Sunday, 10 April 2011

San Francisco, April 2011

Union Square, San Fransisco
So, as some of you may have noticed there have been some wonderful guest posters looking after my blog over the last week (thank you!), because I have been soaking up the sun and hitting the slopes in California! I only flew in from San Francisco yesterday afternoon, but as so many of you have been asking to see my photos from the trip (after sleeping all morning!) I've put this post together!
I'd never flown a 10 hour flight before, and it was a killer, but I was lucky to be sitting near the window so I got some incredible views as we were passing over Greenland and Canada! I watched The Social Network, Black Swan and Burlesque during the flight, all incredible films I'd wanted to see for ages!
Once we had checked into our hotel we walked to Pier 39 for dinner. It was a bit tourist orientated for my first ever snapshot of America, but the food was fantastic and it was fun to have a wonder around.
Pier 39, San Fransisco
The port was so beautiful, and I loved how warm everything was! You can see the island with the old high secutiry prison on Alcatraz island in the background - I visited it the next day. 
Sorry that this photo is a bit blurry, we were not really supposed to take photos in the store but I just had to show it to you! This is a picture of some of the Halloween decorations in the Holiday Shop, a shop full of Halloween, Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and decorations for every other holiday in-between, open all year long. Absolutely mental. Only in America. 
The next day we had breakfast at the Hard Rock Cafe on Pier 39. This made me very happy because it meant that I was able to get a San Francisco Hard Rock tee shirt!
The breakfast was absolutely incredible - bacon with syrup and cinnamon french toast - amazing! The eggs and orange juice were also really great too! 
They opened up especially for us, so we had the entire restaurant to ourselves! I absolutely loved the atmosphere and the background music - it was like listening to a hybrid of my and my Dad's iPods!
It was incredible how much rock history there was littering the walls, it was like the very best type of museum! I spent ages just gazing at the stuff that littered the walls... 
My friend Amy took this photo of me on the boat out to Alcatraz island, it was so beautiful and sunny! It looks a bit windswept here, but I have found the best hair product ever. It is not available everywhere. The water in California is incredible, all of us notices how glossy and silky and free from fly aways out hair was, even after the first time we washed it with our regular shampoo! 
This is the view of Alcatraz you get as you approach it. Its fine for it to look that grim as a high security prison, but the guards families, including children also lived on the island until it closed on 21st March 1963 - what a horrible place to live! 

This was one of the nicer cells. 
However, the view from the island was absolutely stunning. This was my first ever sighting of the famous Golden Gate bridge. 
This is what San Francisco looked like from Alcatraz.
Union Square, San Fransisco
After Alcatraz we took a tram up into Union Square. I was shocked that on the way up I could see a Starbucks literally every block. I had another o-m-g moment when I saw people caring the new extra large size, but that was nothing compared to when I discovered that outside the city Starbucks was a 24h drive thu affair!
As a dedicated follower of all things Apple (my Blackberry being my only sin) I had to take a photo of the incredible temple store!
Union Square, San Fransisco

While I saw loads but did not manage to get a photo of a yellow school bus, I also loved how different their fire trucks are!
I think the funniest thing I saw in San Francisco was while we were waiting to get on the famous cable car. I study American politics, so in reading the constitution I know all about freedom of assembly, of speech, religion and expression, but I had never seen it first hand. We were heckled by one of the rudest, most outrageous but the funniest Christian street missionary protest outside Forever 21. I had never seen anything like it. You would never see anything like it in England. 
My friend Alex has his arm around his girlfriend, and he was yelled and condemned to hell for being an adulterer. This slogan was also on their baseball caps. 
I took this photo from the famous cable car, it took me a while to get used to the fact that all the streets are in 'blocks' in America, but I do quite like it I think. 
I was so excited to find you can get Wonka Candy in the USA. I used to LOVE Nerds as a kid, and I was so upset when they stopped selling them in the UK! 
After the cable car we took a road trip up to out ski resort in the mountains. On the way we stopped for dinner at Taco Bell. Now, we only have one of these (I think) in the UK, and its about 2 hours drive away. My friend Tristan has been trying to get me to learn to drive for ages so I can take him, but not yet. So when I found out were were stopping at Taco Bell I felt very smug. 
The chicken soft taco I had was really good, and we all filled up on unlimited Mountain Dew soda. That stuff tastes amazing, even if there is over 300g of sugar per litre! 
This was the view over Lake Tahoe from our hotel room. So beautiful - but it took me quite a while to get used to the idea that there was snow on the beach! 
I took this photo as we where heading back into San Francisco. You know that Phantom Planet song, 'California' with the lyric 'Driving down the 101'? That is why I wanted a photo of one of the 101 signs! 
I took lots of artsy shots of the American flag during the trip. This one was my best one, taken at the viewing area of the Golden Gate Bridge! 
And here is me in front of the Golden Gate Bridge - thanks so much to my friend Briony for taking the photo! I'm wearing my battered old Topshop sunglasses I need to replace, and a slouchy striped tee by H&M. 
The view of San Francisco from the Golden Gate viewing platform.
When we got back to San Francisco I had a really nice Fishwich for lunch while everyone else had the famous clam chowder in sourdough bowls. 
It is basically what you see in the picture, a sub with tasty olive oil infused coleslaw and a piece of battered Haddock, but I had a half one because of American portion sizes. And it was still huge!
Port of San Fransisco
I just could not get over how beautiful the port was!
And, finally, I just had to show you these two tees I snapped at Fisherman's Wharf - so funny!
Has anyone else been to any other exotic locations recently, I'd love to see some links of photos!


  1. I'm so jealous you got to go to San Francisco, it looks like you have a fab time though! Amazing pictures as well :) xxx

  2. wow! really enjoyed looking through these, looks amazing xxx

  3. Your photographs are so amazing, really make me want to go and check out some more of the world now! R x

  4. Your photos are gorgeous, I went to San Fran a couple of years ago and this has brought back so many great memories.

    Alas no exotic holidays for me this year, too poor!

  5. LOVE the fact that I get a mention for the photo, and for being "the girlfriend"

  6. This is such an amazing post! I love the pictures and it looks like you've had a fabulous time. Makes me wanna go over there too right now! ;)


  7. So great photos, really liked!

  8. It looks like you had a wonderful time. I'm slightly jealous as it's somewhere I'd love to visit. You pictures are lovely. I'm so glad I found your blog.

  9. As I may have mentioned, I am stupidly jealous.

    "My friend Alex has his arm around his girlfriend, and he was yelled and condemned to hell for being an adulterer."

    -- REALLY?! Wow. That's actually insane. Just his arm around her, and he got that...? Scary stuff.

    And what's Taco Bell like? Because I'm being laughed at so much for never having tried a Taco. It's not fair :( Haha xx

  10. I want to go I want to go I want to go!!!! xxx

  11. It was such fun to get a snapshot of SF through your eyes! I've never been, so it was awesome to see all your pictures. It sounds like you had an amazing time!


  12. So jealous!! Looks like such an incredible trip. The Hard Rock Cafe looks like my kind of place: rock history = yes please!
    San Fran does look incredible though!!! The pictures are great. I really want to go now!

    (I saw the Social Network on the plane as well: loved it).

  13. I can't believe you got to visit Alcatraz! I am so jealous, when I went to San Fran, it was all booked out, and we couldnt get a visit!

    Well it looks like you had an incredible time, it's so nice getting to look through all the photos :D xxxx

  14. great pics! I'm so jealous. I would love to be there, too!

  15. I want to go to San Fransico so badly!!!! Your pictures are incredible and it looks like you had a super time you lucky thing!!!

    Bow Dream Nation xx

  16. Hi I stumbled upon your blog by chance. I found this post interesting as I live in SF. I loved your perspective, particularly the part with all the Christian fanatics in front of's something I'm used to, though you won't see anything quite like that any where else in the U.S, maybe NY....but you made me appreciate even more my favorite place :)

  17. wow, looks like you had a crazy/fun time in cali. come to LA sometime when you're back in the US, alot of fun out here too x

  18. I live in California right near San Francisco and it was great reading through your post and seeing it from an outsider's perspective. Haha, I don't remember the last time I got excited about the 101.

    Glad you had a good trip. Next time you run into those types of "Christians" (not real Christians, in my opinion) just call them Pharisees and remind them that Jesus was a peaceful figure. At least that's what I do.

  19. were here. i'm so glad you had a wonderful time. and the photos are lovely! i am in love with the lake tahoe pic. :)

  20. Your photos came out incredible! Oh, how I miss an American brunch! We've really got brunch down, I think! It looks like you had such a lovely time, but glad that you're back, Rachel! xoxox