Having reached Santa Barbara, around 2 hours from when we left LA, our first point of call was food. No surprise there then. The sun was beginning to set and we found ourselves a lovely little beach bar and grill overlooking the pacific ocean. During the meal we discussed where we should stay for the night, and based on the budget a motel seemed best fit. We headed into Santa Barbara in search of a motel and stumbled across a smart looking hotel, well, smarter than a motel anyway. The Ramada Santa Barbara. After explaining to the hotel manager that we were on a budget and wanted somewhere to stay for he night he offered us the hotels largest suite, breakfast in the morning and access to a heated outdoor pool for pretty much the same price as a motel. BINGO. That evening was spent chilling in the pool and getting an early night before a long drive up to San Francisco.
With our stomachs full of breakfast and sufficient amounts of tea we began the 320 mile drive up the coast to San Fran. The sat nave gave us 2 options, a quicker inland route or a slower scenic (more like edge of cliff) route. We opted for the latter. This turned out to be a great life choice as we twisted and turned our way along the mountainous terrain taking in the breathtaking views. The drive took almost the whole day and we arrived in SF just before sunset, and because we hadn’t already seen enough incredible views for one day, we headed straight out to the SF bay and watched sunset over the golden gate bridge.
Our time at San Francisco was limited to 3 nights so we spent the time doing the typical touristy things. Checking out Lombard street (the worlds most winding), going on a boat tour around the harbour and of course, cycling across the golden gate bridge. One thing we didn’t manage to do was to go and have a tour around Alcatraz prison. This was because all the tours for the time we were there were fully booked. So a tip if you want to do this is to pre book on Expedia to ensure you do not miss out. One thing to bear in mind while walking around SF is that it is extremely hilly and walking anywhere takes about twice as long as a journey the same distance on flat ground would. I found out this the hard way when a round trip of 4 miles to Topo Designs SF store and back took me 2 and a half hours. Our time in SF was up and we hit the road again heading for Yosemite national park.
Tips when visiting San Francisco:
- If you have a car, park it at the hotel and leave it there until you leave. SF traffic is mad, parking lots are overpriced and if you have a centrally located hotel everything is within walking distance anyway.
- Pre book an Alcatraz prison tour if it is something you want to do.
- Before you hire bicycles, compare 3 or 4 rental companies on prices as they seemed to vary a lot. Some were $12 for 2 hours and some were $25 for the same amount of time.
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta