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Photo Diary: San Francisco II

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Ahoy, here’s the follow up edition to the San Francisco diaries. Remember the first? That brought up a whole lot of wicked memories and this one did too! I always enjoy the experience of putting together these photo diary blog posts, it’s like mentally going back all over again!

On my very last day, I tried to pack all of the touristy things I wanted to do into the entire day, given I had an evening flight back home.

In retrospect, it was so insane since I also added in a 6km run to and from the Airbnb apartment I was staying at in the Mission to Bernal Heights Park. This was pretty epic for me given my lack of exercise around that time! I guess I had heard so many good things about the view at the peak of that particular park that I didn’t want to leave with regret of missing out experiencing it for myself. So I did it. And boy was it worth it!

Since I decided not to carry my proper camera whilst running, I ended up with only some snaps from my iPhone 4 at the time. This one was my favourite but it definitely doesn’t do it enough justice:

Over the rest of the day, I wandered in a semi-dehydrated state around Golden Gate Park and a few other hot spots. There’s a Flower Conservatorium there in the park but to my misfortune, it was closed on Mondays :( Luckily, there was still beautiful gardens surrounding it including this amazing dahlia display!

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In exploring the park, I fell across a Japanese Tea Garden that I couldn’t make up my mind about: was it worth going in or should I skip it? That is until this little cute squirrel appeared and completely melted my heart. HE/SHE WAS TOO CUTE TO RESIST!

So I paid my entrance fee and kept taking more photos of it! In hindsight, I’m glad I checked it out because the garden was incredibly serene and beautiful - I highly recommend visiting it solo to find some peace and natural beauty :)

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Thankfully San Francisco is such a wired up city that you can pretty much find reliable free wi-fi…. anywhere?! After further exploring the Botanic Gardens (also within Golden Gate Park), I could hardly walk, was completely dehydrated, hungry and fatigued and also lacking phone credit.

By chance, I came across this place, Crepevine, which served delicious comfort food, had free wi-fi AND a yummy drinks menu! What luck, can you can imagine how incredibly happy I was? Definitely on my list to go back.

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And of course playing tourist wouldn’t have been as authentic if I had missed out on a trip to Alamo Square to view the set of Victorian houses, fondly known as the “Painted Ladies”. Most people probably recognise them from the opening sequence of the old television show Full House

But you know, apart from the pop culture reference, I was really glad I went to Alamo Square because the park itself is small and quaint and just has a really lovely view of the city. It’s not as grand as the one from Bernal Heights Park but it’s very much a different perspective of the city skyline. Throw in some nice architecture and dramatic trees… oh and pet dogs and it would make for a lovely afternoon picnic spot.

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In short, I really enjoyed my trip to San Francisco last year and I’m glad I stayed the weekend to really see the city a bit more. I can’t wait to go back and bring Gareth with me one day so that I can play tour guide for him!

By the way, all the hot spots I mentioned here are captured for you in the mini guide to San Francisco that I created. Super useful if you’re planning a visit to this wonderful city! And if you find some great places yourself, do let me know so I can add it to the list :)

Click here to view and download the guide:

mini travel guide to san francisco


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Photo Diary: San Francisco I

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Hey guys! Hope you’ve all had a relaxing weekend, I’ve been catching up with old and new friends which has been really nice. I showed my photos to a friend who came over to visit yesterday and it dawned on me that I still hadn’t posted up anything, whilst being my most memorable trip of last year. Come on Helen! So this will be the first of two photo diary posts on last October’s visit to San Francisco.

Now if you’ve noticed from previous travel posts, I’ve been creating a map of the area using Stamen and then listing out my recommendations. This is where I’m changing things up - for the better for you and me!

I’ll now be providing you guys with mini travel guides to the places I visit thanks to a new site I’ve found online that makes it really easy to create travel guides: Jauntful! I’ve literally just spent the past hour playing around it and created a mini guide to San Francisco, I hope you’ll find this useful if you’re planning a visit. There’s also the option to download it as a PDF so you can print it out and take it with you whilst travelling! Isn’t it great!?

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Let me know what you think of it, I hope it’ll be handy and I’m excited to create a few more of previous travels I’ve done! I haven’t quite decided which places yet, so if you have a preference or suggestion, let me know :)

And here are some of my favourite snapshots of San Francisco from October last year when I went for work, and then tagged on a few days extra of leave to explore the city!

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I attended Re:Make 2013, literally buying tickets the night before and I’m so glad I did. Highlights included seeing 3D printers creating stuff in the flesh and listening to a great line up of inspiring speakers from creative/innovative fields like Michelle Phan, Brit Morin and Ayah Bedir. I coincidentally met one of my favourite bloggers, Brittany of The House That Lars Built, and also made new friends!

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Taking the obligatory tram from Powell nr Market to Fisherman’s Wharf, and then renting bikes at the Wharf with friends from work, I cycled towards the Golden Gate Bridge, across the bridge and followed a route to a nearby port town Sausalito!

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During one of the days, I walked from the Airbnb apartment I was staying at to Noe Valley, to meet friends for brunch at a lovely place called Crepevine. It was simply divine: the decor was full of colourful florals and the menu was packed full of tasty options. I ended up with blueberry wheatgerm pancakes which turned out to be enormous and only 8 USD!

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I’ll be posting the second set of SF photos next week - including those of the Botanic Gardens and the Japanese Tea Garden at Golden Gate Park!

Click here to view and download the mini travel guide to San Francisco.


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Photo Diary: Mclaren Valley & Aldinga Beach, Adelaide

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Our last photo diary stop from the Adelaide series of 2013 - and my favourite. To get some context, we started off with Adelaide CBD, dropped by the Adelaide Hills and then went south to the Fleurieu Peninsula.

We ultimately ended our Adelaide trip on a sweet note: a drive through the serene Mclaren Valley and a stop over at Aldinga Beach where we caught an amazing sunset over the water.

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I don’t know about you but sunsets make me incredibly full of heart, particularly when it’s silent all around and there’s nothing else to distract you from witnessing nature at its finest. Wouldn’t you agree? Sunsets often make me reflect on the beauty of life and feel extremely grateful

The sunset at Aldinga was so pretty, I highly recommend checking it out. I’m sure it’s even more stunning in summer!

And then of course, there’s the luscious Mclaren Valley right near by:

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In my book, simply roaming around in the car with the window down is bliss when it comes to visiting any vineyard. Mclaren was no different and we stopped over at a few vineyards, including:

Mclaren turned out to be only a few hours from Adelaide CBD so if you’re staying in the city, make sure to allocate some time to check out the valley!

And that’s it, Adelaide 2013 is all wrapped up! Next in the photo travel diaries is San Francisco, so get excited. 

Awesome map created with Stamen; graphic design by me.


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Back from San Francisco!

Hey everyone, I’m baaaack!!

It’s been such a whirlwind, the past week. A lot of firsts and a lot of fun was ahead in San Francisco. I went there for our annual work’s user conference and also a little bit of weekend holidaying, before flying back yesterday morning.

Jet lag this time around was not too bad, as I tweaked my method to try to combat it. (Maybe I’ll do a post about what iIdid? Let me know if you’d be interested in that.) Coming back, I was 22kg heavier (in luggage!!) but have yet to upload my photos from my camera yet.

On the very last day, I went all out and did a total 6km run (amongst other things) to and from where I was staying in the Mission district. I ran through the Mission via Folsom street to reach Bernal Heights Park, where I then followed the swirly path all the way up to the apex… and found myself at some breathtaking views of San Francisco city. Too bad I didn’t have my camera with me, or a better quality smartphone camera (I’m still on an iPhone 4), so I made do with Instagram to capture the stunning views.

There were quite a few lone rangers with their pet dogs out and about, so it was such a picture perfect moment when this one guy had just thrown a ball for his dog to catch, as I was taking a snap. I thought that was a beautiful coincidence, they contrast well with the rigid backdrop of the modern cityscape.

My laziness nearly got the better of me, so I am so glad in hindsight that I willed myself to do that run. It was definitely well worth all the energy too, as I ended up having a truly great sleep on the red-eye flight that same night!

Okay, I’ll be back soon this weekend with more San Francisco moments and a return to regular blogging. Hope you’re having a stellar week, wherever you are!