Six more sleeps until I'm in San Francisco.
Five more sleeps until my birthday, but I am infinitely more excited about having a weekend alone to do some serious exploring. Not that I'm dreading my birthday - I'm not of an age yet where I hate turning another year older - but a weekend in San Francisco? Now, that is something to break into song and dance about.
My flights will be just over an hour, but allowing for getting to and from Oakland International Airport, I will have slightly over thirty hours to see what San Francisco has to offer. That's about the longest I can be away from Miss Pie for, as I've yet to fully wean her. It's not so much her that I'm worried about, but my boobs... but hey, it's a small price to pay for a weekend of freedom.
Anyhow, thirty-something hours to experience San Francisco? Not enough time, I'm well aware.
I need to get cracking and work out a plan of action this week. I'm not one for strict itineraries when travelling - I prefer to just go with the flow and see where I'm taken - but all my research so far has indicated that there is an incredible amount of things I want to do, places I want to see.
I need to be brutal. Museums and galleries are off the list. In the past, I would have made every effort to see some artwork, but time will not be my luxurious friend on this trip.
Instead, I want to take in as much of the outdoor vistas as possible. Get snap-happy. That's what makes me happy these days. San Francisco is famous for it's beautiful views, hilltops, and parks. I'm going to need some serious walking shoes, which is lucky, because I bought a pair of much needed new sneakers the other week. As in, the first new pair in probably three years. These babies are so cushioned, they make me feel like I'm flying, so all those hilly walks should be a breeze.
With jeans, camera around my neck and brand new, glowing white sneakers, I'm going to fit right in - just like a tourist from the Midwest. Hmm, maybe I should ditch the jeans in favour of cargos.
The timing of this trip happens to coincide with the annual Cherry Blossom Festival in Japantown. I was planning to see Japantown anyway, given how much I love all things Japanese. Apparently after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, Japan was the largest contributor to aid relief and helping to rebuild the city, which will make this year's festival somewhat poignat, too. The festival will be on for the entire weekend, so I'll only be able to see a small part of it if I'm serious about seeing other parts of San Fransisco.
I really don't know how I'm going to see everything I want. I will be on foot, or using cable cars and other public transport. I am known to friends as the Queen of Public Transport because I've always been good at figuring it out, no matter where I am - well, before kids, that was. A lot of that was down to my issues with driving, but I'm still a big believer in public transport - at least in cities where it's efficient and well-maintained. Los Angeles is not one of those cities.
So on my hitlist: Japantown, Chinatown (of course!), Golden Gate Park, The Presidio, Nob Hill, Telegraph Hill, Haight-Ashbury, maybe Fisherman's Wharf (for the yummy food I've read about), maybe Alamo Square (to see the iconic Painted Ladies)... did someone say tourist? If I had more time, I would also love to see The Castro and The Mission districts, but I have a feeling that would be pushing my luck.
Luckily, my hotel will be two blocks away from the California Street cable car, and not far from Downtown, so exploring should be fairly easy.
I think I have a fairly good idea of what I'll try to see during the day, so next? I just need to think about about how I'll spend Saturday night in San Franscisco. I'll be alone, so nothing wild. I also want to travel light (I'll be carrying my stuff around everywhere) so I want to avoid needing to get dolled up for anywhere too dressy. One thing's for sure, though. I'm going to enjoy having my king-sized hotel bed all to myself. All of it.
And with any luck, I may even find somewhere that makes a good coffee. It's got to be better than what's on offer here in LA, right? That would be the icing on the cake.
If there are any readers out there with more specific suggestions or recommendations that fit into the areas I'll be in, I'm all ears and would love to hear from you.