Saturday, 12 November 2011

San Francisco, USA, 12.-16.6. 2011, Day 2

We started our second day in San Francisco at Starbucks where I got a White Chocolate Mocha, yum! After that, we decided to buy a ticket to a Hop-On Hop-Off bus because we felt like it would be a practical way to get everywhere, including The Golden Gate Bridge, which is pretty far away from the rest of the city. The ticket we got cost $35 but it was valid for 48 hours, which we thought was really good. I don't think I'd ever been on a bus like that anywhere before but it was pretty relaxing. We got on the bus at Union Square and then just spent a couple of hours riding around the city. We decided to just sit on the bus the first time around and to only get off at Fisherman's Wharf; we'd then do a more thorough round the following day.

Union Square - it was a really warm day, yay!

San Francisco City Hall

Houses next to Alamo Square

Modern day hippies smoking pot in Haight Ashbury.


There is so much fog in San Francisco!

The Golden Gate Bridge - so massive, so impressive and so beautiful!

San Francisco <3
Pier 39 and the sealions that live there.

My crab cake :D

Fisherman's Wharf

The green building is the hotel where Francis Ford Coppola wrote the screenplay for Godfather.

Once we got back to the hotel, we were exhausted! I don't even remember what we had for dinner, which is a small miracle as I usually even have a picture to provide. We did go to the cornershop to get some wine, so my guess is the rest of the evening was spent listening to Shania Twain and Kim Herold in our room :).

Sunday, 6 November 2011

San Francisco, USA, 12.-16.6. 2011, Day 1

Very early (TOO EARLY!) on Sunday morning, we dragged our stuff to the aiport for our flight to San Francisco. It was a relatively short flight - can't have been more than two hours. I can't remember what airline it was but quite possibly United, and I have to say the staff were so rude and fed up with their lives. Maybe it would be a good idea for them to find a new job...?

Anyway, when we had landed in San Francisco, I immediately felt happy. We were back in California! And even though it was chilly there as well, at least the sun was shining. Yay, it made me feel like home right away! We caught the BART to Powell and found our hostel, The Adelaide Hostel. We didn't have to stay there, though, because all the private rooms were located in the nearby hotel called The Fitzgerald Hotel, basically right next to Union Square. We were very happy with the hotel - I mean, just look at our room, it was gorgeous!

Once we felt a bit more alive after getting up so horribly early, we decided to go out and just wander around, see what we'd find. We ended up walking A LOT! We walked past Union Square, through Chinatown to Little Italy and to Lombard Street, which is the crookedest street in the world. We also saw Alcatraz and Coit Tower and were simply very excited to be in a gorgeous city like that! The steep hills, the beautiful Victorian houses, the cable's all very charming, and even better than I expected it to be. It was very cold, though, and I was getting a bit desperate, worried that I was going to miss out on summer this year, heh. Luckily it got warmer later on and I even managed to get myself sunburnt - what a surprise :D. Anyway, we immediately came to the conclusion that San Francisco is very distinctly different from any other city we'd ever been to. It's an adorable combination of the old and the new and it's the sort of city where you'd love to be even if there was nothing to do there, which of course there is. The atmosphere of the city is simply very intriguing.

The gate to Chinatown, which has to be the most perfect as well as the cleanest Chinatown I've ever been to.

Me, freezing my butt off once again.

Coit Tower and cars parked sideways.


Lombard Street

We climbed to the top of Lombard Street for gorgeous views.

The Transamerica Pyramid - the tallest skyscraper in San Francisco.

Once we got back to our room, we were absolutely knackered as well as freezing cold so we were off to bed to get warm again and to get ready for the next day.

Seattle, USA, 10.-12.6. 2011, Day 2

The next day, we went up the Space Needle. As it was right next to our hotel, we could easily walk there, and the queues weren't that long, either, so it wasn't long till we were on the observation deck. The views were pretty gorgeous but I still have to say that it was nowhere as interesting as for example going up the Empire State Building where you actually know and thus can recognise the buildings you see from up there. I knew nothing about the buildings in Seattle so in that respect it wasn't that special.

Once we'd had enough of the views, we took the Monorail downtown (to be honest, it would've been perfectly fine to just walk but we figured taking the Monorail would be a nice, touristy experience since there wasn't that much for us to do in Seattle) and wandered around until we decided it was time to go to The Cheesecake Factory. I'd been to The Cheesecake Factory before this experience but hadn't been too impressed. However, it turned out I had ordered the wrong cheesecake (as my friend Leanne informed me :D) so this time I decided to give the right one a go and it was perfect!

Evelyn's Favorite Pasta

Fresh Banana Creme Cheesecake.
The rest of the day was spent in various stores, such as trying to locate the Material Girl line at Macy's (with no luck) and reading travel books at Borders. When we finally decided it was time to go back to our hotel to pack for our flight the following day, it was getting dark and there were so many suspicious-looking addict-like people in the streets that we felt like running to be in our room faster. Not a nice feeling.

I guess Seattle wasn't my favourite city in the world. I'm glad we went there like this, it not being the main destination on our trip, because otherwise I'd have been disappointed. It was just too cold and too gloomy and somehow too dangerous for my liking. It was the first city in the US where I didn't feel safe in the streets all the time. Very unlike New York or even LA in that respect.

Next up, San Francisco!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Seattle, USA, 10.-12.6. 2011, Day 1

Alright, Seattle. Let's go back in time a little; we went to Vancouver because we changed planes there in 2010 and wanted to go back to actually visit the city, right? Well, Seattle is so close to Vancouver that it would've felt stupid if we'd given it a miss, so we decided to include it in our itinerary and spend two nights there. I wanted to go to Bainbridge Island to see where my darling Elizabeth Mitchell lives, and I was kind of intrigued by the city because I watch Grey's Anatomy as well, but other than that, I had no clue about where I was going, heh.

What was really cool about going to Seattle was that we were going to cross the border between Canada and the USA on foot. Maybe I'm just a big geek but stuff like that makes me really excited! So, we caught the coach from Vancouver to Seattle. The trip takes about 4 hours and in a place called Blaine, you get off the bus with your luggage and basically go through the same routine you would were you arriving by plane. I'd say crossing the border on foot was much nicer and much quicker than when you have to go through immigration at a US airport. The staff were very friendly and the atmosphere was pretty relaxed. There were no queues, either. Though I have to say I've never had any problems with immigration when arriving by plane, either - they just asked me and my friend if we were sisters and then welcomed us to America!

Anyway, my first impression of Seattle was that it was extremely chilly there! I was kind of desperate because when we left Finland, it was really warm and I was expecting it to be warm everywhere else, too. After all, it was the beginning of June. But nope, it was freezing cold and there was no sunshine in sight! We dragged our suitcases all the way to our hotel, which was a Best Western close to the Space Needle and Denny Park, but first stopped at a McDonald's to have lunch. Outside the restaurant, there were lots of druggies, so in that regard, it was a city similar to Vancouver. I have to say that the druggies didn't particularly make me like Seattle...

Right, once we'd checked in, we relaxed for a bit before going out to explore some. The room was pretty nice, and definitely more luxurious than what I'm used to, being the devoted budget traveller that I am. We simply couldn't find any hostels in Seattle so had to go to a hotel, and I have to admit that it was pretty nice to stay at a comfy place like that.

When we felt awake enough (which took quite some time, heh), we decided to venture out, and ended up going to Pike Place Market. I guess it's also worth mentioning that we walked everywhere, so that might tell you something about the size of Seattle.

Downtown Seattle.

The Pike Place Market sign and the beautiful Puget Sound.

Rachel the Market Pig.

Pike Place Fish Co. are famous for their crazy sales personnel :)!

Volcanic ash doesn't impress me much as it's been around whenever I've been about to fly across the Atlantic. Luckily none of my flights have ever been cancelled so far!

Washington is the Evergreen State.

Next up was the first Starbucks ever - Seattle's gift to mankind :D.It was also my first time at a Starbucks since we don't have it in Finland, so it's quite cool my first Starbucks experience was at the first Starbucks ever, don't you think?

Accidentally purchased a rather large Strawberry Frappuccino :D.
Right. Then, we decided to go down to Elliott Bay Waterfront, which was a really nice place. Well, apart from the fact that I was freezing my butt off with no jacket of any kind with me. It was a lot like Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, now that I've visited both places. Lots of nice seafood places, little stores and just a really nice feel to it all.

Walking along the Waterfront, we came to the spot where the ferries to Bainbridge Island leave and decided to go there since we were already there. The main reason why it's a good idea to go to Bainbridge Island is that you get the nicest views of the Seattle skyline from the ferry. But, dress up warmly unlike we did! We were SO cold that we couldn't even get off the ferry in the end and just went back to the city straight away.

After this little trip, the rest of the evening was spent in our hotelroom, watching 16 & Pregnant :D.

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