Right after the holidays, Cassandra and her Slovenian friend Blažka arrived at our doorstep. Blažka was visiting San Francisco (and California!) for the very first time, and we were determined to make it a memorable trip for her.
We're going to take you to the best pizza ever.
And ice cream! We have to take you to this insane ice cream place.
Oh, and the sourdough. Gotta have that. And Mission burritos obviously and we have to go get gyros, oh and you have to try ramen and–
"Not to be offensive or anything..." Blažka cut in hesitantly. "But you guys have been talking about food 90% of the time."
Flabbergasted, one of us replied, "you mean to tell us there are things in San Francisco you want to experience that don't have anything to do with food?"
And so with the sudden revelation that San Francisco is actually full of iconic landmarks, we threw together a last minute itinerary for a proper tour of the city the next morning...
...except that we, the hostesses, didn't wake up until noon. Let's blame it on the carbload from the night prior, but NO REGRETS because the New Yorker pie at Tony's Napoletana Pizza is honest to heaven one of the best things this city has to offer. They just started offering delivery through UberEATs and so now my mind is blown, my diet's called off, and–
On the top of Blažka's San Francisco wishlist was to see the hills that Mia Thermopolis drove down in her baby blue convertible in Princess Diaries (which is how I knew immediately that Blažka and I would get along swimmingly).
But instead of doing a simple Google search to see which specific hill that was, we decided instead to drive towards Lombard Street and then tell Blažka that every steep hill in Pacific Heights could be that special hill!
Rude, right? Except that we blasted Miracles Happen from Princess Diaries as we inched down Lombard in a gray convertible and hoped that it would appease dear Blažka. You win some, you lose some, is the lesson here.
Next up was the Ghirardelli Square/Fisherman's Wharf/Pier 39 part of town which was just as crowded and headache-inducing as expected, except that it was a stunning day and there were lots of mini donuts on offer and we force-fed Blažka stale sourdough shaped like a turtle, insisting that it was a San Francisco classic.
And then we found out you can get it at any grocery market in Slovenia.
SO then we were all, time for the piece de resistance: the Golden Gate Bridge! And Blažka was rightfully super excited about it, readying her Spotify playlist for a bunch of San Francisco-themed songs.
We took a wrong turn and missed the Golden Gate Bridge. Traffic was awful so Cassandra dejectedly suggested tabling the bridge for the next day and hitting up Alamo Square to see the Painted Ladies instead. Which would've been fine and dandy except that Cassandra and I decided that a detour to our professor's house in the neighborhood was necessary. Little did we know, we chatted over coffee for so long that the sun had long set by the time we made it out of there... deeming the view of the Painted Ladies not so great:
Keen to salvage the night, we drove up to Twin Peaks to check out the breathtaking (but COLD!) view of the entire city before us. Thankfully, Blažka found it as special as we did. Afterwards, we turned off the GPS and drove all over the city, showing Blažka the Golden Gate Bridge in the dark as well as a lit-up Palace of Fine Arts.
The next day, we were determined to make up for our shortcomings.
The entire morning, we were only running about two hours behind schedule. First up was the Painted Ladies, this time actually visible.
Then, a leisurely walk on the Golden Gate.
Lest you think it was all smooth sailing from here on out,
Because we had a deadline to make (a New Year's party over in Oakland), we raced through all of these landmarks without ever feeding Blažka till like 4pm. The poor girl was starving, and so we promised her food at the Ferry Building farmers' market immediately after seeing the bridge. Except the universe had other plans, and instead directed us to drive over the Bridge to Marin, where we had to wait 10 minutes at a one-way tunnel just to turn back to the city. Hangry but not wanting to let the $6 toll fee go to waste, we chugged up to Hawk Hill for this incredible panorama:
Finally, finally, finally we made it to the farmers' market where we loaded up on all the calories we could to bid 2016 a proper adieu.