Tag Archives: San Francisco

Heading West in an RV

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Western USA in an RV

San Francisco had been a fantastic city in which to start our family RV holiday, but now I was excited to start our road trip travelling in the Western United States. For most of the 20th and 21st centuries, the automobile has been the dominant form of transportation in the United States. Equally, travelling on a road to the West has for a long time been synonymous for many with the American Dream: freedom; adventure; and diverse, enticing and grand landscapes. Therefore, the road and the car both hold a revered place in the American consciousness. It was our first time in the Western United States, and we looked forward to travelling across a variety of Western cities and landscapes.

Our RV trip didn’t start that well. In the first minute of the trip, plates fell from a cupboard and shattered on the floor. But that was soon forgotten after we left San Francisco and ventured further south. Continue reading


Sunshine in San Francisco

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Western USA in an RV

I was eagerly anticipating a visit to San Francisco, which was the first stop on a three week, West Coast family RV trip. I was attracted by the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco’s cable cars, the city’s seemingly laid back vibe and by the West Coast sunshine. This was also my first experience of a trans-Atlantic flight, so I was excited by the prospect of watching multiple movies and TV shows on the twelve-hour journey.

Upon arrival, unsurprisingly, the United States Border Force at San Francisco took their job incredibly seriously, so our family had to collectively suppress our excitement about being on the West Coast. After we got through security, we took the subway downtown.

We emerged from the subway, and were greeted by sunshine in San Francisco. There were multiple street performers, a tram that had just gone past and an infectious excitement and atmosphere in the busy streets. After a fairly short walk, and having dropped our suitcases off at our hotel, we were famished. So we headed to the nearest restaurant, Lori’s Diner, which is a 1950s style diner and has multiple outlets throughout San Francisco. I really liked Lori’s as the service was quick, the red booths were comfortable, the burgers and chips were tasty and it was fairly cheap. After that we crashed in our hotel, exhausted from the jet lag, in very comfortable beds.

The cable cars epitomise San Fran for many. Photographer: Ali Leyland-Collins

The next morning we emerged from our slumbers into another hot and enticing day in San Francisco. Continue reading


Top 10 Highlights of the West Coast (California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah) Part 2

I conclude my West Coast experience here with another 5 highlights from my two week coach trip around California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah. These are a selection of places I was not necessarily expecting great things from, but nevertheless enjoyed thoroughly. As with my first set of highlights in Part 1, I would highly recommend visiting these locations if you get the chance!

Sedona – This was a truly thrilling day. As an avid Mumford and Sons fan, listening to their live album ‘Red Rocks’ which was performed in Sedona, I am not afraid to admit that Continue reading


Marching Against Trump in San Francisco

As Trump declares war on anything he deems threatening with the announcement of the second Muslim Ban, I realise how fortunate I am to be studying in San Francisco for this year. San Francisco is a liberal bubble, with a rich history in LGBT rights led by Harvey Milk, and it’s this past that helps it lead the way forward in America. Considering San Francisco voted 85.5% Democrat in the 2016 General Election, it comes as no surprise that when Trump was announced president there was outrage. The people of the city, however, chose to show this not through violence but instead by organising a march against this outrageous president.

The first protest took place Continue reading


An Ice Cream Tour of the West Coast

As the summer begins to draw to a close, everyone is desperate to keep the summer spirit alive for as long as they can — and what embodies summer more than ice cream? A road trip down the West Coast is pretty much a perfect summer holiday, so I took it upon myself to investigate the best spots along the West Coast for an ice cream. A tough job, but someone has to do it.

I started my exploration in Vancouver, British Columbia. Vancouver was a treasure trove of delicious treats and, sitting by the water, in the sun, with some Canadian maple syrup cheesecake was perhaps one of the best moments of life so far. It wasn’t until I reached Granville Island, however, that I found a truly fantastic ice cream. The vendors at Granville Public Market change weekly, but everyone there is known for creating fresh, delicious, artisan foods. Plus it’s situated right next to the marina, so the atmosphere and views you can enjoy while you eat are second to none.

Next stop: Seattle, where I was treated to so many ice cream shops that it is hard to narrow it down. Sweet Bumpas can be found at a variety of farmer’s markets around Seattle, and they pride themselves on using 100% fresh, locally sourced ingredients. However, it is the flavours that make them a must-visit, putting really delicious twists on classic flavours. If you get the chance, make sure you try the black rice and ginger ice cream. Your taste buds will thank you.

While you’re ice cream tasting in Seattle, make sure you pay Old School Frozen Custard a visit. You can find it on Capitol Hill, and it has become an institution in Seattle — in fact, it almost shut down once but a group of people got together to make sure that it could stay open. Now that’s dedication to ice cream. It is now owned by the people responsible for making their delicious chocolate chip cookies, so an ice cream (or frozen custard) sandwich is a must.

I’d like to give an honourable mention to Seattle Pops. Not exactly ice cream, but these popsicles are honestly phenomenal, and the flavours are amazing. Spicy pineapple jalapeno is one you won’t be forgetting any time soon.


Next, we hit Oregon, and where better to go for an Oregonian ice cream than to the dairy headquarters of Tilamook cheese factory. Don’t worry, they serve more than just cheese — their ice cream menu is extensive and delicious. Make sure you go with an empty stomach though, as their portions are extremely generous. Treat yourself to a waffle cone, and go to town. You can even go taste some cheese afterwards, if you’ve left any room (although that is unlikely).

Continue reading