Weekend Recap: The Bay Area
It's Friday morning as I sit to write this - I am so foggy with allergies, tired from a busy week at work and nostalgic for last weekend's adventures.
At the start of 2016, I vowed to travel to six new places (3 of them alone). This weekend was my first travel foray of the year - albeit not entirely far (ballin' on a...tight budget). I had the opportunity to visit my old friend, Gina, in Oakland, California.
I've been up to San Francisco plenty of times in the past but had never stayed in Oakland. To be entirely honest, I was a little nervous. In my head, I pictured Oakland as pretty scary & unsafe for two girls to frolic around for a weekend. While I am sure there are parts of that city that are indeed scary, I was pleasantly surprised by the cute neighborhoods, friendly people and the really pretty lake that bordered downtown (with just the cutest, Pinterest-y strung lights that lit up the surrounding path at night).
- Climbing: If you know me at all, you know how debilitating my fear of heights is. I can't even stand on my office's third floor balcony without shaking. I acknowledge it's very ironic I loved skydiving...but besides the point. Gina and her boyfriend are avid climbers, so I was roped into joining them at their climbing gym: Great Western Power Co. I was admittedly nervous to climb - the last time I had climbed was 2 years ago, and I was terrified everytime I accidentally looked down. Though I was a little shaky this time around, I made it to the top of a few walls...and had tons of fun! So much exhilaration and adrenaline. Plus, it felt like a giant puzzle! I felt even better bouldering...like a monkey climbing around! Going out of my comfort zone was totally worth it...and a great workout that didn't feel like one (till I was sore the following day)!
- Exploring Berkeley: Gina graduated from Cal last year and had always raved about how beautiful the campus was, so on my last evening, I went to check it out! The campus was beautiful...lush green trees, small streams and awesome architecture. Not only was the campus fun to explore, the surrounding area was too! Some good eats in the area: Cinnaholic & Casa Latina. The best part of visiting Berkeley though? Driving back to Oakland and watching the sunset over the Golden Gate Bridge and the entire bay. It ranks as one of the most breathtaking moments of my life.
- Bay to Breakers: Easily the best part of the weekend. As I'm still heavily limiting the amount of mileage I put in per week, I decided not to run Bay to Breakers, but to enjoy walking the course with Gina, her boyfriend, and friends. I understood that Bay to Breakers was a 12k through San Francisco where people dressed up. I didn't understand: how intense costumes got, that almost everyone was drunk...and how much of a celebration the entire run/walk is. I've never experienced such contagiously positive energy before...it was a day of celebration, friendship, letting go of any stress and worry, and of course getting to see really iconic areas of San Francisco (as well as plenty of naked people). I will 100% go back next year...and hopefully to run!
Some additional fun:
Among all of the fun things we did, naturally the best part of the weekend was seeing an old friend. It's amazing to me how friendships can powerfully transcend time and distance...and even grow stronger with time apart.
Can't wait to go back up to NorCal for some more exploring, hiking, and fun! Now on to this next weekend's fun - let's hope these allergies disappear so I can think straight!