Thursday, March 2, 2017

San Francisco and Las Vegas

San Francisco with Krista

Over the summer, I was reminded that should/when I move back to the United States, there are plenty of amazing cities to travel to. For my birthday, my parents booked me a ticket to see one of my sisters in San Francisco, California. Before she moved to San Francisco, we had visited together for an overnight trip and loved it. Now that she lives there, she was able to show me around her fabulous city. 

We explored Chinatown on my birthday, the United States' first true Chinatown. San Francisco weather is quite a bit chillier than Rochester summers, but my gosh, when that California sun is shining, you couldn't pay me to stay inside! We strolled up and down the streets, paper lanterns fluttering above our heads, picking through the souvenirs that were propped up outside of the shops. We each bought a bracelet, mine red with gold designs running through it, as well as some small paintings. Everything smelled spicy, sweet, and fried- we spent some time searching for a restaurant with the highest health/sanitary rating we could find. Beyond that, we checked out cute restaurants and bars, enjoying a ridiculous amount of appetizers before heading back to her apartment for more candy than we could possibly eat. 

On days when she worked, I would start the day at the Starbucks across the street and wander on my own. The hills are like none I've ever experienced, and it was pretty exhausting. I didn't stray too far out of my comfort zone as I didn't have a map (or wifi), but walked down to the Bay and around her neighborhood. Her puppy came with me for my walks; that's another thing to look forward to for someday- having a fur baby! 

While I haven't had much trouble with flights within Europe, I have had infinite trouble in the United States. My flight was delayed until the middle of the night, which worked out well. We went out with some new friends, grabbing nachos and drinks (and then more drinks) out on the town. As it delayed more and more, we just took that as a sign to stay out as late as we wanted! The flight ended up being canceled and rerouted, including an 8-hour layover. Ugh! Luckily for me, the stop was in Las Vegas, another city I've never been to, which meant I had an unexpected adventure!

Las Vegas Layover

The Las Vegas Strip is surprisingly close to the airport, so I took a taxi to one of the casinos and checked my bag before carrying on into the city. Oh my gosh, it is unbelievable hot in Las Vegas! I didn't actually gamble, but did explore The Venetian, The Bellagio, Cesaers Palace, and Planet Hollywood. One of my good friends also happens to live there, so I got to see Vegas beyond the strip with him and his girlfriend (including the house they'd just closed on!). While it was unexpected, it added an element of spontaneity to the trip, as well as a feeling of good fortune that my layover was long enough to do some exploring. 

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