Why I didn’t want to leave San Francisco.

Remember how I loved New York so much? I think I’ve found a new opponent in the contest ‘Anke’s all time favorite city of the U S and A’. While I was sitting on the bus to LA, it occured to me: I didn’t want to go. Not that I don’t want to see what kind of city Los Angeles is, but I had this rather gut wrenching feeling of leaving something pretty damn nice behind. Oh, and I had a massive headache as well.

San Francisco is different. Where other American cities are filled with Starbucks, McDonalds and other fastfood chains, San Francisco has tons of small restaurants and original places to eat. You don’t even have to look very well to find them. Streets filled with murals and independent shops. Cyclists and hills – a weird combination, I know – everywhere. Tons of green protected areas. Very openminded inhabitants – check the barbiepictures of my trip to the Castro area – and Gay Pride. Old cablecars rattling up the hill, filled with tourists.

Of course, a city only feels good when you meet great people, so thanks for making my stay memorable to all the Australian, English, Estonian, American, Belgian – even Belgian! The first ones after a month of travelling – and Canadian boys and girls I’ve met. Besides meeting great people, I also pushed some personal boundaries. Especially the day I rented a bike and decided to cycle all the way to Muir Woods National Monument, approximately 28 km further. Sounds reasonable? Maybe I should tell you that San Francisco is horribly hilly? Compare it with cycling in the Ardennes, one of the highest ‘mountains’ up and down. Twice. Thanks to the occasional ‘you go girl’ from drivers passing by with their fast cars, I made it to the top. Very proud and very burnt – for that one day I forget to put on sunscreen –. Oh, and those tallest trees in the world were pretty impressive as well. Definitely worth the effort.

Another magical part is the Golden Gate bridge, you never know if it’s still there or not. The magical fog covering the bridge makes you fear not to make it to the other side with your bicycle. Luckily I didn’t disappear in mid-air.

Combination of nature, city and creative little shops, a great time with great people made me sad to leave. I guess that just means I need to come back, no?


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Anke Roosendans

illustrator / travel addict / architecture lover / crazy about mid-century modern design

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