Today was “America Day” for our group. And if you’ve been on any kind of organised tour around the states, I’m pretty sure you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
Over the past few weeks we’d made it our job to acquire as much USA themed tat from Walmart as we could. And when I say “tat” I mean, transferable tattoos, cheesy snapbacks, knee high socks, flags .. Walmart didn’t fall short.
So, as we arrived in San Francisco – our first stop being the Golden Gate Bridge – all of our outfits screamed ‘major tourists’ as we piled out of the van and stood for a group photo. Cheesy. Classy. And everything Trek America stands for.
The bridge itself was a welcomed sight. I’d watched dozens of movies and seen hundreds of photos with this bad boy in the background, so seeing it in person was pretty damn cool.
We couldn’t even make out the top as it disappeared up into the famous San Fran ‘fog’ – yeah, I could already sense the temperate drop .. I mean, were those goosebumps on my legs? – but that only made it look more dreamy in photos.
One major word of advice: watch out for cyclists! The bridge was ridiculously busy which made taking photos a lil hard (and also slightly death defying).
Whilst in San Fran, we were all booked onto an organised tour that was included as part of our Trek America trip. It was definitely .. quirky.
We spent a whole two hours exploring purely China Town and it kinda took it out of me. Even if we did get to sample numerous herbal teas to help with stress, back pain and tiredness. As a group we covered a lot of ground, taking photos of the skyline and other quirky buildings, even stumbling across the church used in the second Sister Act film.
And several times we saw some really cool vintage cars which (even though I’m not a car person) I did fall in love with. They also made for some decent photos which I was chuffed with.
By now it was well past midday and we were all kinda starving. So we tipped our guide (kinda a crucial thing in the US) before walking down towards Fisherman’s Wharf. Most of our group had booked tickets for Alcatraz, which *major sad face* I was absolutely gutted not to be doing.
But a few of us had spotted signs for an “In-N-Out Burger” and already had our minds set. Dirty American burgers beat fish and chips hand down.
Plus, “In-N-Out” has their so called ‘secret menu’ which isn’t actually listed on the board, so with a quick google you can pull up a dozen other burger and milkshake alternatives you can have.
Would definitely recommend ordering a “double-double” burger; it’s greasy and cheesy and basically heaven in a lil bun. If you actually order a bun that is. A few of us misread the ‘secret menu’ and were served just patties. I’m not kidding.
Whilst the rest of the group went and did Alcatraz (still megz upset that I didn’t get to do this .. totes going to use this as an excuse to come back), we did a little shopping and explored the piers.
We decided a venture into Walgreens was necessary as I’d never been before. And what was a trip to the states without hitting up Walmart, Target, CVS and all the other clichéd stores at least once? Exactly.
I kinda over indulged in the Covergirl section (I blame the soothing aircon as an excuse to shop) and may have spent my entire budget for the day in one blow.
We decided to check out San Fran’s ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not’ as we were offered discounted tickets and still had an hour to kill. Safe to say it was almost identical to the one in London, but a good laugh if you’d never been before.
Pier 39 was extremely busy (as you’d expect), but full of more shops where we found baseball jerseys and my favourite, Bubba Gump! Plus it was also really nice to just look out at the ocean.
And of course, what better a way to end our time in San Francisco than ordering Chinese take out and playing pool back in the hostel.