I left my heart in San Francisco
Even though it was a work trip, I still managed to squeeze in some sightseeing and shopping, of course *wink* This is the city that took my i-everything disliking and turned it on it’s head…and it didn’t take much convincing for me to walk away from the multi-level i-store with my shiny new iphone 6 *BIG Grin*
Two flights, 20 hours and one pitstop in London later, we arrived in beautiful San Francisco.
A few mere hours away from Napa valley, California’s very own winelands and few hours drive South to the City of Angels…. Hollywood. Home to the great gold rush of the Wild Wild West in the 1800s, to the Summer of Love in the 1960s and more recently the digital dreamers of Silicon Valley, this green loving city by the sea has seen it all.
After landing at San Francisco International airport we took a more well loved version of the Gautrain, called the BART to Powell street, which was where our hotel was located.
We checked into The Hilton’s Parc 55 Hotel. This modern 4 star hotel is conveniently located mere minutes away from Union Square and Westfield shopping mall, and within walking distance to may other attractions.
The highlight of my trip was attending a conference at Twitter HQ! Not only was I able to discover how it all began, and learn the latest new developments in Twitter but I got to listen to co-founder & CEO Jack Dorsey tell us about “Setting up his twttr” #OMG #nerdgasm
I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised to find that unlike all the other techie companies that call Silicon Valley home, Twitter is located in unpretentious downtown San Francisco. Why? well other than some great tax breaks put in place by Mayor Lee, this has helped with the uplifment of a former depressed area by giving jobs to newly graduated young techies as well as attracting other tech companies to the area.
What blew me away was how much space Twitter’s offices had. You simply would not find any of these in SA:
- A games room where one could shoot some hoops or play with all original Nintendo games for hard working employees to come blow off some steam.
- Pause areas/breakrooms on every floor with unlimited snacks ranging from healthy nuts, power bars to poptarts and chewing gum with several flavours of mineral water and coffees
- Each ladies restroom contains complimentary toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine products
- Two canteens on the 9th and 13th floor serving breakfast, lunch, dinner complimentary to all staff….with a salad bar at least a mile long and almost every healthy thing you can think of. The canteen on the upper level is dedicated to Asian fusion, so you can take your pick.
- Twitter Aviator – cool gif-making-while-you-wait apparatus
- Twitter Live Studio – An entire boardroom with wall to wall screens where clients can watch there event’s tweets & campaigns take place in real time
- Indoor log cabin meeting rooms
- In house crossfit studio as well as a gym
- In house grocer with a well stocked vino selection
- In house sit down cafe/restaurant
- in house coffee house
Twitter’s ethos is clear: “Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of you”
And if that wasn’t enough to impress you let me just mention these two little words….FREE WIFI on the streets of San Francisco. Yes, folks you heard me right! Free public wifi on the streets….oh cry beloved country, SA you are so far behind it hurts…no literally it kills me well my data bundle anyways.
Our trip was short and sweet, just like these next short and sweet Top Seven San Francisco MUST DO’s:
1.DO go and see Golden Gate Bridge – whether by bike, foot or car you just can’t go to SF and not see this architectural wonder. I wish I had more time then I would have biked across to neighboring town of Sausalito.
2. Take a Tram/Trolley/Cable Car – affordable at only $7 USD, convenient and fun way to see the city. These will take you through some very exciting neighbourhoods. These originated back to the 1800s with 23 different lines, this is the world’s largest manually operated cable car system.
3. DO visit the colourful Haight/ Ashbury district – go check out this funky, fun part of town that seems to be stuck in the 60’s. Grand old houses with a pop of colour are the some of the remnants of bohemian free love culture of the 60s. Reminds me of our spunky Bokaap in the Cape.
5. Lombard street – the craziest, longest, windiest (is that even a word?!) and crookedest road in the world! you have to check this out for yourself. Yes it’s a real street and yes people do drive down it. It has 8 hairpin turns scattered with lovely flowerbeds throughout. The Powell Tram, which we took to get to Fisherman’s Wharf stops here.
6.Fishermen’s wharf – The orinial Meiggs Wharf was once the main port of entry into San Fran and quite the industry hub. Today still a bustling hive of activity, but more so due to the shops, restuarants and hotels rather than the fishermen of yesteryear
7.Alcatraz – Robben Island in the States? perhaps but still definitely work a visit to this former maximum security prison
I had such an amazing trip, my only wish would be for more time to explore this American city I fell in love with.
I think I left my heart in San Francisco ….
As always #WishYouWereHere