Does traveling elicit a new, refreshing spirit within you, or does it just have that affect on me? I always feel so much freedom; can you relate? It allows me to see this fun world we live in from so many new perspectives, and I will share a couple with you that I had the absolute pleasure of experiencing in the Golden Gate City, aka San Francisco.
B O L D • A N D • B R I G H T
Visiting the city radiated so much love throughout me, and I cannot curb my excitement with expressing it. Child-like giddiness shined as I prepared to get my “tourist” on. And if you read my previous travel blog that recounted my trip to Oregon, you would know that I was a little terrified of flying, but I believe I handled my flight better this time around, with prayer and confidence in the pilot’s expertise. But oh, how I loved this city and wish I had more time do all the fabulous things it has to offer. From the moment we left the airport (in an Uber of course, because that is how everyone gets around there), I was so enamored by the artistic graffiti of bold and bright. Art is spectacular to me, and I enjoyed interpreting the stories conveyed through their amazing work. The ride to the hotel made me feel like I was entering an urban masterpiece always under construction.
A • C H U R R O • T O • D I E • F O R
After checking in, my adventurous spirit began to seep through my pores. Leggings, a jacket, and sneakers were the perfect combination for San Francisco’s End-of-March weather. My cousins and I started our bay adventure with a visit to Boudin in Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch. If you are unfamiliar with the restaurant, it is a very quaint, yet rather large, bakery with delicious sandwiches on their famous bread. After our grumbling tummies were fed, we made our way to the local churro stand, on the way to watch the sea lions on Pier 39. By the way, those churros are to-die-for, literally, as I was attacked by a huge seagull for it as soon as we stopped to look at the sea lions; I assume he sensed it was my first rodeo and that he could somehow wrestle it away from me, which was NOT going to happen!
B O N • A P E T I T E
A few of my favorite memories were accompanied by the sunset that first evening: city night lights and lots of food! It is almost as if you get two cities in one when you are visiting from dusk till dawn. The lights make such a spectacular difference and I enjoyed every part of this. Our dinner reservation was in the Little Italy section of the city at the exceptional Mona Lisa Ristorante. Have you heard the saying “I can’t even?”because that was my response while nearly eating my plate; the cuisine was THAT good! The authenticity of our waiters and dinner was received with so much appreciation – especially the homemade manicotti (not pictured) and dessert. What is Italian for Bon appetite?! I definitely give this place 5 stars, and highly recommend it if you are craving a fine Italian meal.
O U T S I D E • L O O K I N G • I N
Earlier, I mentioned perspective. And this memory is another one for the books. It was when I went out to sea on the beautiful red and white ferry you see in the photos above. It took us out on tour to the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz! I had done this before when I was younger, and not nearly as interested as I am now. There is so much history to San Francisco, and I was especially astonished to learn how many large earthquakes tore down businesses and homes across the bay. One hit so hard that it started a fire that burned for four days! I could not imagine the distress that the residents must have experienced. I was amazed when I heard how many survivors slept in tents as their city and homes were being rebuilt; what a deep representation of strength and love for their roots, who they were and what they stood for. It was intriguing to me, and this is why: when you walk the streets of San Francisco, some areas reek of sewage, there is trash on the ground, ongoing construction is everywhere, and many buildings have been around for decades, so you can imagine their condition. But while I was on the ferry, none of that “stuff” mattered from the outside looking-in, which is how I imagine the locals felt when tragedy hit their home. What really mattered was community, love, and hope during their reincarnation. I am sure you have experienced a similar experience at some point in your life; I know I have. And you can see for yourself, or maybe feel this way about your own hometown, but San Francisco is a phenomenally established city, therefore, it’s no wonder people from all over the world come to explore its core values.
B E A U T Y • F O R • A S H E S
And then there is Alcatraz, because who knew that this once so dark and eerie place would become such an interesting artifact? Some of my favorite photographs were of this island, which is interesting in a contradictory way, considering it was once a maximum security prison. For me, it simply represented the verse “beauty for ashes” (Isaiah 61:3) because, over time, light will always outshine the darkest of places if we allow ourselves to witness it.
In an obvious conclusion …
San Francisco is a great travel destination, however, I highly recommend giving yourself more than a weekend to delve into the city’s stunning sight; I promise it will be worth it! My hope is that as you’ve read through my experience here that you will find the inspiration to visit places that will excite your adventurous whim. I know for myself, it can be easy to acclimate to my every day surroundings, and over time, become too complacent. I find that living is much more than merely surviving. We need experience; opportunities to push us out of our comfort zone and into growth, and last but certainly not least, we need perspective, and I am certain that traveling presents this to us in the most phenomenal ways.