Los Angeles, Hawaii & San Francisco
Click here to see part 1.
After a few days of exploration, we spent the last few days of the Hawaii leg in Waikiki, which for me, is the very definition of East meets West. It has the vibe of a bustling eastern metropolis (clammy heat, noodle bars, street markets full of handmade trinkets), with all the comforts you’d expect of a North American holiday (US dollars, cheap Levi’s and huge burgers). The majority of the two final days were spent lounging at Kuhio Beach Park, followed by fruity sundowners at one of the many bars overlooking the ocean.
Leaving Hawaii, we headed to our final destination: San Francisco. After over a week of summery climes and sun-bleached scenery, San Fran was a weather wake-up call. It sits away from the sunny Californian stereotype, so after donning scarves and tights, we headed to Hotel Vertigo to check in. This swish 4-star hotel is in Nob Hill -- an uber-posh area of the city, not far from Union Square. The hotel’s name comes from its heritage -- built on the site of the Empire Hotel, which was made famous in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo. We were impressed with the huge windows and quirky design of the lobby, and the white and tangerine bedroom interiors.
San Francisco is choc-a-block with postcard-friendly sights -- from the Golden Gate Bridge, to Fisherman’s Wharf and Lombard Street (that’s the zig-zag road up the hill, aka the most crooked street in the world). We decided the best way to see everything was a hop-on, hop-off, bus tour. Whilst I’m usually a fan of the map-in-my-pocket and comfy-shoes-on-my feet sort of meandering, I have to admit that I enjoyed this method -- especially in such a hilly city. We spent ample time where we wanted to and hopped back on the bus to move along (or avoid the rain). In addition to the tourist hotspots, we wandered around Chinatown (where we found really cheap camera stores) and taste-tested pretty much all of the coffee shops in Nob Hill.
At £1199 per person this trip from the Internet Traveller, was a real holiday bargain. The hotels were contemporary and well-located, and there was ample time in each destination. Next year I’ll be trying another multi-centre, this time on the East Coast -- New York, Boston and Washington, DC.
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