Saturday in San Francisco
The flight from New Zealand to Brazil isn't a quick one. So, as I was on my way to Rio de Janeiro to celebrate my 21st birthday in the midst of the Carnaval festivities, I stopped in to visit one of my favourite cities. I couldn't have asked for more perfect timing! Not only did I strike gold with a perfectly sunny mid-winters day, my friend from 4 hours away in California just so happened to be in San Francisco that day too! We jam-packed our day full of explorations around The City by the Bay. Here's what we got up to:
BREAKFAST AT MR. HOLMES BAKEHOUSE
The morning air was nice and crisp, but a whole lot warmer than I was expecting as I waited in the queue down Larkin Street for this insta-famous bakery to open. I’ve heard many people complain about the San Francisco weather, but I’ve been lucky enough to have never experienced its wrath. I didn’t experience the pelting gusts of wind the city is famous for - only a light breeze that was enough to send the smell of freshly-baked pastries down the queue.
When the doors opened and it was finally my turn to order, I couldn’t go past one (well, actually two) of the cruffins - made famous right here at Mr. Holmes. They are are a cross between a croissant and a muffin. And if you thought it couldn’t get better than that, they’re filled with flavours such as Mexican coffee cream, blood orange curd, milk chocolate malt and pineapple upside-down cake. There's an exciting flavour for every day of the week, with a brand new menu released each month. The day I was there, the flavour was caramelised white chocolate and, oh my, I can't even begin to describe how yummy it was! The pastry had the perfect amount of flakiness and the sweetness was balanced out by the creaminess of the filling. That being said, I’m a total sweet tooth, so my measure may not be accurate!
While I was beyond satisfied with what I chose, my eyes glimmered with greed as I saw the rest of the pastries in the cabinet. There were savoury danishes, giant cookies, and croissants galore. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to go back. While I may not have tried all the delicious pastries on offer, I sure did snap up the opportunity to take a photo in front of the Instagram icon, the “I got baked in San Francisco” wall.
Once a large, privately owned saltwater pool complex, these beautiful ruins, look out over the ocean from the cliffs of the Outer Richmond neighbourhood. You can see the baths and Seal Rocks from the nearby Cliff House, or admire them from the viewing area at the beginning of the Land’s End Trail. And what a perfect day for admiring it was!
LANDS END TRAIL
San Francisco is bursting with opportunities to get out and explore some good ol' Northern California nature. We walked this trail, which begins at Sutro Baths and winds around the coastline of the San Francisco Bay, looking out to the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge. It's mostly flat and only five-and-a-half kilometres long - a nice leisurely stroll!
After finishing trail, we headed down to Baker Beach to soak up some sun rays beneath the bridge. There were even people swimming in the ocean on this warm and sunny mid-winter's day!
PARADING DOWN POLK
Like other streets in this gridded city, Polk street is long - extending from Ghiradelli Square all the way to Market Street. We spent the afternoon exploring the Russian Hill/Polk Gulch parts of it - browsing vintage shops, thrift stores and boutiques and calling in at the light and airy, Scandinavian-style Saint Frank Coffee to caffeinate along the way.
BILLY GOAT HILL
This hilltop park between the Noe Valley and Diamond Heights neighbourhoods has killer views out over Downtown San Francisco. We came here in search of the perfect sunset and that cute little rope swing that we’d seen in photos. Unfortunately, some loser had cut the swing down. Apparently, this is a reoccurring thing - some kind person will replace it, only for it to be cut down again and again. Either way though, the views were epic! But we were sidetracked from the waiting for sunset by the thought of fish tacos.
The sun had set, our tummies were rumbling and it was taco time in Lower Nob Hill! We swung in to this Mexican-inspired cantina on Sutter Street for the goods.
After a day of traversing the city, we headed back to the comfort of the Wyndham Canterbury Hotel to curl up in our pyjamas and watch 27 Dresses with a pint (each) of Halo Top ice-cream! It was the perfect way to end an adventure-filled day.