Today's blog post is by my 14-year-old niece Jaya Rivera, who lives in Seattle. She took a week-long, solo trip to San Francisco this summer for the second time. The first time was when she was only twelve. I guess the travel bug runs in the family. She is an aspiring photographer, avid reader, skilled baker, nature lover, and all-around cool kid. Keeping in mind her interest in photography, my sister Ricci and I planned to visit snap-worthy spots along the California coast. Not used to being around an inscrutable teenager (except when they are around other teenagers and only teenagers), I asked Jaya if she would like to write a blog post about her California adventure at the end of her trip. Yes, this was my coy way of trying to find out if she had fun. What I found instead was that she was raised well with impeccable manners. Ha. Meet Jaya and read about our Big Sur/Monterey/San Francisco trip from her point-of-view!
Jaya Rivera lives in Seattle, Washington, where she enjoys early morning runs, lake swimming, and the occasional book or two during the summer. In school, she is currently taking multiple honors classes and is a part of the school’s Orchestra. She loves to travel and take her camera with her, and hopes to learn more about photography along the way. Like any typical teenager, the obsession of John Green is completely unfathomable, as well as the need to admire beautiful clothing once in a while.
The exposition point of a customized ‘California Adventures’ began on a sleepy morning drive to Big Sur, where a small hike was taken to see the beautiful view that was offered. The water was beautifully blue just as the morning fog cleared, and in the distance we spotted whales.
Breakfast was just as gorgeous, too. We made our way to Deetjen’s, which is actually placed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was a cute little diner, and the ‘family area’ had a slight obsession with classical music. Don’t take that the wrong way—it was actually quite impressive and kept our eyes wandering while we waited for our meals.
We arrived in Monterey later that afternoon, where the house we rented was kindly adorned by complimentary snacks. The cabinets were filled with candy—my favorite interior design feature.
The next morning, we drove down to Monterey Bay to rent kayaks and tour the wildlife a bit. The tour guides were nice and their humor was a good wakeup call.
Throughout the day, we drove out to Asilomar State Beach, but only stayed briefly because the weather forbid anything but pants—something that I wasn’t prepared for. In short, shorts weren’t the wisest decision that day.
So, we drove out a bit more to China Cove, and Whaler’s Cabin Museum, where it was fascinating enough to get me to feel the baleen of a whale and even pick up the bones of one.
We spent the rest of the day touring downtown Carmel, where a cute Italian café had multiple treats that could only be found at annual fairs from where I’m from.
The San Francisco weather was such a relief from the Seattle heat wave, and I couldn’t help but laugh triumphantly as I checked their weather. But alas, that only meant that the foggy mornings were a bit chilly as we went on the Sunrise Kayak.
Don’t let the name fool you, the sun was already up and the skies were very cloudy that day. But, it was longer than the previous kayak, giving us more chances to get glimpses of the Sea Otters and multiple other organisms that were very fascinating.
But wait! The viewing of sea creatures isn’t over yet! The afternoon was spent in the aquarium, which was both interactive and entertaining.
Not much other than a good swim and my first—and second—T-Pumps bubble tea. I wasn’t disappointed.
Berry picking! The morning was warm and filled with stained fingers and the scent of strawberries. We picked ten pounds of it, and used the berries as part of a cake we baked later that day.
My day began with lunch at Apple, which was extensive in their cuisine choices and was quite luxurious to say the least.
The rest of the day was spent touring Hayes, where I acquired a new love for cute small shops and a book called ‘Lies We Tell Ourselves,’ which was—needless to say—hilarious and relatable.
Dinner at Coppa in downtown San Mateo later that day was perfect. The Pancetti is recommended.
Final day in San Francisco. That morning, we managed to make our way to ‘Mr. Holmes,’ a bakery notorious for their cruffins—a hybrid between a croissant and a muffin. We even managed to get a hold of a few, despite how they usually ran out before we could get one. A feeling of accomplishment was acquired.
Next stop was the Palace of Fine Arts, which had an architectural design of which was fascinating. It was a quick tour, but nonetheless amazing.
The Ferry Building was a marketplace we visited and had lunch at. Thai food at The Slanted Door was delicious.
The rest of the day was spent through the city of San Francisco. More cute shops and graffiti galore—someone was even working on a mural while we passed by. Some paintings were charming, others meaningful, and everything was both captivating and fun to look at.
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