Category: Traveling

San Francisco Highlights

After my first visit to San Francisco, I described Reasons to Heart San Francisco.  Well, now that I live here, my highlights so far, include:

Public Transit

You can get just about anywhere by foot, bike, bus or subway.  Not only does this make it easier to get around, you become more active by walking to most places.  If you go out for a few drinks, you do not have to worry about who will be driving home.

Parks

There are parks everywhere! Although it is a small city, you can easily access a park every few blocks.  The parks are extremely dog friendly and you can take your dog off the leash at most parks.

Fort Funston National Park

Food

San Francisco is the food meca capital (maybe after NYC).  The block I live on alone has Mexican, Salvadoran, Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Southern home cooking restaurant choices.  The food possibilities are endless when deciding where to eat out.  And if you want to eat in, you can go to a produce market and cook a meal for relatively cheap.

Mexican food from MIJITA in the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market

Weather

Not too cold and not too hot is how I would describe the San Francisco weather.  It becomes extremely windy and cold at night and you always need to carry a jacket.  Once the sun comes out though, the temperature increases a good 10-20 degrees. Perfect sweatshirt weather but nice enough to lay out in the sun.

Festivals

There are countless festivals going on in the city and it seems every weekend there is something free to attend.  Food, music, art and drink festivals are the norm and who would get sick of those?

100th Annual Bay to Breakers race in the Golden Gate Park

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Spirit of Las Vegas

My first time to Vegas was just as over-the-top as I had imagined.  Everything was bigger and more tacky than I had expected.  I took in the sights and sounds as I would any other city and I can say there is definitely nowhere else on earth compared to Vegas.  Positioned in the middle of a hot, dry and sunny as heck dessert, the city reaches maximum excitement after the clock strikes midnight.  Beautiful women line up for the clubs and gamblers in all shapes and sizes play black jack, craps or slots until the sun rises once again.

The “Spirit of Las Vegas”, in my opinion, would be “Play hard or go home.”  Very few people can win big money playing 1 cent slot machines all day nor would it be entertaining for more than a few hours.  Encouraged guests spend, spend, spend until they eventually win. Once they win, they are conveniently located right next door to a Tiffany’s, Prada, Marc Jacobs or any other high-end designer store for their heart’s desire.  Or they can attend a fancy new club and order $20 drinks by the dozen, order a lady just like you would room service or maybe, just maybe, gamble your winnings all away again.  Seems like a vicious cycle but I do see the attraction; it is hard not to miss the shining lights of the Las Vegas strip.

Reasons to Heart San Francisco

I recently visited SF for the first time and instantly loved the city. I was a bit skeptical at first because the person I went with told me he “loved” the city. My response was, “How can you love a city?” Well, apparently you can. Here are just a few reasons why.

1. The errie fog that takes over the city everyday around 3 PM. It is a bit odd and mystical at first but then it grows on you. It is a nice indicator of time. It’s like the city is saying, “OK, half your day is over, just a friendly reminder.” The weather in general is chaotic. You will be in 70 degree weather on one side of town and then drive 3 miles and be in 50 degree weather. That aside, the weather is perfect. Never too cold and never too hot.

2. Food, food and more food. There are so many great food spots in SF that it is hard not to eat out all the time. You can go to China town, Little Italy, Fisherman’s warft or anywhere else in the city and get some awesome grub. We stumbled upon this burger joint late at night and it fully satisfied the munchies.

http://www.sfgrubstake.com/

3. Art. Wherever you turn, there is art all over this city. Wanna be artists and acclaimed artists flock to this city probably for inspiration. The painting below was at one of the restaurants we went to and it is absolutely mesmerizing. I could stare at it all day.

4. Clothing. People do not get all “dolled up” to go out. There is a nice mix between being comfortable and looking presentable. You can throw on some nice jeans and a sweater to go out for the night. Although it is laid back, there are a lot of up and coming clothing designers in the area. Oh and did I mention boots! Everyone loves their boots!


5. Activity. There are so many parks, biking routes, and public transportation plus wonderful weather. There is no excuse to not be physically active. There are not many over weight people living in this city probably due to the fact you do not need a car to get places. The city is relatively small in diameter. People walk or take public transportation everywhere. I took the photo below while on a run around the city. I ran into a park on the top of the city which had a breathtaking view.

Eat, sleep and be merry

Reminiscing about my time spent backpacking in Europe, it occurred to me that we Americans needs to stop and smell the roses every once and awhile.  In Spain, there is a siesta (nap time) between 2-5 PM, EVERYDAY! All the stores shut down and people eat, sleep and be merry for 3 hours out of your day.  How amazing would a nap everyday be?

A stroll in the park in Brussels, Belguim.

I constantly find myself feeling rushed, behind and unable to enjoy the moment.  Even driving my car has become a hassle.  I use to enjoy going for a drive to clear my mind, but now I feel like if I am not going somewhere, or accomplishing something, I should not be “wasting time”.  We cram so much into our daily lives that it becomes difficult to relax and enjoy the small pleasures in life; such as

*The sunset on a summer evening

*A beautiful walk in the park

*A dogs unconditional love and kisses

*A really tasty sundae

*A book you cannot stop reading

View of Luzern, Switerland after a hike up the mountain.

If you have ever visited Europe or plan to, you will see how easy it is to live in the moment.  Europeans enjoy their stroll down the sidewalk to the bus stop every morning.  If the bus is running late, it is not the end of the world; they will eventually get to their destination.  In the meantime, they enjoy their double espresso latte.

What small pleasures could you enjoy everyday?