As we left the BART station, we found ourselves stepping out into a bustling street full of arts and crafts stands. The handcrafted trinkets were in stark contrast to the concrete and asphalt of the urban sprawl.
I love the clock tower, but the views of the bay along the walkway were lovely. This was the first really sunny day we'd experienced in the area as the past two days had been overcast and a bit misty.
Once we found our lodgings, we realized we still had quite some time left to kill yet before we could check in. While in the Embarcadero area previously the Exploratorium had caught Antho's eye, so we decided to head that way and encountered the Westfield mall while on our way. Isn't the ceiling beautiful?
After two nights at Casa Loma, we had to pack up and prepare to move on to another hotel for our third night. Rather than stay in the same location for the entire trip, we thought it would be more interesting to spend some time in different neighborhoods during our stay to get a more thorough feel for the city. Before leaving Casa Loma, we utilized their shared showers... The last time I used shared showers was when I was in Kyoto's 9hour Capsule hotel, so this was a bit different to be certain. :P
After hoofing it to the bridge and back across, we stopped for some grub then headed up Fillmore to our hotel, Casa Loma. This was our last night staying there and after all the walking we were looking forward to stretching out with our feet up…but first, we had to get there!
En route we passed this cute little joint, Pizza Orgasmica; the original sin. Oh, those cheeky pizza people.
Initially, we had planned to bike across, because how fun does that sound?!
A lot, actually, if you're like us. We like active adventures!
However, we found that the only places to rent bikes from near the bridge are still quite some ways away from the bridge itself, and by this point we'd been walking about 8 hours and it was getting late so we were worried about getting the bikes back in time.
Neither of us are joggers, so running was an unrealistic option for exploring the city in all it's quirks, rental cars are expensive (and parking even worse), and the bike rentals seemed like a great idea until it came to all those beautiful but steep hills.
So, we walked.
Sure, we also took the BART, the busses, and the occasional trolley car from time to time, but mostly we walked.
San Francisco is a city that, despite it's hills, is probably best explored by foot. The neighborhoods aren't nearly so far apart as they might initially appear; walking from Japantown to Chinatown took us maybe an hour and that's with frequent stops for photographs along the way and sipping some of the green tea I picked up at Nijiya. Fisherman's wharf was a quick trolley ride from there.
Even our sojourn from the Golden Gate Park to the bridge wasn't terrible, and we'd already walked to the park from our hotel near Haight.
Walking gives you the opportunity to see things you might miss out on when zipping past in a car, or to stop at your leisure to smell the flowers or admire the view without worrying about causing a traffic incident. On our walk from the park to the bridge, we passed a small produce store where we picked up sugar dates, peaches and fresh Rainier cherries for fresh snacking during our hike.
If you're into movies, you might recognize it from the movie Heart and Souls with Robert Downey Jr. Antho showed me the movie a couple months back, so I was able to appreciate that tidbit of trivia. :)
The building is separated into various themed environment rooms, catering to the needs of differing varieties of flowers. Overflowing with blossoms and as beautiful as this place is, this is going to be one seriously photo heavy post. Ye of slower inter webs be warned!
Haight Street is a haven of art and culture overflowing with colors and eclectic creations. Famous landmarks include the Grateful Dead house on 710 Ashbury, which we made a pilgrimage to on July 10th (7/10) at 7:10pm, but I digress, this post is about the rest of Haight street!
The area is known for being a bit "hippie-dippie", which is perfectly fine by us.
Personally, I LOVED all the murals and street art adorning the buildings in the area.
I think every city really should have an area where they let the creativity flow freely…
Places for artists of all varieties to commune.
That was more or less the vibe I got on Haight street, so check out the photos below !
For our last two nights in the Bay Area we chose to stay in West Oakland, just across the Bay from the Embarcadero area with the Jack London Square ferry being a reasonable walk away. Having never used AirBnB we decided to give it a shot as the rates were quite a bit more reasonable than the hotels in the area and we'd heard positive things from people who had used the site. There were a lot of places to choose from but we decided to stay with Jackie and Christian in their lovely home. It takes a special kind of individual to open their own abodes and welcome travelers into their space and our hosts were exceptionally kind. They know the area quite well as proud residents and provide maps, guides, or advice. They graciously offer the use of their kitchen and laundry facilities, so if you're traveling for a long stint it's quite refreshing to have the option to prepare a home cooked meal or some freshly laundered clothes.
Our first two nights we stayed in hotel Casa Loma! We were booked into a room with two twin beds, which was fun. Through the window behind Antho was a beautiful church which held within a surprising secret…
San Francisco City Hall is a beautiful building and as we walked along Mission St we headed straight towards it en route to our first hotel. Throughout our stay in San Francisco we stayed in 3 different areas, first at Casa Loma on Fillbert.
Our first day in San Francisco and fresh off the BART we found ourselves on Mission Street early on a Wednesday morning…evidently the same time that Mission Street converts into an open air farmer's market! Sweet providence! This is the largest farmer's market I've encountered stateside, so it was quite an exciting place for me. It was only natural I had to snap a gratuitous amount of photos between happily sampling the various slices of fruit being handed out.
To celebrate our one year anniversary Antho & I ditched the scorching summer heat of Vegas for the cooler breezes of San Francisco for 6 days. It was an all around wonderful trip! As you may have noticed we really like to travel fairly often having gone to Los Angeles in April and hitting spots like the Whiskey, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, and Union Station as well as having gone to L.A. last fall. It's always nice to explore someplace new and when the tickets are going for as low as $44 it's pretty budget friendly. Hopefully we'll be celebrating our anniversary with new locations for many years to come!
For the duration of my stay in Seoul, I stayed at Yim's guest house. It wasn't the fanciest of joints, but the staff were helpful and polite, lodging was comfortable and the room completely served it's purpose well without breaking the bank. All wins in my book.
Since I had some time to kill in Seoul prior to my flight but still wasn't feeling especially well due to a bout of food poisoning, I decided to hang out relatively close to the hotel I had been staying in. There was a nearby bus stop with a direct shuttle to the airport so I felt comfortable in my timeframe.
While exploring the area I happened upon the beautiful temple tucked away unexpectedly.
As the clock was winding it's way ever later it was eventually time to return to Union Station to catch our ride home. We opted for the Megabus, which departed some time after 12:30. There was some issue with the bus causing it to arrive late and our departure to be delayed some, but wasn't a terrible inconvenience as we were pleased just to be seated somewhat comfortably for awhile.
After dinner, everyone agreed that going to a bathhouse would be fun so we split into teams and traveled to Dragon Hill Spa. The place is pretty famous evidently and given how much character and the variety of amenities it's really not that hard to see why.
Performing as 710Visuals we've collaborated with musicians from a wide array of musical styles and tempos and that's a huge part of the fun as every show is something different with each band bringing something new to the table.
For the Fourth of July we collaborated with my friend Marcus to do a show with his band, Toxic Dump. Between it being Antho & I's anniversary, the fireworks, BBQ and festivities it was an all around great evening.
After our adventures in Santa Monica, we made our way to Union Station. This was my first time in the area and it was wonderful to see such a historic landmark. Personally, I'm a fan of the juxtaposition of seeing normally bustling areas when they're deserted, which you may have noticed with my photos of Namdaemun market at night. The area around Union Station was no different, with normally vibrant tourist areas quite and empty during the evening.