new ‘wine buddies’ and got back to our hotel where we planned to have a quick nap before dinner but I unfortunately woke up with the most horrendous hangover which turned into me being sick for most of the night. I’m not sure if it was the wine or something I ate but it was enough to hear my usual declaration of “I’m never drinking again!” Poor Ian had to go out for a burrito alone that night too so it wasn’t the romantic evening of our honeymoon!

The next day, I woke up feeling rather delicate although I did feel lots better after some tea…the elixir of life! We had planned on hiring bikes to cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge and visit the beautiful town of Sausalito but I wasn’t really feeling up to it so we decided to see the rest of the city on one of those hop-on/ hop-off tour buses. I know some people think these are cheating slightly but I love being shown around the city with a local telling me all the stories about different places that you just don’t get when you do the sightseeing yourself. Apologies for how hungover I look in these pictures!

IMG_5537 IMG_5571

photo 174 photo 186 photo 192

We went to In-N-Out burger for lunch and I was furious with myself for not feeling well enough to eat anything because Ian’s burger looked amazing! I made him promise we could go back the next day though…which we did!

photo 37 photo 214

photo 215

photo 196

photo 270 photo 272 photo 274

After lunch, we jumped back on our tour bus to see a bit more of the city.

photo 199 photo 217

photo 202 photo 203

photo 204

photo 205 photo 209 photo 210

That night, we got dressed up and set out to meet Lu and Ellie for dinner. We stopped off first of all at the Thirsty Bear Brewery company so Ian could continue with his beer tasting efforts then walked across town to Nopalito, an amazing Mexican restaurant included in the Guardians Top 10 Restaurants in San Francisco. The food and atmosphere was excellent although the tapas dishes were definitely my favourite over some of the mains we shared.

photo 219 photo 220 photo 221 photo 222 photo 223 photo 225 photo 227

Afterwards, we headed to another brewery (are you sensing a theme?!) where Ian tried the beers and us girls had the pomegranate cider. Then Lu took us back to their hotel which was a full-on hippy flower-power affair with the creepiest doll that was kept at the top of the stairs!

photo 229 photo 339

photo 340

photo 230

The next day, we had a bit of a lazy morning then hit the Cheesecake Factory for breakfast. I had planned on going to this place in Vegas with my Mum but we just ran out of time so I was determined to get my cheesecake fix in San Fran! I had a ‘White Chocolate Caramel Macadamia Nut Cheesecake’ with a pot of Earl Grey while Ian had something chocolatey with a beer and Oh My God they were incredible!

photo 232 photo 233 photo 234 photo 235 photo 236 photo 239 photo 332

photo 240

After that, we decided to check out the areas of the city we hadn’t seen yet, including the Golden Gate Park, the Victorian Houses and Haight-Ashbury, where we saw a naked hippy – sorry, no pics!

photo 241 photo 242 photo 243 IMG_5638

photo 245 photo 253 photo 255 photo 259 photo 260

We also climbed up a huge hill to see Lombard Street, the ‘crookedest street in the world’ with several hairpin bends to get around.

photo 262 photo 327 photo 330

photo 265

It was a beautiful sunny day, so we walked along the pier before taking a night-tour around the city (where they gave us blankets to snuggle under!) and spending way too much time and money in Forever 21!

photo 276 photo 279 photo 281 photo 283 photo 289 photo 290 photo 292

For our last night, I found a great bar on our street called Hops and Hominy, serving great cocktails (one that included bacon-infused bourbon!) and southern-style cooking. I had an amazing macaroni cheese and jalapeno corn bread and Ian had buttermilk fried chicken.

photo 296 photo 297

The next day, we packed up our suitcase and had a final wander through the city. We stopped at a great little Italian place for lunch (especially with the prospect of aeroplane food to come!) and said our fond farewells to San Francisco before flying home to start life as husband and wife.

photo 311

I hope you have enjoyed reading about our American adventures. Even writing these posts made me relive all those fun times and I have such fond memories of being around loved ones and of course, marrying my beau. xxx


About hannahhotcakes

My name is Hannah. I live near Bath in a lovely village in the Cotswolds with my husband Ian, the love of my life for the past 10 years, in our dream cottage. I have landed my dream job as a primary school teacher and I can’t think of anything else I would rather be doing. I am a self-confessed foodie and I love to cook, bake, and eat out as much as possible. Here are some things I love: My friends and family, travelling, fresh flowers, good books, having breakfast on my balcony, horror films, Christmas, tea, Las Vegas, lie-ins, red wine, Liverpool FC, music, sausage dogs, Spain, rare steak, fashion, cheese, American TV series and camping. And here are my pet hates: People dressed as animals, whistling, being rushed, being made to wait, girls who act stupid to impress a man, spiders, sunburn and rocket (it comes with EVERYTHING!)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: