Travel: California diaries - San Francisco pt. 1

Travel: California diaries - San Francisco bernal heights

Ah, finally, I've managed to make my way through all of the pictures we took in San Francisco to put together two blogposts that share the San Fran vibe with you guys. As you know, we spent about two weeks in California at the end of May and the beginning of June, and we ended our trip with 3 days in San Francisco. This city is one of the most beautiful, memorable, colorful and welcoming places I have ever visited, and I am delighted to give my readers a small taste of everything SF has to offer! Today's post will tick off a few of the tourist hotspots but also some lesser known gems, showing you our Airbnb and its neighborhood Bernal Heights, Chinatown, the financial district, Golden Gate bridge and the Fisherman's Wharf.

We arrived in San Francisco at about 7pm, with an uber drive taking us from the rental car dropoff at SFO airport to our Airbnb. It was a bit of a search looking for an affordable, fairly centrally located place to stay in San Francisco, since the city is so popular with tourists and the points of interest are rather spread out. After some research I settled on the Mission district, which is relatively close to all the interesting areas and supposedly a great area to experience authentic SF. And also, great food.

We fell in love with our Airbnb the moment we laid eyes on it, even though it's technically just below the Mission District we still found it to be the perfect match for us. We stayed with Kurt, a well-traveled local who seemed to embody the vibrant, cultured, quirkiness typical to San Francisco and gave us the best tips to cram as much of SF into the three short days we would have to spend. Also, his home is total #goals if you ask me, but what do you expect from a host who collects, sells and restores antiques and vintage furniture?

Where to stay in San Francisco

I could move into this house and never look back. Seriously, I totally would. After getting to know Kurt, our stomachs started growling and we set off for Emmy's Spaghetti Shack (I can always go for spaghetti & meatballs, man), about a five minute walk from our Airbnb, located on Mission Street. Even though we were just a few steps away from one of the central traffic/nightlife veins of this part of SF, the neighborhood we stayed at was perfectly calm, quiet and safe. I seriously could not have picked a better base (patting my own back). 

Since Bernal Heights sits on a hill (duh), the views over SF were magical at any time of the day, but around sunset was extra special. It was cold AS HELL though, so I basically put on every layer of clothes I had with me to deal with the seemingly 10°C temp drop as soon as the sun set and the wind came in. We both instantly decided to go shop for warmer clothes the next day. Please, do not underestimate SF's chill when packing! It was early June and 23° dress-with-bare-legs weather during the day, but at night I was wearing jeans, a longsleeve, a sweater, a hoodie, a denim jacket, a scarf, socks and Vans and I was still cold. Ridiculous.

Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Bernal Heights

The next morning the sun was shining and obviously I was overdressed after almost freezing to death the night before. SF, the city that makes it impossible to dress weather-appropriately. We had breakfast at an adorable local café that felt very much like I imagine New York to be. 

Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Bernal HeightsTravel: California diaries - San Francisco Bernal Heights

I had an omelet with cheese, avocado, spinach and tomato. And the best fresh squeezed OJ!

After breakfast, we made our way up the hill behind our Airbnb, to Bernal Heights Park which is not very well known to tourist but offers some of the very best views over the SF skyline. If (or when) we return to San Francisco, I'm determined to watch the sunset from here. The walk up isn't too arduous! There are no facilities here however, so make sure to use the bathroom before you go. And yes, I am telling you this because I totally had to go to the bathroom while we were there and had to use all of my willpower to keep my cool. IBS is no fun. The views helped, though. Hashtag keepin it real. 

Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Bernal Heights
Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Bernal Heights
Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Bernal Heights

Obligatory flowers in your hair/San Fran shot. I absolutely brought this flower wreath to Cali for the sole purpose of taking a picture of me wearing it in SF.

Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Bernal Heights

Bernal Heights also boasts this awesome swing that totally gave me a serious case of vertigo, but also the best picture of me seemingly floating over the SF skyline ever. A must visit!

After going to the loo and shedding some of the superfluous layers, we ordered an Uber to take us to the financial district, to see those high buildings up close and also do some shopping at Uniqlo. You know, in preparation for those windy SF evenings.

Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Financial District
Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Financial District

Stunning skyscrapers aplenty here, but to me the financial district was mostly a stop on the road to the main attraction: SF's Chinatown, which is the oldest Chinatown in North America. It's a totally unique culture-within-culture enclave that has some amazing food on offer. Seriously, come here and feast on chinese donuts. You will not be disappointed. I developed a new culinary obsession! And the juxtaposition of different architectural styles here is so interesting, as if the city grew organically.

Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Chinatown
Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Chinatown
Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Chinatown
Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Chinatown

At the border of SF's Chinatown, you find this little square with a museum on San Fran's Chinese culture, a playground, and loads of Chinese San Franciscans hanging out together, playing games and enjoying streetfood. Chinatown might not be the first thing people think about when visiting San Francisco, but I loved the hour or two we spent here because it's such a unique experience. I read a fragment by a famous Chinese/San Franciscan who described in the most poetic manner how the mist and the prominence of water and fishing activities around the city reminded him of Shanghai. Wish I could quote him directly or even adequately credit the writer!

Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Chinatown

After Chinatown, we made our way to the Embarcadero, another lively locale that boasts a bunch of amazing eateries.

Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Embarcadero

Since we were still full from Chinese donuts, we simply strolled and enjoyed some people watching before ordering an Uber to take us to the Golden Gate Bridge! A 30 minute drive, surprisingly time-consuming considering how small the city is. But seeing this majestic landmark was absolutely worth the long drive (and the chilly winds).

Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge
denim jacket: H&M - dress: Sienna & Lois - bomber jacket: Uniqlo - sneakers: Nike Roshe Run - handbag: Kate Spade NY - sunglasses: Claire's

Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge
Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge

The views of SF from the Golden Gate Bridge welcome center were also breathtaking. The city seemed to sparkle, so bright and white, almost like something out of a science fiction movie.

On our final morning in SF, before catching a plane home, we had a couple of hours to spend and returned to San Francisco's waterside to explore the Fisherman's Wharf. This neighborhood is generally discarded as being too touristy, but we actually had a lovely time here. Even the "lesser" bits of SF are worth a visit, apparently! Must do: have sourdough bread at the Boudin Bakery (a historic landmark), spot sea lions (so cute!) and visit some of the musea dedicated to San Francisco's nautical roots. We spotted some stunning old boats, and a rather unique view of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf
Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf
Travel: California diaries - San Francisco Fisherman's Wharf

A first taste of San Franciso, but the best is yet to come. Stay tuned!

Outfit: white eyelet dress and bamboo bag

Outfit: white eyelet dress and bamboo bag
Outfit: white eyelet dress and bamboo bag
Outfit: white eyelet dress and bamboo bag
Outfit: white eyelet dress and bamboo bag
Outfit: white eyelet dress and bamboo bag
Outfit: white eyelet dress and bamboo bag
Outfit: white eyelet dress and bamboo bag
Outfit: white eyelet dress and bamboo bag
Outfit: white eyelet dress and bamboo bag
Outfit: white eyelet dress and bamboo bag
Outfit: white eyelet dress and bamboo bag
Outfit: white eyelet dress and bamboo bag
Outfit: white eyelet dress and bamboo bag
Outfit: white eyelet dress and bamboo bag
Outfit: white eyelet dress and bamboo bag
Outfit: white eyelet dress and bamboo bag
eyelet dress: c/o Shein - bamboo bag: Aliexpress - sandals: c/o Avance - sunglasses: c/o Polette - rings: Diamanti Per Tutti - watch: c/o Daniel Wellington

Hi guys! Just popping in quickly from my holiday at the Côte d'Azur to share a little style/travel story with you. On our way to the Mediterranean, we stayed at La Garde Adhémar for one night to break up the 11 hour drive. We had visited the town for the first time a couple of years ago, on our first real holiday together, so this little medieval village holds a special significance to us. The village is still as gorgeous as it was back then, and before packing up for the last leg of our drive, I pulled out my trusty Canon 5D to use the place as the perfect backdrop for an outfit shoot that epitomizes everything I love about style. Easy, feminine, romantic, retro-inspired and carefree. 

I'm in love with how these pics turned out, so I'm excited to share them with you! The look features three pieces I am crazy about: the eyelet dress (only $23 and available in a bunch of other colours - I'm wearing the size large for an oversized fit), the rose tinted, metal rim shades from Polette, and this adorable little bamboo handbag. You've probably spotted the Ark bag by Cult Gaia on a bunch of bloggers, but I do not have the budget to spend $130 on a totally impractical (but totally gorgeous) little bamboo clutch. I figured Aliexpress would probably have similar options on offer, since the original design basically looks like something you'd buy on holiday in East Asia, and lo and behold - I found this baby for just €20. It's a total statement piece, so get it while it's hot! Mine was delivered in about two weeks, super quickly.

Hope you like the look! And be sure to follow my Instagram if you want to keep up with my French Riviera holiday :-)

Outfit: goldenrod off-shoulder dress

Outfit: goldenrod off-shoulder dress

Outfit: 60s vibes in jumper dress and fiddler cap

Outfit: 60s vibes in jumper dress and fiddler cap

Outfit: Grey hair, feminist tee

Outfit: Grey hair, feminist tee

Outfit: off shoulder pinstripe dress and leopard mary janes

Outfit: off shoulder pinstripe dress and leopard mary janes