I learnt this week, that it's possible to fall in love with a city. Falling in love with a city however, is different to falling in love with a person. You have to take into consideration so many more specifics. Cities are sweeping and beautiful and if you play your cards right they can give you the world, but they will never fight to keep you there.
I flew to the city by the bay last week for a work sales conference, making the decision to extend my flights to stay out the weekend with friends. This was one of the best decisions I've ever made, as it gave me an opportunity to explore San Francisco's foggy playground, and spend time getting to know it, in a way that far surpasses the experiences of a traditional tourist.
The beginning of the week, which I spent working was a whirlwind of dinners and drinks - meeting different members of our international teams and networking. On Tuesday evening, we took a trip to Oakland to see the Oakland Athletics baseball game, which was hugely entertaining and I fully got into the spirit of being an A's fan. Whilst Oakland had moments of being less than charming (like when the man on the train took photos of our legs and sent them to his friends) these were all minor details that San Francisco's architecture, parks and views made up for in spades.
I stayed in the neighbourhood of Fisherman's Wharf for the first four nights of my trip - a lovely (though tourist heavy) part of the city that boasts beautiful views out to Alcatraz, as well as sea food restaurants a plenty.
On my final day before I went to stay with friends, I took a trip down to this area alone to soak up it's atmosphere, and sat basked in sunshine staring out to sea and it was at this moment, that I think the city first truly got me.
On Friday evening, my friend and I (in a particularly hungover state) packed our bags up and headed over to the Mission District, to hang out with our old work colleague for the rest of the weekend, who had very kindly let us stay with her. The Mission District, or 'The Mission' as it's more commonly known is San Francisco's oldest neighbourhood, found in the east-central region of the city.
The Mission hosts some of the hottest new restaurants and brunch spots around, and I was both thankful and lucky that my friend was one of the most knowledgable people to show me around. My weekend was filled with trendy dinners, bars and food festivals and despite my english accent, I felt like I blended in perfectly.
It turns out that perfection is a grassy hill overlooking the city, called Dolores Park - the most chilled out place, and my personal favourite area in San Francisco. As my friend lives a mere stones throw, I took a few trips here, the first in the early morning - where the park remained barely untouched, and again later in the day - where the pictures from the same spot were amazingly different as the park was enveloped in a sea of people. I spent a perfect day here with a mix of my colleagues as well as my final hours in the city, toasting the trip with some Mimosas.
Although the city had me at hello, my time in San Francisco wouldn't of been the same without the people that I got to spend it with. Some of these people taught me so much in so little time; to live with passion, and to follow my heart. They will all be cherished for the part they played.
Whilst my love affair with San Francisco is over for now, I'm already planning my next trip as well as bigger plans to move there when my current role changes. Being the tech capital, it's a perfect opportunity for me to grow and develop my career, as well as really experience the city that stole my heart.