Last year, I found myself as the proud owner of Southwest Airlines airfare credit that was about to expire- problem was I didn’t know where to go. I know what you are thinking: what kind of problem is that???
Let’s just say it was complicated. It wasn’t the right time. Tickets to places I would consider were either cheaper than the credit or way more expensive than the credit. I would have to still spend money on a rental car and accommodation. The flight times were rubbish i.e. either very late arrival or really early departure. The layovers were horrendous. I didn’t have enough vacation days. Southwest only flies from Indy to weird places. I had every excuse in the book- even made up ones!
Then Bingo came to the rescue! Bingo is a friend from high school and no, Bingo is not her real name. How she came by that name is a secret I won’t reveal though, at least not yet :).
Bingo lives in the San Francisco area and had been inviting me over for a while. It had been a long time since I had been to California so I decided I could kill two, no three birds with one stone.
- Visit with a friend I hadn’t seen since high school
- Visit California again (I love being by the water, the beach)
- Use the airfare credit before it expired
So there I was- off to California! And I didn’t even have to take any days off, didn’t have to pay for hotel, and didn’t have to pay for a rental car. And if I played my cards right, I wouldn’t have to pay for any food- jk!
When Bingo asked me what I wanted to do in San Francisco, I said I didn’t know- all I knew was I wanted to see the Golden Gate Bridge. That was the extent of my pre-trip research and I had already pictured all the wonderful shots of the bridge I was going to capture and how my instagram page was going to be ‘lit’. Bingo said, “say no more”.
The next morning, we took the BART to Embarcadero. I was so excited to go on the BART- reminded me of London and New York City- the whole subway life. She told me to wear a scarf and I laughed: this was June in sunny California, miss me with that mess! I took the scarf just in case, and a jacket. Let’s just say I needed it, and then some.
We decided the best thing was to do the Big Bus Tour- the hop on hop off bus. I had had a good experience with it in Paris a few weeks before so it didn’t take much to sell it to me. If we drove it would be more stressful because of traffic, parking fees, and even the struggle to find parking. The bus would be simpler. More expensive, but simpler. We bought the tickets and started our adventure. But first, we had to walk to the stop at the Visitor’s Center. It was so sunny and beautiful, I didn’t mind one bit!
We happened upon a bustling farmer’s market where we got the best chocolate treats to taste and bought some delicious cherries. Then we kept walking past pier after pier, sometimes stopping to take photos.
So we finally got on the bus and rested our weary legs. We got off at Union Square because there seemed to be a lot of action going on. It was an Indian festival so we took this opportunity to taste and buy some Indian food and watch some of the performances. And of course, get our picture by the heart sculpture :).
We got back on the bus and passed by some interesting parts of San Francisco- here are some of the pictures I took on the ride.
As we approached the Golden Gate Bridge, I got really excited but that dampened drastically when I noticed how densely foggy it was. It was NOTHING like the pictures I had seen online. I asked Bingo if we just came on a bad day and she said no- most of the time, it was like that. I felt duped. I thought everything on the internet was true. And always true. LOL. I decided to make the best of it since I didn’t know when next I would be back.
After this, we got back on the bus and saw a few more places. We stopped at what we thought was the closest stop to Lombard street. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t- but we had to walk a long way to get there! But I had to see it- it’s only the crookedest street in the world! And as most people know, the hills in San Francisco are killer! And we had to walk up a very steep and long one to get to it, and down the hill again at Lombard street.
By this time, we were hungry so we headed back towards Fisherman’s Wharf. On the way, we saw some more interesting things.
We met up with another friend from high school who also lives close to the San Francisco area and we had dinner. It was nice to catch up with her as I also hadn’t seen her since high school.
We also went to pay the sea lions a short visit, the main attraction at Pier 39!
It was a packed day and Bingo did her best to make sure I had a very fun day in San Francisco. Of course, there is a lot more to do in San Francisco and I barely scratched the surface so that’s why I went back this year, and why I will go back again :).
The next day, we went for a run in a nearby park and I saw a bunch of people flying some pretty kites.
After the run, we grabbed my stuff, wheeled my carry-on to a monastery where we had Thai food for breakfast, then headed to Berkeley for some amazing gelato, then rushed off to the airport.
… and so ended my best weekend in San Francisco. Thanks Bingo, you’re the best! ❤
Have you ever been to San Francisco? What’s your favorite part?