Friday, November 3, 2017

US trip part one: San Francisco

Wow, long time no see. SO much has happened in the meantime. Not only did I find out for sure that I was accepted for the Master's programme that I hoped for (so much that I didn't even apply anywhere else), but by now, I already have the first couple of weeks of classes behind me. I am studying politics and public administration at the University of Konstanz - the place I did my Erasmus, fell in love with the city but not only and found home. Good thing the university rocks, right?

Anyway, I actually wanted to slowly start posting about our US trip this September. I will be posting this stuff as fast as I can, but considering how busy I've been with everything ever since we got back a few weeks ago, this will still probably take months, so gather patience.

Even though our priority was to visit Matt's family in Oregon, we decided to treat ourselves with San Francisco at the beginning of the trip as a birthday present to one another. I was so excited to go to the US for the first time ever, but now I feel like the whole trip was just one new thing after another. Obviously, I've lived abroad, but I've never actually continuously travelled for a month like that. Since we were also moving between places every three days on average, it was also quite overwhelming, but totally worth it. Like all Europeans, I think, i felt like I was in an average Hollywood movie for the first few days, haha.

San Francisco is absolutely crazy! We stayed in a weird hotel near the Civic Centre on Market Street - the absolute culture shock to a terribly jet-lagged me. We literally saw hundreds of homeless people, some pantsless looking for a vein to shoot in the street and so on. We might have just been unlucky with our location, though. The areas by the ocean and the bay were a totally different story. Some were pretty touristy, like the Fisherman's Wharf area. Then again, seeing sealions was pretty awesome, so I can't blame the people. My favourite was the trail going east from Fort Point with a view on the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and a big chunk of the city. It was crazy foggy (like every day in San Fran...), so there weren't too many people strolling around. San Francisco was also my first time seeing the Ocean! I think this has caused some confusion, though, since Americans also call most seas "the ocean". Obviously, since I grew up on an island, I've seen open water before. :D Anyway, I was still pretty excited to be able to look into the distance and think that on the other side of the water is Japan?! Another cool place to go is the Grandview Park with the tiled steps going up there. We also loved hanging out on Pier 7 in the evenings, which is totally quiet unlike the touristy piers. Oh, and you can try free chocolate samples if you walk through the Ghiradelli factory. :D

If you're up for it, San Francisco is pretty good for walking around - but you have to be prepared for the hills! Other than that, there are like 5 (?) different public transport systems with separate ticket systems. We managed to mess up once, but I guess now we have a $5 reimbursement check waiting for us next time we go over, lol.

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