Saturday, June 22, 2013

Cable Cars, Chocolate, and a Crooked Street, Oh My!

And now for the main event! For the next two weeks or so, this blog will be getting some MAJOR California love. I hope you are ready! If I were a good blogger, these posts would've happened weeks ago, but a good blogger I am not. And that's ok. To sum it up, we spent the first part of our trip exploring San Francisco, then drove down the Pacific Coast Highway to Monterey and Big Sur, and then finished things up in Wine Country. Today I will be blogging about our first day in good ole San Fran.

Our travel day started on the Sunday morning after Kyle's graduation, and our first stop from Atlanta was a layover in Dallas. On the way to Dallas, our pilot pointed out the Mississippi River, which was really cool to see since I had never seen it before. It would be neat to see in person one day as opposed to 30,000+ feet in the air, but I'll take it!

We quickly grabbed lunch at the Dallas airport and before we knew it it was time for the last leg of our flight to San Francisco. On the way out to California, we saw Lake Powell in Utah and even got a glimpse of Half Dome in Yosemite (Kyle was freaking out!). I originally planned to read a book or sleep on the flight out there, but I couldn't keep my eyes away from the window, taking in the beautiful landscapes. What a gorgeous view!

We arrived safe and sound at the San Francisco airport around 1:30 in the afternoon and immediately called our moms to wish them a Happy Mother's Day (yes, that's how long ago we took this trip). Our next mission was to figure out how the heck we were going to get to our hotel from the airport. One thing people always complain about in Atlanta is the lack of public transportation options, and I think San Francisco is the complete opposite. There are too many! Or at least too many for these car-driving Atlanta natives. We finally decided to take the BART (aka the San Francisco MARTA equivalent and cheapest option). The BART took us within walking distance of our hotel, and we felt a little silly walking around downtown with our rolly bags behind us, but thankfully we weren't the only ones. Eventually we found our hotel (Hotel Union Square), freshened up, and came back out ready to explore the city. Here is the view of Union Square from our hotel room:

The first thing we decided to do was take a cable car ride--a quintessential thing to do in San Francisco. Our hotel was really close to one of the stops, so we bought some tickets and waited in line for a pretty good bit.

Eventually we were off up the hills of San Francisco! One thing that surprised me about the cable cars was that they weren't just a tourist attraction, the locals actually used them to get around. In a city where practically no one drives, I guess it makes sense to take advantage of any mode of transportation you can get!

Near the end of our cable car ride, we passed by a section of Lombard Street. We knew Lombard was a place we wanted to check out, so when we got off the cable car we turned around and made the trek over to it. And man, it was a hike! Check out this hill (one of many we climbed to get there):

Our little hike was worth it in the end, though. Lombard Street is known as the crookedest street in the world with its 8 hairpin turns (you might recognize it from the movie Love Bug). For some reason I thought that this little section alone was Lombard Street, but it actually runs all throughout the city. It's funny how you have preconceived notions of a place in your head, but in reality it's totally different. And in real life this was a pretty neat sight to see!

If you turn around from where I was standing in the picture above, this is the rest of Lombard Street continuing down the hill.

After taking pictures at the bottom, we decided to climb the staircase and take more pictures at the top. We had buns of steel after this trip, for real!

I loved all the hydrangeas in the landscape design. So pretty!

The view of the Bay from the top of Lombard Street. 

From Lombard we walked back over to the area around Ghirardelli Square. And yes, we found a stationary cable car to take some touristy pictures with. I couldn't resist!

Next we explored around Ghirardelli Square, where the original Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory is housed. When you walk in one of the Ghirardelli stores, they hand you free chocolate samples. My kind of place! We may or may not have walked in several different times (different doors everytime, duh).

There was a neat green space in front of Ghirardelli Square with a small beach. This is where we had our first sighting of the Golden Gate Bridge!

You can barely see it through the afternoon haze, but the Golden Gate Bridge is right to the left of my head over that pier in the background. I will save my gushing over the Golden Gate Bridge for the next post, but y'all, it is seriously one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.

After walking around some more, we found a sushi place for dinner (don't remember the name) and then it was off to bed for these jet-lagged geezers. We needed to get some beauty rest for our big bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge the next day. Which will be coming next on the blog--YAY!  


  1. I want to go to San Francisco so bad!! Those hills are crazy. And Lombard Street?? So cool. Can't wait to see the bridge pictures!

    1. You would love San Francisco! And it would probably make you feel like you were right back in Europe. We heard lots of French, Spanish, German, and those who did speak English had a British or Australian accent. We met some pretty cool people. :)



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