Travel

San Francisco + Alcatraz

May 11, 2016

I headed west last weekend to visit a really good friend that lives in San Francisco. It had been almost a year and a half since my first visit out there, so it was time to get back! I’ve lucked out with weather because both times I’ve been there because it was absolutely perfect.

Friday
It took almost six hours to get from STL to SFO because of a connecting flight in Denver, but I was ready to hit the ground running…literally. I made a pit stop at Nicole’s office before heading to her place since she had to work the rest of the afternoon. I’m training for a half marathon so I decided that would be a perfect time to get a 10 mile run in. I ran from her apartment down near the Golden Gate Bridge before turning around to head back.

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Well I got 3 blocks from the apartment and tripped over uneven sidewalk and fell. Hard. Two very scraped up knees and a hand later, I called it quits after 7 miles. I had to walk to a pharmacy to buy bandages after that. My knees are still fairly bruised a week later, but healing pretty well.

We went to Uva Enoteca in the Lower Haight for dinner that night with a coworker. Such a cute little Italian place. We split a salad, pizza and stuff shell pasta. It was all super tasty.

Saturday
Saturday started off with a trip to CAW Pacific (Craftsman and Wolves) for coffee before heading down to Pier 33 for our trip to Alcatraz. The cafe had this really neat hanging display of a motorized bike parts on one of the walls.

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The boat ride to Alcatraz is only 10 or 15 minutes long and you get a great view of the Bay area. Once at Alcatraz, you’re free to roam and take in the island at your own pace. Not everything is accessible to visitors, but enough to stay entertained for 2-3 hours. The admission price includes the boat rides to and from, visiting the island itself and also an audio tour. I’m not the biggest fan of audio tours, but considering this one has won an award it was worth listening to.

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The audio tour consists primarily of the main cell house and a couple surrounding areas. I knew was Alcatraz was, but I wasn’t terribly familiar with its stories and the events that unfolded there, so it was pretty interesting learning about it all. I kept comparing it to the tour of the old Idaho State Pen that Tim and I had toured about two years ago in Boise. One thing I did not like about Alcatraz was how staged it was for visitors. The Idaho State Pen left everything untouched and as-is after it closed, whereas cells were cleared out and staged at Alcatraz.

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The rest of Saturday was spent walking through the farmers market down the Embarcadero. We stopped for hummus samples, bought macaroons from Tout Sweet Patisserie, got this delicious roasted cheese & bread dish from Cowgirl Creamery and then an empanada from El Porteño. From there we headed to Sight Class Coffee in the Mission. Since we were in the Mission, I wanted to find Jessica Hische’s studio because the design nerd in me really wanted to see it. After snapping a couple pictures we continued walking through the Mission and checked out Dolores Park, which was absolutely packed. We went to Town Hall Restaurant for dinner that night and had some fancy (and delicious) fried chicken and jalapeño corn bread.

Sunday
Sunday was our active, but lazy day. We started out with coffee (again) before grabbing our Getaround car for the day. The service comes in handy for when you don’t have a car, but at the same time it was more expensive than traditionally renting a car for a full 24 hours like we do on trips.

We headed north out of the city into Marin County to run some errands and then up to the Novato area for a friend’s going away party–they’re moving to Australia! It was really great to meet some of Nicole’s friends I hadn’t met on my last trip out.

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The rest of the trip was pretty low key and I was picked up the next morning before sunrise to head to the airport. We have plenty on our to-do list left for the city so I’ll be back again. In fact, there’s talks of a girls trip to Napa in 2017 so I’ll be really excited to head out that way!

–m.

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