San Francisco in less than 3 Days

A couple of weeks ago we went on short (2.5 day) trip to San Francisco and yes, we did a lot of touristy things! It was our first time on the West Coast, so we took advantage of the nice weather and explored some of the main sights.

 


IMG_6259Friday night we walked from our hotel, which, amazingly enough, was right by Union Square, to the Fisherman’s Wharf. It was about a thirty minute walk, half up an excruciating hill and the second half of it down. The directions weren’t complicated, literally we just had to walk straight. So that wasn’t an issue, we only got a little doubtful when we got into a very sketchy looking Chinatown. But we made it through and were rewarded with a really good fresh crab and a octopus-calamari salad when we got to the Wharf.

 

For dinner we took an Uber to a small restaurant, that the receptionist at our hotel recommended to us, called Pacific Catch. I got an amazing salmon filet with really good sweet potato fries! We were all so happy after that meal, but exhausted! We ended the day and headed back to the hotel. Since we were all jet lagged, all coming for the trip from very different time zones, we ended up going to sleep at about 9pm, so much for being a crazy college student, am I right?

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The next day we went for brunch and I love brunch food, so I was very excited to get good brunch and not just food at my dining hall. We searched around on Yelp! for something that was nearby and lucked out when we came across Honey Honey Cafe and Crepery. We randomly picked it out, because it was close by, but we were blown away with the quality and amount of food we got. It turned out to be a cute little cafe with a really long line. However, we didn’t wait too long and we managed to get a table right away. I definitely recommend this cafe! It is a must! Just make sure you get there at a good time, because I’m sure the place gets even more crowded.

 

Next, came an activity Alena and I feared a little. Ok, that’s a lie, we very afraid of it: biking across the Golden Gate Bridge. We were up for the challenge, but it was definitely going to be a struggle, since neither of us has gone biking in about 10 years. However, I am quite stubborn, so, with words that I was afraid were going to be my last, I declared CHALLENGE ACCEPTED and got on my bike.

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We rented bikes from Blazing Saddles, I questioned the name of it, but kept my doubts to myself. My favorite, however, was their short video we had to watch before renting the bikes. This amazing and not at all cheesy video gave us an overview of our tour and sights “we definitely cannot miss”. The very excited woman told us not to forget to turn right onto the bridge, which shocked us all, and told us to “just enjoy the view” as we rode across it. Meanwhile the woman at the counter got very sassy about it, clearly annoyed at having to watch the same video over and over.

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We weren’t sure what to expect of the actual bike ride, but we loved this trip! The weather was amazing and the view was priceless and as the video recommended, we “just enjoyed the view”! After a while we even got used to dodging families on the sidewalk (we never got used to cars, but that’s ok, we survived)! The journey was about 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) long and took us 4 hours, which I definitely count as a huge success! We managed to get to Sausalito, where we took a ferry back to the ferry building. And we even navigated the busy streets of San Francisco and got back to Fisherman’s Wharf without getting hit by a car!

 

TIP: Bring enough water! It’s a long journey and you definitely need to keep hydrated

 

That night we deserved a nice big meal in a great restaurant, the name of which was forgotten after three glasses of wine. Our dad’s friend order basically EVERYTHING on the menu and we ate almost all of it. And just like the night before, we passed out after our long day.

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On our last day we went the Cliff house and went for a walk/hike along the coast. Finally, we saw the Golden Gate Bridge from all possible angles and took hundreds and hundreds of photos of it, and I felt complete :D. I could leave San Francisco knowing I took more than enough photos, about 400.

We ended our trip with The Cheesecake Factory, so yet again, another big meal. Our trip was so much fun and even though we didn’t manage to see everything we wanted to, we call it a success! We will definitely go back to see more sights and especially tour Full House filming sights!


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Swiss Air: Thoughts and Experiences

IMG_7096I fly between Boston and Prague quite a lot and personally I love taking Swiss Air for this trip. Part of the reason is that I am a loyal customer, so I collect as many miles as I can, but really I am very happy with their service. On top of their great service and actually decent food, layovers in Zurich are very calm and I never have to stress about making my second flight. My most recent flight with Swiss Air was at the end of November, so here’s my experience:

 

 

Pre-flight

The pre-flight process with Swiss Air is very simple. You can check-in online 24 hours before your flight, or you can even select automatic check-in, when they will automatically send you your boarding pass about 25 hours before the flight. This makes things so nice and easy, because you don’t have to stress about having to log in online exactly 24 hours before the flight or you won’t get good seats! That’s the only bad thing about Swiss Air, you can’t select a seat before you do online check-in, all you can do is select what type of seat you prefer: aisle, window or middle (no one ever wants the middle!). Even so, Swiss Air likes to make everything simple for their customers.

 

Flight

During the actual flight the service is great! The flight attendants are very friendly and unlike with Air France, they are NOT surprised when you speak English to them. They are helpful and try to accommodate the passengers with whatever needs they may have. True, when a woman got out of her seat during a particularly strong turbulence, the attendant yelled at her through the PA system, but she kind of deserved it, otherwise they are super polite.

 

In-flight Entertainment

I love the in-flight entertainment Swiss Air has. Yes, sometimes the screens/technology is dated and the screens aren’t as pretty because some of the airplanes are older, but they have an amazing selection of movies and tv shows on each flight. Not only do they offer recently released movies, like Inside Out (I may or may not have watched that twice), but they also offer classics. Last week they offered all of the 007 movies and all of the Fast & Furious movies. They also had multiple episodes of the Big Bang Theory, Jane the Virgin and even episodes of The Flash and The Walking Dead. Needless to say, I was not bored on this flight :)

 

Food

Food is always a big question mark when it comes to eating on a plane. I have an added disadvantage of being a celiac, so I cannot have any gluten whatsoever. Luckily, airlines now offer special meals for celiacs, however, they usually suck. With Swiss Air it really depends on where you are flying from. Flying from the US to Europe, the food is ok. It’s better than what gluten-free plane food used to be, but it’s not best. Flying from Switzerland, however, is absolutely amazing. True, the warm meal still lacks in flavor sometimes, but I do get a warm gluten-free bun and lemon cake AND chocolate marble cake! I do love Swiss Air when they give me cake <3 As far as drinks go, the flight attendants make sure you get enough to drink throughout the flight and walk down the aisle frequently offering water.

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Swiss Air is great! I definitely recommend them. I never had an issue with them or at the Zurich airport during transfers.They may not be the cheapest option out there, but I personally think it’s worth it!

 

Want to compare Swiss Air to another airline? Read our review of the Emirates Airline!

 


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Dubai: first impressions

  A while back I promised an article about my trip to Dubai. I was able to go there in October, when it was slowly starting to freeze in the Czech Republic, so a nice vacation to a warm destination was perfect.

I arrived in Dubai on Thursday around 1 am and headed straight to the hotel. Since I had no local currency, my first worry was to get cash for a cab. There was an atm right before passport control, so I was able to get cash and be calm. Since I checked in fairly early, my bag was one of the last ones to come onto the carousel. And I headed to find the cab.

It was pretty easy to find cabs and I was met with my first surprise. Since I am a woman and was traveling alone, I was immediately sent to a line of cabs with pink roofs. These are cabs designated for women with female drivers.

Arriving in the hotel at 2 am wasn’t too bad and I was able to check in quickly. The hotel, located in the Dubai Marina, was amazing. It was comfortable and we had a room overlooking the marina and the hotel pool.

In the morning, after a quick but delicious hotel breakfast, I went for a walk. At 9 am, the heat was almost unbearable and I immediately regretted wearing skinny jeans. I walked around the marina and was awed by the city. Everywhere I looked, new skyscrapers were being built, yet the overall feeling on the street was calm.

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I ducked in for a lemonade and to cool off in an airconditioned cafe to keep a headache from coming on.

And here’s my first tip: make sure that even though it’s hot outside, carry around something to throw over your shoulders inside. They generally blast their a/c pretty high.

I spent the rest of the day at the pool and lounging at the hotel, getting some work done and generally enjoying the time off.

The following day, I let myself sleep in, got ready and headed out to the famed Dubai Mall. It’s hard to find words to even describe it. First of all, four hours were not enough to even see everything. Second, thank god for the map, without them, you’re sure to never find your way out (I’m only half kidding here). And yes, I got lost once and I’m not ashamed to admit it.

And then – there’s a full-sized ice rink and an aquarium. So, it sets standards for shopping to a completely different level, I mean, how can you even shop without the option to ice skate or scuba dive? :)))

There wasn’t a single brand I could think of that wouldn’t be in the mall. So I did some shopping and decided to brave the outside heat and check out the Burj Khalifa.

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It is magnificent. When you’re standing next to it, you feel tiny. It’s crazy to think about how they managed to build it. And I was already excited about our planned visit to the top. After a small UBER mishap later, I arrived at the hotel and, this time, headed out to a business dinner.

Finally, Friday and the day I was going to get to go to the top of the Burj Khalifa arrived. We had prebooked tickets the day before for 10 am, so we headed out right after breakfast.

 

The entrance is through the Dubai mall, and first you go to a waiting area and through a security check. We went through a hallway with photos and information of how it was built and facts about the building. If you have a spare five million dollars, you can buy a two-bedroom apartment there.

On the way up, you get an impressive projection of the world’s tallest buildings and then you just take in the view. We went to the 146th floor, which has an outside viewing area. There are high glass panels, so you’re still closed off from the sides, but the top is open and you’re literally standing outside in the height of about 600 meters. It’s unbelievable.

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If you go to Dubai, visiting the Burj Khalifa and going to the top is a definite must. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Have fun!


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