So I began to (mentally) pack my bags and bought a ticket stateside. But then I realized: how often am I actually home? Since so many of my freelance clients live stateside- more specifically, in Silicon Valley- I decided to take a “jaunt” across the grand ol’ US of A to show my face to the West Coast. After all, better a 6-hour flight than a 12-hour flight!
So, I boarded a plane in London, laid over in Reykjavik (was super sad I couldn’t visit Iceland again on the trip to the States- I’ve been before and its a beautiful place), dropped my bags in DC and headed across the country to San Francisco.
|Greenland, anyone?? Pretty cool view from the plane.|
|Literally one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen- this is above Yosemite. Like, 20,000 feet above.|
I set up client meetings to fill literally the entire three days’ time I spent in SF (I learned the locals call it that, not San Fran as so many people call it. Take notice, tourists, if you want to fit in!) but I did want to get in a few sites. I went to San Francisco as a youth, but haven’t been in about 10 years, so mostly I wanted to refresh my decaying memory. Most specifically, I wanted to see:
1) the Golden Gate bridge
2) Alamo Square (sorry, but Full House raised me)
3) Gharardelli Square
Sadly, these places are all very, very far from one another.
Actually, let me digress for a second. EVERYTHING in the Bay Area is far from other things.
As I mentioned, most of my clients are in Silicon Valley. I therefore set up my meetings in Silicon Valley but, wanting to see these three San Francisco sights, set up accommodation and meetings with friends in the city. Turns out, Silicon Valley to SF is about an hour and a half by train. Of course, I suppose a Google Map search could have told me this but…I thought only us Londoners were faced with staggeringly long commutes. I guess its nice to know we have company halfway across the world.
After a day of meetings, almost asleep from jet lag, I checked in to my super nice hotel, Hotel Carlton (don’t let the slightly sketchy location sway you, the hotel is amazing, the staff are wonderful and I hear they have a happy hour with free wine at 5:30pm, although I never could make it due to my meetings!). I was asleep before my head hit the pillow but the upside was that by 5am I was wide awake. Time for a run.
They aren’t lying when they say San Francisco is hilly. But at least I earned my breakfast, lunch and dinner by committing to run to see Gharardelli and the Golden Gate. I got Alcatraz in, too. From afar, of course. I haven’t been that bad this year!
|Alcatraz from Fort Mason Park.|
|Ghirardelli Square in the early morning.|
|The Golden Gate Bridge.|
|Fort Mason Park.|
I really enjoyed my run, because unlike in London, the streets were actually relatively full at dawn, at not with drunken professionals hurrying home to sober up before work. Instead, SF seems to have a population very committed to health and the outdoors. I was in good company on my morning run uphill both ways.
There were also some very interesting sights, like this street sign- someone must have reprogrammed it during the night…
…and the fact that I actually have a street named after me in the center of town.
After my run, I cleaned up and scurried downtown for meetings. I suppose downtown SF looks more or less like any other American city- loads of skyscrapers. BUT, here, earthquakes are very, very likely, so I wonder: WHY build them!? It just made me anxious thinking of an earthquake erupting at any moment, and the buildings falling down.
The day passed quickly due to meetings, and before I knew it, it was early AM and I was awake way too early thanks to jet lag. Thankfully, I had one more place on my list: Alamo Square Park. If you’re familiar with the show Full House (you know, Danny, DJ, Stephanie and Michelle Tanner, Uncle DJ and Uncle Jessie? Basically where to Olsen twins got their start), you’ll know the picture below. I HAD to see the house where the whole fam “lived.”
I was clearly not alone in needing to see this, as Alamo Square Park was full of tourists, even at the eye watering hour I arrived via Uber.
Not wanting to appear completely obsessed and uncool (I did enough of that with boy bands in high school), I took a turn around the park before joining the flocks of people taking pictures of the “money shot” from the Full House credits. It is actually quite pretty.
|The row from Full House.|
After that it was more meetings, including a meeting in the lovely weather by the bridge Oakland.