Returning Home Part 1: Exploring California as a Tourist

Sunday, 12 April 2015
I wasn't planning on going home within the first year of moving to Australia. The opportunity to present at a conference in Florida presented itself and let's be honest, who would pass up going to a conference in the same city as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter? I also knew that going only to Florida wouldn't be an option, if I was in the States, I needed to see my family. Thus an SF, Detroit, Orlando holiday was born! 

San Francisco is probably one of my favourite cities in the world. I realise I haven't seen enough of the world to make this a fair comparison but of the places I have been, SF is a clear winner. Great to visit, would never live there. I love exploring this city. First stop after getting off the plane: In n Out. Lord have I missed In n Out! Is it the greatest burger you'll ever have in your life? No. Is it the greatest fast food burger you'll ever have in your life? Hands down, no questions asked YES!!! When you start having dreams about a fast food joint you know you may have a problem. My sista from another mista Marz made the trek up to SF to explore with us for a day. I was super happy that Janice made it up too! Here are some of the explorations we went on in SF:

  • Cable Cars
    : No trip to SF is complete without a ride on the historic Cable Car. There are a couple of different lines that run through San Fran. We caught the car a stop up from Union Square after stopping to take some pictures with the SF heart. We took the car all the way to Lombard Street (aka the most crooked street in the world). 
  • Lombard Street: We hopped off here and walked down the street to snap the iconic touristy shots. If you are in SF and have a car, definitely do the drive once in your life. It's extra fun if you drive a manual!
  • Ghirardelli Square & Hyde Street Pier: Marz, being the wealth of knowledge she is, was able to tell us heaps about Hyde Street Pier. When I see water, I get distracted like a dog seeing a squirrel, gravitating towards it like I'm going into the light. She was able to tell us all about the historic ship that was missing its masts. If you're into boats, it's a pretty cool place to see. If anything about the water fascinates you, you'll be just fine! We then walked up to Ghirardelli Square. Ghirardelli Square is a chocolate lovers dream! They handed out free samples of the chocolate, and you get to see the chocolatiers make the chocolate yumminess. This is also where we found Unicorn and Org!
  • Golden Gate Bridge: How can anyone go to San Fran and not see the Golden Gate Bridge? It would be like travelling to Egypt and not visiting the pyramids. We got the brilliant idea to walk from Ghirardelli Square to the Golden Gate. If you have about three hours to spare and like to walk, definitely worth the hike! The walk alongside the water is beautiful. There are also heaps of good people watching. 
  • Alcatraz: If you're planning on travelling to Alcatraz (the Rock) be sure to book it in advance. I've seen it book out almost a month prior. The Rock is fascinating to me. I was like a kid in a candy store exploring the cell block and other areas of the island. Due to the Ai Weiwei art exhibit being on display on the island, sectors that are usually off-limits were open to the public. My favourite: the hospital wing and psych ward. 
  • The Mission: What's better than Mexican food? Mexican food with your Big!! I could not have been happier that she was able to meet up with Ben and me for dinner and drinks! Didn't explore much in this area but would definitely go back and explore more the next time I'm in the area. 
  • Protein style 2x1 with grilled onions and no spread!
  • Livermore Outlets: Technically this isn't in SF. But seeing as shopping in Australia is INSANELY expensive, my wallet and closet needed the trip! Designer clothes at discount prices...its a win all around!
    Doing some hard time
*Please note all this was not done in one day. We spent about 4 days total in the San Fran area before flying to Detroit.*

This was supposed to be the "relaxing" part of the holiday. Time was going to be spent spoiling my nephew (who is the cutest little baby ever! Yea his cuteness has been's a scientific fact!) and seeing the rest of my family.
Spirit of Detroit
A few days were spent babysitting the handsome nugget. Although he is the most well-behaved baby I've ever seen, it was a lot of work. Lil nugget LOVES being held and seeing what everyone is doing. If he can't make direct eye contact with you, the wailing begins. Nugget also appears to really enjoy Aussie accents (hint hint come visit brother and sissy!). Along with heaps of family time, I got to enjoy awesome Polish food in Hamtramck, walk around Downtown and the Joe, and FINALLY see the Henry Ford Museum! I also got my snow fix for the next year!
Cars make me happy!
Have you ever been to San Francisco or Detroit? If so, leave some of your favourite experiences in the comments below! 
Until next time...
Stay curious!

Want to hear more about my trip to the states? Be sure to check out: Returning Home Part 2

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1 comment

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