• San Francisco

    The man with golden bowling glove

    This week Andrew is back at work, which has given me ample opportunity to explore San Mateo. I have found some excellent thrift shops, including one called Plato’s Closet which is basically Aladdin’s Cave of Wonders. My favourite purchase so far is a fabulous vintage Fila bumbag which cost $6. We have also finally got some crockery, and after more than a week of eating off paper plates this brings me much joy. Alas, the mugs did not survive the postage, and have been returned to Bed, Bath and Beyond as a pile of sad, broken shards. On Tuesday evening we decided to cycle to Bell Mateo Bowl (about 3.5…

  • San Francisco

    Flying machines and trailer parks

    On Sunday, we decided it was time for another cycling adventure. We couldn’t be bothered to get on a train, so we needed to find a trail from our apartment building. We use an App called Komoot to plan a lot of our cycling routes, but the only one in the area that didn’t have more than 1500ft of uphill was a 30-mile tour to Dumbarton Bridge, the southernmost of the highway bridges across San Francisco Bay. We set off at lunchtime, the sun blazing and not a cloud in the sky, and proceeded to get quite lost, almost ending up on the highway. We eventually worked out that we…

  • San Francisco

    A park called Andrew and an American faux pas

    On Thursday morning we checked out of the thrilling Travelodge in Monterey and drove 10 minutes down the road to a place called Carmel-by-the-Sea – another seaside resort city. This one was recommended to us by the Uber driver who took us to pick up the Mustang. On arrival, we were both immediately suspicious that Carmel wasn’t going to quite be our vibe – it all looked very manicured and expensive. We had a wander down the main street and according to some of the real estate posters a 3-bed house can set you back $6 million… There were lots of fancy gift shops selling overpriced cushions and shoe shops…

  • San Francisco

    A little drive along the Pacific Coast Highway

    Andrew and I woke up yesterday morning not really knowing what to do with the next few days. Due to Thanksgiving, he has Wednesday-Friday off this week, so it seemed sensible to go on an adventure, but where? First, we looked at flights to places like Seattle and Portland, and even considered Alaska, but ultimately we decided airports during Thanksgiving week might be a nightmare. So the next best thing seemed to be to rent a car and drive somewhere. We settled on driving to Monterey, a coastal city located on the Pacific Coast Highway (known as the “PCH”), a 656-mile highway that runs along most of the coast of…

  • San Francisco

    A new apartment and a chocolate turkey

    This morning, we arrived at the new flat to discover a Thanksgiving gift hanging from a door…a chocolate turkey…welcome to America! This is going to be a short post as yesterday was mostly focused on moving furniture into the new flat and I suspect that is too boring to write about. The furniture guys were legends – they liked my Dr. Martens and the fact I was blaring out naughties club music from the Speakers  (good old Cascada). I still can’t get over how friendly everyone is here. The flat is now starting to look a bit more cheerful and has a sofabed so anyone wishing to stay (*hint hint…

  • San Francisco

    Sunday Cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge

    Sunday was another beautiful day, so Andrew and I decided to break in our new bikes and head to SF for an adventure to the seaside city of Sausalito. We boarded the Caltrain in San Mateo and locked our bikes in the carriage – and then got told off in the friendliest way imaginable by the train conductor for locking said bikes (apparently it is not allowed for elf and safety reasons). You can’t even get admonished here without a smile! From SF Caltrain station, we cycled along the bay all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge. I spent most of the cycle in total awe and wonder –…

  • San Francisco

    Bicycles, cider and Earl

    The forecast for this weekend was sunshine, sunshine & sunshine, so it felt like the correct time to buy us some bicycles. Yesterday we visited three different bike shops around San Mateo and tried out various options – my absolute favourite was a ridiculous rainbow coloured bike with massive pink wheels, but it had only one gear which I did not think would work well for SF’s famous hills. NB/ I have been informed “San Fran” is a very uncool term for the city, and that I must now start using “SF”.   In the end, we both chose hybrid bikes made by a company called Specialized – Andrew’s bike…

  • San Francisco

    American cheese is an abomination

    I am excited to announce that after just four days in California we have managed to secure a flat in Downtown San Mateo. More information to follow, but it is lovely and has a bizarrely enormous balcony so we need to decide how to jazz it up. We also received a great recommendation for a second-hand furniture store in Cupertino, where you can select an entire flat’s worth of furniture for a fixed price, so that’s where we went yesterday morning. It was a bit of a trek from San Mateo, requiring both the Caltrain and an Uber. Cupertino was more like what I imagined an American town to be:…

  • San Francisco

    The last fortune cookie factory in San Francisco

    Having have spent our third morning in San Mateo flat hunting, Andrew and I decided to venture out to San Francisco yesterday. San Mateo is just a 30-minute train ride from “the city by the bay” – the double-decker Caltrain is quite a sight to behold and makes a very distinctive honking every time it passes a stop (we think to warn any unsuspecting pedestrians from getting squashed). It was pretty cool sitting on the top floor of the Caltrain whizzing past the sprawling towns and suburbs of the Bay area, eventually reaching the massive hillside sign reading “South San Francisco The Industrial City”. We arrived just in time for…

  • San Francisco

    Exploring San Mateo and drinking really bad tea

    Andrew and I spent our first full day in San Mateo yesterday. We both woke up at 6am, feeling a bit jet-lagged but unusually perky for that time in the morning. Breakfast was a joy – “avocado toast” as they say here, accompanied with a poached egg and a cup of tea – we may or may not have brought with us 1000 Yorkshire teabags weighing more than 3kg. Needs must. We spent most of the day getting to know the local area in Downtown San Mateo, visiting various shops, cafés and continuing to get very excited by the enormous cars. We have discussed cars, and we are so far…