So it’s been around three weeks since I left Calgary and what a jam-packed adventure so far! It’s been quite the whistle-stop tour of the west coast; stopping off in Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle. Right now I’m currently residing with my sister in San Francisco and have been here for around ten days. It’s been wonderful to stay in this quirky, diverse and gritty city whilst attempting to get to grips with its often surprising and eccentric inhabitants. Nevertheless I can’t help but feel the occasional pang of longing for my Canadian friends across the border. I will miss Canada for all its charm and courtesy (and there’s no Tim Hortons here either!). America feels far more dogged and rough-edged than its polite and reserved neighbours further north.
This can make for some interesting encounters with loud-mouthed users whilst on the bus but is far less entertaining when you don’t feel safe or street-savvy walking around town. Perhaps America is not as clean or efficient as Canadian cities like Calgary and Vancouver and you certainly have to keep your wits about you a lot more. However from my experiences so far, San Francisco seems like a vibrant and dynamic place to live and it can be rather picturesque and friendly (if a little hilly at times!).
So what have I been getting up to since leaving Calgary and how on earth have I ended up in San Francisco? Well there were a few long-winded journeys on Greyhound buses involved (and also a ferry trip, multiple trains, a plane and a taxi or two). But here I am now and I want to tell you about the highlights of my travelling so far!
To get to Vancouver from Calgary we embarked on a gruelling 15 hour bus journey. When we finally arrived, we were desperate for some fresh air and what better way to do so than an afternoon spent in the sunshine of Stanley Park. Our stay in Vancouver was intersected by a brief overnight visit to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia and what a beautiful place it was.
The weather was glorious and I really felt like I was on holiday, especially on the idyllic ferry ride over. This was in complete contrast to our crazy whale-watching voyage the next day. Layered up in thick, water-proof suits and bundled into a speed boat, we zoomed out the harbour and into open waters. Despite a disappointing lack of whale sightings, we still caught a glimpse of seals and sea-lions lazing out on the rocks and the thrill of being out to sea on a turbulent and bouncy rubber dinghy still made the trip worth it.
Victoria was so lovely that we spent far more time there than anticipated which meant that our return time in Vancouver was cut short. Luckily I’ve stayed in Vancouver before so didn’t feel like I was missing out on too much. On the other hand, it is one of my favorite-ever cities and I was sad to say goodbye yet again.
After almost nine months of living in Canada, it was now finally time to part ways and with little ceremony, apart from a brief stop at customs, we crossed over the border into the US and onto our next port-of-call in Seattle. I wasn’t particularly sold by Seattle although I wished I could have stayed a day or so longer to have experienced it some more. We paid a visit to the first ever Starbucks (and many more! There was pretty much one on every street corner…), the infamous gum wall down at Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market and indulged at the Cheesecake Factory (shout out to Big Bang Theory fans). The highlight of our stay was probably going up the Space Needle which gave us incredible, albeit slightly windy, views of the city.
From there I headed to SF where I’ve filled my time doing lots of exploring around the city such as travelling across the Golden Gate Bridge, visiting the deYoung Museum, Fisherman’s Wharf and Alcatraz. Despite being rather ill and therefore bored, bed-bound and frustrated for the first few days, I’ve still tried to make it pretty action-packed, although we couldn’t go on some of the trips further afield that we had originally planned. San Francisco is a city with endless, fun things to do and also endless, delicious things to taste. Once I regained my appetite and energy, I’ve pretty much been fitting in as much eating and exploring as humanly possible before I leave on Friday!
And on that note, I best sign off here… it’s a quick see you later for now because the next time I will post it will be from Belize and I still have a lot to see and do before then. Speak soon!