So let’s see if I can give you all a “brief” summary of my whereabouts in the past month since I’ve been in California. I feel like I’m finally settled in. My apartment is decorated. I’m catching on to my new work environment. I now know how to get onto the main highways, to the local grocery stores, and of course, the Urban Outfitters right down the street. Lastly, I’m currently typing out this blog post, while sitting on my $15 Ikea chair out on the balcony, looking into the late afternoon sun. I could not be more content and grateful in this exact moment.
Now, here goes my recap that hopefully will not turn into a novel! So let’s see. The last we met, I talked about my Santa Cruz Half Marathon. Since then, I’ve been doing a lot more traveling and exploring now that I’m officially comfortable in my apartment and local setting. I’ve spent yet another beautiful weekend in Santa Cruz, laying on the state beach, driving along the coast, stopping by to view the eclectic walks of life by the lighthouse as they grooved out during a silent disco. I’ve met some silly seal friends down by the pier, I’ve walked past intense beach volleyball games along the boulevard, and I’ve eaten a damn good veggie burger and fries all in the fun little beach town of Santa Cruz.
I’ve driven up 5 miles of curvy, narrow roads, passing wineries off to my left and right as I made my way to Castle Rock State Park for a beautiful hike down in the woodsy Saratoga area. Following the hike, I stopped by in the local town where I sat out with a cup of joe and some late lunch, as I baked in the sun, while listening to the soothing sounds of a small town band playing on the cafe’s patio. I’ve gone on an abundant amount of walks locally, exploring my town and the areas around me. I’ve biked through Stanford’s amazing campus and I’ve eaten at almost every vegan friendly restaurant there is in Palo Alto.
My sister has now had her first visit in California and boy did we cover the bay area pretty damn well in just 2 days. We made our way to The City on a sunny, yet cool Friday night to dine and drink at an Off the Grid food truck event in Fort Mason (an area in The City, right by the marina, with a beautiful view of the Golden Gate Bridge). We ate, we drank, we listed to the live music, and most importantly, we stood by the heat lamps. Yes, we’ve now learned our lesson that it ACTUALLY does get cold in the city after 5, no matter the temperature during the day.
The following day, we finally made our way down highway 1 in pursue of a destination to Big Sur. Our first and farthest stop was at the McWay waterfall, a waterfall in Big Sur that falls onto the beach and into the ocean. We then progressed back North, stopped to take pictures by the infamous Big Sur bridge and other gorgeous and breath taking sights along the way.
We then continued on, stopping in the upscale town of Carmel. We of course then indulged in a deliciously filling Mediterranean meal, topped it off with a warm vanilla latte, and walked up and down the street for some window shopping. Eventually, we slowly made our way to the car as we continued on to our next destination. Pebble Beach was our next stop, a luscious green golf course, famous for it’s elite championship tournaments and it’s beachy backdrop. Next stop, Monterey, a cute little fishing town, just past Carmel. Moving on, we found an awesome little farmer’s market along Highway 1, where we feasted on the free fruits, veggies, and snacks being offered, then helped myself to 7 BABY avocados for $1 in total. WHAT A BARGAIN!! Anyway, our final stop was back to Santa Cruz, where we decided on a whim that after a long day, we’d top it off with a few rides on the boulevard. The sun eventually set behind the roller coaster, ending the day on a perfect note.
The next day, we again made our way to The City. Our first stop was an amazing little breakfast cafe called Cafe St Jorge. I helped myself to a healthy Chia bowl and a fantastic cup of coffee! We then spent the majority of our day surprisingly in the Haight-Ashbury area, walking up and down the streets, trying on unique thrift shop clothes, and taking in the interesting walks of life. We then continued to drive around and explore the rest of The City, snapping pics of all the touristy “must-see’s”. Eventually, we ended our day across The City, in a seaside town called Sausalito.
The following weekend, my boyfriend visited…I was getting spoiled having company around the apartment!! Anyway, we had a perfect weekend planned, spending Saturday in Sonoma and Sunday in The City. Early Saturday morning, we made our way up to Sonoma in beautiful wine country! Our plan for the day…bike ride around to the different local vineyards! This sounded a lot more practical before we made it to our second vineyard…
A few too many sips of wine later, hours passed and we had (somehow) successfully biked around Sonoma and made our way to four different vineyards, all portraying different styles that resembled images you’d imagine right out of the vast lands of Tuscany. The rest of the late afternoon/night was a little blurred as a result of FAR too much wine and sun.
The next day, we then hopped in the car and set off early once again as we drove back towards The City. Our first stop of the day? CARNAVAL to kickoff the opening of the World Cup! This event really amazed me. This event in particular solidified my love for the Bay area here in California. It’s amazing to see all of the different cultures and ethnicities that come together and support one another on whatever endeavor they came to San Francisco to pursue. It just shows how welcoming and truly judgement free this City really is. I’ve always heard how “care free” San Francisco is, but it’s events like this, with thousands of people gathered and a crowd where Justin and I were merely the minority, that it made me truly appreciate the exposure I’m getting out here to new, eye-opening cultures.
After spending about two hours in the area, dancing along to the floats in the parade and walking through the streets of vendors, food, and live music, we then proceeded to Haight-Ashbury. We picked up a lunch from Whole Foods and enjoyed it on the grassy hills of the infamous Golden Gate Park. Eventually, we had decided that we had seen enough interesting sights while people watching and continued to walk around the area and window shop. Following Haight-Ashbury, we then made our way to the super touristy area along the water and the Embarcadero. Somehow, the day had flown by and Justin had taken a beating in the sun, it was time for a Spanish, tapas style dinner on Market street! YUM! Boyyyy did we splurge on this dinner : )
After another wonderful and non-stop weekend, I wasn’t ready to stop! Just yesterday, I headed up to Napa for the Bottlerock Napa Music Festival with a few friends. A fun festival scene with all types of music from Matt & Kim, to Outkast, to Weezer. A day spent drinking craft beer (yes, I drank beer…which NEVER happens), listening to music, and enjoying a gorgeous day in the sun. I could get used to this lifestyle…
So there ya have it folks, my recap of the past month all covered in just a few paragraphs!