San Francisco in Three Days

I recently went to an Indian wedding abroad in the state of California, so there was no way we could pass up a trip to The Bay! But having spent a week at the wedding itself (there’ll be another post all about that don’t you worry), we wanted to make the most out of a very short space of time. And of course, the responsibility of creating an itinerary falls to the eldest, the first-born, the only organised person in the family; me. So without further ado, I give you my Three-Day Itinerary for San Francisco:

1. Alcatraz

No trip to the Bay would be complete without a visit to The Rock, and at just a short mile away, you’d be daft to pass up the trip! But make sure to book in advance – Alcatraz tours sell out months beforehand, and it’s one of the most interesting and eerie places I’ve visited in a long time. The audio-guide is also a must – taking you through the ghost halls and recalling the history of the prison, from back when it was a military fort of strategic value, to the occupation of The Rock by various Native American groups.

Be sure to block out the entire day though – while the ferry trip takes almost no time at all, the exploration of the island can take absolutely hours, and the last thing you should do is rush through it.

2. The Golden Gate Bridge

San Francisco’s most iconic landmark. Always best on a sunny day, when the fog and mist can’t obscure the view of such an incredible structure, the Golden Gate Bridge is a true testament to human ingenuity. Suspended entirely over water, carrying thousands of vehicles and people each day, the bridge is a wonder to behold. Built in X by Y, the bridge has stood the test of time, and has been modified as technology advances, to keep it safe and operational on a daily basis. It took my breath away and is one of the reasons I left my heart in San Francisco.

The Golden Gate Bridge

3. Chinatown

Aside from skyscrapers and financial districts, there is one thing that all major cities have in common – Chinatown. And as an ethic minority myself, nothing brings me greater joy than seeing other minorities band together to create their spaces. Fundamentally, every Chinatown is the same – a range of restaurants, shops and markets, created by and for East Asians. But Chinatown in San Francisco blew me away, because it showcased street art the likes of which I have never seen before; not even in Shoreditch.


4. Fisherman’s Wharf

If you live near a harbour or pier, you might not understand why there’s so much hype surrounding Fisherman’s Wharf, but it really is worth it. With fresh seafood being served on every corner, and various museums and activities placed at the different piers, it’s worth exploring, especially if you’re making the trip to Alcatraz.

In particular, be sure to check out Pier 39, which is home to some truly beautiful sea lions. Displaced after a natural disaster, they have made Pier 39 their home, and are well-loved by both tourists and locals.

5. Lombard Street

Perhaps the simplest and yet most stunning site in San Francisco is this small residential street at the top of a hill. Famous for its zig-zag shape, Lombard Street is like something out of a fairytale. The houses stand tall, bright and full of foliage, and the road meanders downhill, showcasing the stunning view of the city below.

The famous San Francisco tram network has a stop right by this popular tourist spot, and I fully recommend taking a trip between Lombard Street and Fisherman’s Wharf via tram. You get to see the whole city and experience the novelty of vintage trams! The best one was Powell and Hyde St, so definitely check that out.

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San Francisco tram network

San Francisco is one of the more exciting cities I’ve visited in a long time, and we covered a wide area of the city, hitting all the major landmarks. After living in London and Madrid, my expectations are pretty high, but as a big fan of The Princess Diaries, I had a fantastic time re-living my childhood and pretending to be the Princess of Genovia.

photography of red bridge under white and gray sky
Photo by zoe pappas on Pexels.com

Thought of the Day: Travelling Terriers and Commuting Corgis

The sky is grey, the rain is threatening, but life is good. Why? Because today I saw a dog on the tube.

Dogs on the tube are the most precious of all dogs. They are well behaved, they are (usually) quite quiet, and all they want is to be friends with everyone. There, on a hot, stuffy tin can jostling through the tube network, was the sweetest creature who just wanted to be petted and loved, and who are we to deny them that?

Of course, not everyone is a dog-person but I’m sure everyone can appreciate how a sweet and fluffy creature can have a calming effect on the road-rage of public transport. The tube network is hot, it’s cramped, it’s loud and uncomfortable, but whenever someone brings a dog on board, I can’t help but smile.

So, an entirely selfish plea to all you dog-owners out there: please bring your dogs on the tube. Take them for walks throughout London’s parks and bring them home on our tube network. Bring a smile to someone’s dull commute.

Choosing ERASMUS

Summer is approaching and, for a lot of students, that means it’s time to start thinking about what to do on your year abroad. Last year, I was an Erasmus student in Spain and I’m going to share with you five reasons why I chose the Erasmus program.

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Fourty-Eight Hours in Falmouth

Okay, quick disclaimer: I was probably in Falmouth for a bit longer than 48 hours, BUT I think you could absolutely cram the major sites in that time. Well, you could try at least…

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Travelling on a budget

You know how travelling costs money? And students don’t have much of it? Well…

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Travelling: Who can find the time?

Hello readers! I’m back in the UK, have been for a while, and I’m currently studying and working part-time. In my spare time I’m either sleeping, eating or working on assignments. So, I ask you this: how on earth can I find the time to travel?

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Al fin…?

Well readers, it’s over! I’ve moved back to the UK and left Madrid behind to finish off my degree at Southampton. While I know I’ll miss Spain and its climate and opportunity for adventure, like Dorothy said, “there’s no place like home”.

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Carnaval in Cadiz

Hola readers! The weekend after Alice left me all alone in Spain (such a hard life I lead, I know), Ella and I went on a day trip to Cadiz for Spain’s annual Carnaval. The problem? We didn’t really know what it was for. And neither did anyone else.

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland/Madrid

Hola! Welcome to the first of many February updates; my long weekend with Alice.

First, a quick introduction; meet Alice. She’s a fantastic human being who I love very much; she’s a nurse; she loves cats more than humans; she’s the most scathing, sarcastic person I’ve ever met; she’s been my friend for three years and I am so incredibly close to her.

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5 Spanish Stereotypes

Stereotypes Which I’ve Found To Be Totally True

1. Siestas. For about three hours every day, most shops are closed to enjoy lunch and an afternoon chit-chat session. The exceptions are the bigger, international brands like Primark and Zara, which tend to remain open, but are usually pretty quiet. In terms of banks and public services, though, forget about it – once they’re closed for siesta, they rarely reopen.

2. Mañana culture is real. So real. Don’t expect anything to get done for deadline unless you ask for it three weeks in advance. On the other hand, if you don’t get things done by the deadline they’ve set, expect all hell to break loose.

3. Fiestas. Spain has tons of fiestas. If a city is celebrating a fiesta, all rules are broken. For example, drinking on the streets is illegal most of the year, but during fiesta days the botellon culture takes over. And I love it. Because even though people drink on the streets, they aren’t getting drunk the way us Brits do on holiday; Spain’s relationship with alcohol is, dare I say, healthy.

4. Spanish Speaking Speed. Spanish people speak so, so quickly. Especially if they think you can speak Spanish too. They’ll run with it and you’ll just have to smile and nod.

5. Iberian Passion. While the Spanish people I’ve met haven’t necessarily been short tempered, they’ve all had their moments of passion. Whether it’s over heating bills or The Lion King, when they’re particularly invested in something, they really fight for it. Honestly, it’s fantastic to see such conviction in one’s beliefs.