Oh California! Everyone I know sings the praises of the natural beauty of this state so naturally I had to check it out for myself. A dear but distant friend quickly welcomed me into her home for a few nights and as per usual I walked the city from front to back and made frequent stops to indulge in each neighborhoods food.
True to my imagination, the diversity of the vegetation and the calm steady temperatures of the area won my heart. Succulents were literally everywhere!
Caroline's lovely home
Unbeknownst to many, San Francisco's Golden Gate Park is even larger than Central Park. The first thing I saw upon entering the park was this giant eucalyptus tree with the peeling rainbow bark.
Nestled in the park is this painted glass building that dates back to the late 1800s. The Conservatory of Flowers houses much more than just flowers though. Venus fly traps, giant lily pads and all sorts of tropical fruits and ferns. I caught the free tour as I was coming in which I would highly recommend. The 2,000 plant species in this building are closely packed and without a tour I doubt I would have known what I was looking at most of the time.
Some of my favorites from the Conservatory: Chenille plant, Maiden's Hair and Watermelon plants.
No city trip is a complete city trip for me without ducking into a used book store. I stumbled upon Dog Eared Books on Valencia Street and was immediately taken in by the handmade journals made from antique books on display. For only 10 bucks it wasn't hard for me to snag the journal with the beetle on the cover and then peruse the rest of the extensive collection.
I did mention delicious food right? Here is a peak at the amazing meal I had at Gracias Madre - full post to come.
One day during my visit I rented a bike from Fisherman's Wharf and rode over to Sausalito. The views were incredible and during the ride back on the ferry we went right by Alcatraz.
My advice for San Francisco, walk everywhere you possibly can. Experience the different neighborhoods for what they are. Ride the street car to the Castro, walk up 22nd street and feel the burn in your thighs and look back to see the view, pop your head into the cute shops and eat eat eat to your heart's content!