When first planning our honeymoon I pitched the idea of Bora Bora – it has always been my number one honeymoon destination. Sadly I didn’t plan on being a student when I got married and Bora Bora was WAY out of our budget.
So we settled on the slightly more wallet friendly Hawaii, with stops in San Francisco on the way out and LA, Santa Barbara and Carmel on the way back for Tom to explore California for the first time.
We flew the new BA route to Oakland, CA just 20 minutes outside of SF (and the flights are half the price!) hopped in a Lyft and headed for our hotel, the Hotel Griffon. The time change is 8 hours which played havoc with my brain esp after 2 sleepless anxiety filled nights so Blue Bottle coffee was high on my agenda.
I seem to have a number of friends and awesome followers who have been to or live in SF so we were not short of recommendations. Our first night we took my PR friend Harry’s advice to hit up La Tech?? A rooftop bar and Mexican restaurant where we arrived just in time to enjoy happy hour margueritas , guac and chips and some other delicious dishes. A huge thunderstorm erupted while we were up there which was pretty spectacular!
I knew I’d probably be up at the crack of dawn so had booked myself in for the 6am Soulcycle class around the corner (not the reason I booked the hotel but a happy coincidence). The perfect way to quell some anxiety, ramp up the endorphins and stretch my legs after a long flight. I love Soulcycle – the music was epic and the studio is so snazzy, however I can’t believe how closely they pack in the bikes. Also the fact that the instructor had to come over to me mid-class and tell me that I was going the wrong way and riding left when everyone else was going right!!
It made me so happy to just jam out for an hour, stop thinking about anything other than the music and relax. And a great way to start the day. Plus I came back to this incredible sunrise…
I am a planner…especially on holiday so our first day was timed out to a T. Grabbed a free coffee and banana from the hotel lobby, quick shower and walk to breakfast at Mama’s on Washington Square. A queue had already formed at 7.45 but breakfast was worth the wait – Tom told me it was his best brekkie of the entire trip.
Our plan for the day was Alcatraz, a must-do for any SF visitor. Our mistake was not getting the very first tickets of the day as the island was already teeming with tourists by our 9.30am tour. Despite being overcrowded, it was still an excellent experience. Both Tom and I love prison shows and films (I think Shawshank is his fave film) so we loved walking around the old prison, learning about its infamous prisoners and the attempted escapes.
I found it really interesting especially learning about the food at the prison – apparently back in the day, prison food had to be nutritious, well presented and palatable – unlike todays strict budget friendly meals. I often wonder what the impact of high sugar, high salt, highly processed food does to impact behaviour in prisons (dietitian geek!).
I’d bought tickets online for the SF Giants vs LA Dodgers baseball game that evening, and so we went off in search of some stash, knowing that it would be cheaper pre-game than at the stadium. It was Tom’s first baseball game and I was excited to know more about a sport than him! I used to go to a lot of the Baltimore Oriel’s and Mets games when I was younger and watch a lot of baseball on TV – I love it.
We had so much fun cheering on the Giant’s, eating ballpark food (actually made me feel quite ill) and fighting off the jetlag. On a side note, our hotel, The Griffon, was perfectly located to walk to AT&T stadium which was really convenient – highly recommend if you’re heading to SF anytime soon.