Around this time last year, myself and my friend Emma were living it up in San Francisco. I had wanted to go and see San Fran and Alcatraz for years. We went for 5 nights and we packed a lot in. Unfortunately, my camera lens started to die while I was there so I took most of my photos on my iPhone. Then to top that off, during the night on the  second night, my phone had some sort of meltdown and I had to bring it to the Apple store the next day where they had no choice but to completely reset it, so I lost all of the photos from the first two days, including Alcatraz. Oh and did I mention that our suitcases never made the flight? Mine turned up within about 15 hours but Emma’s didn’t show for about 48 hours. Sounds like a nightmare doesn’t it?!

To be honest, I forgot about all of those crappy things until I sat down to write this post. They are definitely not the take aways from the trip. The only downer about it is that I don’t have many photos of Alcatraz and I have absolutely none from the food trucks at Presidio Park. 

We fit in so much into such a short trip. We were up at about 6am every day and fell asleep about 10 or 11pm at the latest every night. The day we arrived we went to The Castro District. The Castro was one of the first gay neighbourhoods in the United States. Some of the pedestrian walkways are made up of the rainbow flag colours that represent the LGBT community. When we were in San Francisco, the Orlando nightclub shooting had only recently happened and there was a very touching tribute to the victims of the shooting at The Castro.

The Castro District

After visiting The Castro, we got a taxi up to the top of Twin Peaks. We took some pictures and got some great views of the city of San Francisco. By the time we finished there, we went back to the hotel (hoping our luggage had arrived – it hadn’t!) and then went for some food. 

Twin Peaks

We woke at about 5am and decided this was the best morning to head to the Sausalito side of the Golden Gate Bridge to watch the sun come up. This was by far the highlight of my trip. We got soooo lucky because it was a really great sunrise. We got pizza blankets (I know, amazing!!) and went back a few mornings later but the sunrise wasn’t nearly as nice. After watching the sun come up, we waked back across the bridge. It was a lovely walk. I’ve read and heard plenty of people saying that they wouldn’t suggest walking all the way across. I disagree completely. I loved the walk so much, we did it twice. 

Pizza blankets

After the walk back, we went to get some breakfast and then went to see Lombard Street which was really busy but the houses along the road are really nice with some gorgeous flowers too. 

How beautiful? (Emma may kill me because she’s in this photo!)

 After Lombard Street we went to Presidio Park. We went to see the Walt Disney museum, which really isn’t worth a trip in my opinion. Then we went out to the food trucks in the park, which was another highlight of my trip. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no pictures of it, but if you go to San Fran, I would definitely recommend it. We sat out in the sun, enjoying a cocktail and trying some delicious food. 

After Presidio Park, we went to Alcatraz. I was so excited for this and took a million photos and lost them all so I only have this one below that was saved to my Snapchat of me in one of the cells. The tour was brilliant and there’s something so creepy about the place. 

An Alcatraz cell

We were exhausted after it and went straight home to bed. Then my phone died so we spent a couple of hours the next morning in the Apple store before jumping on the hop on/hop off bus. This way we got to see a lot more without getting off the bus. 

We got off the bus at Pier 39. I was a bit disapointed because there wasn’t many sea lions out. The whole area had a real holiday vibe to it with restaurants and amusements and shops. Then we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf. Again, it reminded me of that Irish seaside town vibe, but a bit warmer and prettier. (Did I mention San Francisco had a heat wave while we were there and my scalp and shoulders burnt to a crisp?).

We got an In-N-Out Burger, which we had been looking forward to and it was so worth the wait. Delicious. I’ll never look at a Big Mac the same way again. Since we were so close, it would have been rude not to pop into Ghirardelli’s. If you are unfamiliar, it’s a chocolate company and it’s famous for it’s ice-cream sundaes. 

We paid for two days on the bus tour and we got to see China Town, The Oakland Bridge and Coit Tower. We also went to Haight & Ashbury which amazingly still felt like it had the hippie vibe that would have been there in the 1967 Summer of Love. We went from there to see the Painted Ladies which were absolutely beautiful. It was busy but not so busy that you couldn’t get a photo of them. I will say, as pretty as they are, I definitely saw some nicer houses scattered around San Francisco. We also went to see the Mrs Doubtfire house which was awesome, even if the taxi driver had never seen the movie and thought we were crazy.

Painted Ladies

We also managed plenty of shopping (hello Sephora!), lots of eating and a little drinking. We even fit in a visit to an Irish bar to watch Ireland beat Italy 1-0 in the 2016 Euros. So all in all, we had an amazing trip to San Francisco. It absolutely rivalled New York as my favourite place that I’ve been to in the United States. Now I have a favourite on each coast and I will definitely go back.

Is there anything I missed on my trip that you could recommend for next time?

Bucket List

Image made using the A Beautiful Mess app

Do you ever have that feeling that you just get up, go to work, come home, go to bed and repeat the same thing over and over? Well I’ve had that feeling several times and I hate it, so a few years ago I saw the movie The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman and thought the idea of a bucket list was brilliant. It was easily 5 years ago when I made my first Bucket List and I’ve realised over the years that it’s probably always going to change and evolve as I change and evolve. So the list will probably change but here it is as of now. I’ve crossed off the items I’ve already completed and I’ll write a post for each of them in the future.

In no particular order:

  1. Visit the Grand Canyon
  2. Take a photo every day for a year
  3. Get a degree
  4. Sing a song in a public karaoke
  5. Go to a weekend festival
  6. See the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
  7. Go to an ice hotel, bar or cafe
  8. Go on a road trip in a camper/wicked van
  9. Take a photography class
  10. Visit a Buddhist temple
  11. Go on a tour bus in 10 different countries
  12. Smoke a Cuban cigar
  13. Volunteer abroad
  14. Attend a protest
  15. Go zip-lining
  16. Go to the HOLI ONE festival (Dublin)
  17. Visit Las Vegas
  18. Go on a cruise
  19. Take a calligraphy course
  20. Visit New Orleans
  21. Go on an elephant ride
  22. Rescue a dog
  23. Make a handmade present for someone
  24. Go on a dune buggy
  25. See the Eiffel Tower
  26. Stay overnight in a lighthouse
  27. Visit Cuba
  28. Be a tourist in Dublin for a day
  29. Feed the homeless
  30. Walk across a rope bridge
  31. Visit Iceland
  32. Go snowboarding or skiing
  33. Write a letter to my future self
  34. Visit Egypt, The Pyramids of Giza and The Sphinx
  35. Make a scrapbook
  36. Go on quad bike
  37. Visit San Francisco and Alcatraz
  38. Take part in a mini marathon (walking will do just fine!)
  39. See the Hollywood sign
  40. Visit the Burj Al Arab
  41. Go on an African safari
  42. Meet Robbie Fowler
  43. Learn to rely on technology less
  44. Visit New York
  45. Hold a snake
  46. Visit Rome and the Colosseum
  47. Fly in a sea plane
  48. Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain
  49. Visit the Harry Potter studios in London
  50. Pass it forward
  51. smoke a shisha in the middle east
  52. Learn to play one song on a musical instrument
  53. Swim with dolphins
  54. Go behind a waterfall
  55. Stay in a lighthouse
  56. Go for afternoon tea in a 5 star hotel
  57. Go on a spa weekend
  58. Learn to meditate
  59. Visit Krakow in Poland and Auschwitz
  60. Do the Anfield stadium tour
  61. Buy a house
  62. Support a charity regularly
  63. Drink cocktails on a roof-top in New York
  64. Get a tattoo
  65. Visit L.A.
  66. Create something and sell it
  67. Go on the Viking Splash
  68. Take the Magical Mystery Tour in Liverpool
  69. Go to a drive-in movie
  70. Visit Forks, WA
  71. Go glamping
  72. Wake up some day, book a flight and go there that day
  73. Visit Santorini in Greece
  74. Learn to relax and worry less
  75. Take a sewing class
  76. Achieve my ideal weight
  77. Experience a sunset in Thailand
  78. Change my hair colour
  79. Travel the Wild Atlantic Way
  80. Take a picture in the same place once a month for a year
  81. Conquer a fear
  82. See cherry blossoms in Japan
  83. Start a blog
  84. Make this blog successful
  85. Visit all 7 continents
  86. Travel somewhere alone (This ties in with overcoming a fear)
  87. Pass my driving test
  88. Go on holiday to a log cabin
  89. Cross the intersection at Abbey Road and make sure to get a photo
  90. Get my ears pierced (for the second time)
  91. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios
  92. Go for a fish pedicure
  93. Go to a Broadway/West End show
  94. Walk across The Brooklyn Bridge
  95. Write an e-course
  96. Do the tour of Glasnevin Cemetery
  97. Go to Christmas markets somewhere in Europe
  98. Visit the Giant’s Causeway
  99. Meet Jamie Carragher
  100. Become a good listener