It’s kind of crazy, but Vincas and I haven’t gotten to take many trips together. Actually, if you know me and my love of traveling, this isn’t just crazy – it’s nuts. Dental school has a way of eating into your time and your budget, though, so the only real trips we’ve taken together have been to Jamaica (for our honeymoon!), Nashville (with friends over NYE the year after we got married), Philadelphia (for a friend’s wedding about a week after I found out I was pregnant with Povi), and St. Augustine (post Vinco graduation trip and our first trip with Povi!). We’ve also traveled to visit my family a whole bunch of times in North Carolina, but that doesn’t really count.
San Francisco was our first ever vacation without Povi.
Not just that, but it was actually my first time being away from Povi for more than about 20 hours. It was
insane a little bit weird leaving him behind, but he’s so independent that I knew he’d have a stupendous time with his grandparents (and he totally did!). We also had an AMAZING time. It’s mind boggling how quickly you get used to sleeping in, lounging about, and not needing to think about another little person’s every single need.
We flew into San Francisco, but stayed with Vinco sister, Gaja, and her husband, Dan, in Oakland. The two are perfect hosts, ready with a list of interesting places for us to visit, stacks of delicious homemade sandwiches for us to eat, a private cabin in their backyard that made our trip feel like a second honeymoon, tons of boardgames to play and good conversations. Our first day there, Gaja took the morning off work (she just happens to work at google!) to give us a bit of a tour. We started out in her old stomping grounds, The Mission. Actually, we really began the day at a delicious bakery, where Gaja and I stuffed our faces full of amazing pastries. Vincas took a few bites, but managed to (somehow!) stick to his low-carb diet. Man has will power. We also made a pitstop for bubble tea, which is pretty much the most fun drink ever. Loaded with snacks, we wandered around as I took photos.
One thing I noticed about San Francisco immediately is how BRIGHT everything is. The houses, the plants, the graffiti – I already miss all the wild bursts of color and vibrant plants. Succulents grow e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.
As someone whose succulents always seem to be dying, I’m tempted to move to California for that reason alone.
We stopped at Doloras Park initially to look at the view, but all three of us got a little over-excited about the giant slide in the (empty-ish) kids park and decided to go down it. We might have gotten a few strange looks, but it was totally #worthit
Once Gaja had to get going, she dropped us off at Golden Gate Park and we went into the California Academy of Sciences and spent a few hours admiring the rainforest and aquarium exhibits, getting motion sickness in the planetarium show, experiencing a California earthquake, and walking on the roof. Going to spend time in San Francisco? I highly recommend this museum. Vincas even spent a solid eight or so minutes filling out the museum survey, while I tapped my feet impatiently and took snapchats of him. Afterwards, we walked across the street to the De Young museum to climb up into the overlook. While the day was pretty cloudy, the view was still stupendous. You could just baaarely see the Golden Gate Bridge. The giftshop in the tower was also full of interesting books. I had to drag Vincas away.
The De Young Museum has a perfect view of San Francisco.
There was a pretty neat art and floral exhibit happening at the De Young museum. While we didn’t pay to go into the main part of the museum, we got to admire some of the exhibits in the entrance hall and near the front doors.
By this point my feet were KILLING me. I had made the classic mistake of underestimating how cold it would be – my Chicago eyes saw high 50s/low 60s and I got WAY too excited. In case you’ve never been to SF, IT’S ALWAYS colder than the forecast makes it seem. At least, that was our experience. I had thankfully brought along a jacket, but my sandals weren’t made for all the trekking and my toes kept getting colder and colder. Nevertheless, we kept on going! Back out through the winding Golden Gate Park, towards Haight Street. We had plans to meet up with one of Vinco best friends for dinner, but knew we had about two more hours to kill. Haight Street was a pretty grand place to do that, with all of its hippy shops, vibrant characters, and interesting history.
After a while, we headed down some of the side streets as well. I just LOVE SF architecture. Each house has towers and swirls and decorations galore, not to mention paint colors of every shade and hue.
Thank goodness I didn’t have a reason to parallel park on these streets, though. That might just be beyond my skill level.
By the time we finished exploring, Vincas and I were dead tired…but were still waiting for our friend to pick us up. We totally collapsed on a bench while we waited, until the chilliness drove us back to Height Street. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before we were zooming off towards Japantown and piping hot bowls of Ramen. Food never tasted so good! Afterwards, our night was rounded off with bar hopping back in The Mission. Exhausted but happy, I’m pretty sure we slept like logs that first night.