The Shipra Travel Diaries: San Francisco, California

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“I left my heart in San Francisco.” I really did. About two years ago (I know I’m extremely late with this post), I traveled to the Bay Area to visit my big sister and her family. I had been there before as a child, but I didn’t remember much about it. This time around, however, I was fully immersed in a city full of culture and beauty, and I wasn’t going to forget it. This trip holds a special place in my heart. I hadn’t seen my big sister in years, and the last time we were together I was much younger. This time it was really special. We openly talked about life and problems, which was something very new for us. We built a stronger relationship, and for that I will always be thankful for this trip.

Although I had the advantage of staying with family and having a local as a tour guide, I still wanted to share my travel guide for what I did each day I was there.


DAY 1
Points of Attraction: Monterey/Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach/17 Mile Drive
Lunch: Little Napoli
Highlight: 17 mile drive

My first day in Cali was a fun one. I spent a majority of the day getting acquainted to my little niece and nephew. I had met my niece when she was a baby, but obviously she didn’t remember me, and this was my first time meeting my nephew. My sister and brother – in – law took me to Monterey on the first day. We went to Pebble Beach and took a drive along the 17 Mile Drive.

This area was absolutely beautiful. For any of my followers who like scenic locations, this is definitely a must see. Although in a very upscale neighborhood, you are greeted with the raw beauty of nature at every mile of the drive. I definitely recommend spending a whole day in this area. The 17 mile drive does take a while and there are several different points of attraction along the route. Monterey is also a very cute town. After the beach, I thoroughly enjoyed walking around and exploring all the little stores and sights the town had to offer.

 As a Jersey girl, it is second nature to enjoy the shore. However, it is no secret that the Atlantic Ocean on the Jersey shoreline isn’t the best. Seeing the Pacific in its mighty beauty made me realize how much nicer Cali beaches were – a confession that kills me to admit.



DAY 2
Points of Attraction: Stanford Dish and Stanford University
Highlight: hiking up the Stanford Dish

The next day was quite adventurous. On the morning of day 2, my sister and I went on a hike up the Stanford Dish trail. It was my first hike ever, and it definitely was a crazy workout. It was extremely hot and there was a lot of dry air, but we made it through! I’ve been telling myself that I wanted to go on a hike ever since that one, but have yet to go on one. Fair warning – the Stanford Dish hike trail didn’t have the best views most hikes I’ve seen have, but in terms of the workout factor, it was really nice. The hike took about 2 hours. Afterwards, my sister and I returned home, had lunch, picked up my niece and nephew, and rested for a bit.

Later that evening, my brother in law took me on a tour of his alma mater – Stanford University. Being a complete nerd at heart, I thoroughly enjoy college tours. Stanford has such a vibrant culture on campus. We took a stroll and stopped at the Stanford Memorial Church, which has exquisite craftsmanship. Now I know why it is considered amongst one of the best universities in the world. It is full of history and innovation, so for anyone who loves environments like that I would definitely take a tour of the campus.


DAY 3
Points of Attraction: Golden Gate Bridge and Downtown San Francisco (Financial District and Union Square)
Lunch: Café Claude

On Day 3, I ventured off to the Golden Gate Bridge and Downtown San Fran. I vaguely remembered the Golden Gate Bridge from my trip as a child, but seeing it again gave me a new perspective. As an engineer, I can really appreciate the design and architecture of the Bridge. It definitely lived up to all of its expectations. Also, the weather gods were in our favor the day we went to the GGB. Not a cloud was in sight, which my sister told me was a rare feature of the area.

After taking a few tourist pictures, we ventured into downtown San Francisco. Honestly, my favorite part was the car ride through the streets. I don’t think I could ever live on the steep hill like streets, but it was a lot of fun driving through them. My cousin and I had lunch and walked around and shopped. We then headed to Union Square. Union Square had so much to do. It had the vibes of Soho but an atmosphere of calm so native to California. San Francisco is huge! I definitely recommend taking two days to explore the city on a minimum.


DAY 4
Points of Attraction: Palo Alto
Tea: Tea Time

Day 4 came around with me starting to feel at home in the Bay Area. Compared to the other days, it was extremely relaxed yet fun at the same time. We ventured into Palo Alto, which was minutes away from where my cousin lived. Palo Alto is considered one of the “ritziest” cities of Silicon Valley. It is the home to Mark Zuckerberg and other influential figures. Although unable to see any of these folks, I still had a great time in the city. I went shopping and had some tea at Tea Time, which is a cute little tea café with a wide selection of teas and snacks. The atmosphere of the café was chic yet homely. I definitely recommend anyone visiting the area to check out Tea Time. The rest of the day was spent walking around town before we went back home for dinner.


DAY 5
Points of Attraction: Berkeley
Lunch: The Cheeseboard Pizza

As I mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of taking university tours. The history and potential for new opportunities always drags me to campuses. For that reason, there was no way I could not go to Berkeley. The campus was so beautiful. I’ve always heard of it being a great school, but this time around I witnessed why. After touring the university, we walked around town and then went to Berkeley Pier.


DAY 6
Points of Attraction: Sausalito, Napa Valley, Lombard Street, Fisherman’s Wharf
Vineyards: Jacuzzi Winery and Artesa Winery
Lunch: Nopalito

Day 6 was my absolute favorite. We woke up extra early so we would have time to do everything we wanted to. We first drove down the Golden Gate Bridge into Sausalito, which is by far one of the prettiest towns I have ever seen. It looked like it belonged somewhere on a tropical island in the Caribbean. I was in awe the whole time we were there.

After relaxing by the water and eating lunch, we headed into Napa Valley. Now, being a wine lover, I was the most excited to be in Napa, and what they say is right – the wine is better.  The two vineyards we went to were Jacuzzi Winery and Artesa Winery. Both of them were absolutely beautiful in their own regard. Jacuzzi had more of an Italian, rustic vibe, whereas Artesa was more modern and classy. My favorite at Jacuzzi was the Pinot Grigio, and at Artesa was the Rose of Pinot Noir. We took many pictures that day, and relaxed and took in the great views.

Following Napa, we drove back into San Francisco and went to Lombard Street and Fisherman’s Wharf. Surprisingly enough, Lombard Street was the only thing I remembered from the last time I was in San Francisco as a child. I remember thinking it was the coolest road ever, and as an adult I still thought the same. After driving down Lombard and taking all the typical tourist pictures, we went to Fisherman’s Wharf. We first saw all the seals and then walked around until we saw a magic show, seeing the amusement and curiosity in my niece and nephew's eyes made these small moments even more special. There is so much to do and eat at the Wharf, especially if you are traveling with family. It is completely all age friendly.


DAY 7
Points of Attraction: Google Headquarters and Santana Row

Day 7 marked the end of my Cali trip. Because we had done so much prior to this day, we kept it quite simple. We first went to Google, and my brother – in – law, who is an old employee, gave me the low down of everything. Side note – all companies need to have an office like Google’s. It is very trendy and innovative. After hanging out there for a bit, we went to Santana Row and grabbed some coffee and treats and shopped a little.  After that, I came home and packed for my trip back home.


My trip to California was such a great adventure, and I cannot wait to go back.

Hope you all enjoyed this! Up next - my Florida travel diary.

PS – this is from 2 years ago so I will not be doing a lookbook since most of the outfits are already outdated.

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