Last year, I was invited on a trip of a lifetime to France and Italy with Trafalgar, a company that has an outstanding reputation for providing affordable luxury and superior service. In case you did not follow along on my European adventure, let me sum up the eight days with one word: revolutionary. I must admit that I was not a fan of touring prior to traveling with them, however they have completely changed what it means to go on “a tour” and I departed that trip hoping that I would not have to wait too long before I could experience yet another one of their guided vacations. Well, I had to wait a year, but it was worth it, because this time I was being invited to sample their San Francisco & Wine Country Delights program.
Our guided vacation began in historical San Francisco; a city of rolling hills, cable cars, and a bridge so breathtakingly beautiful that it has inspired many artists over the years. Even the late and great Frank Sinatra left his heart there! Our home base was the Hilton San Francisco Union Square and I knew that I would instantly love it since it had a Starbucks in the lobby and a picturesque view of the City by the Bay.
Our first lunch of the trip was at the tapas restaurant Cha Cha Cha, which serves New World Cuisine. It is known as being somewhat of an institution in the city, since it is beloved by local residents. My advice (if you are lucky enough to find a table): order everything on the menu and make sure to save room for their spectacular tres leches.
Once we were fully satiated, we set off on a walking tour of the iconic Haight Ashbury area — one of the sightseeing highlights of the guided vacation. This is where the hippie generation was born. Our Local Expert, Izu with Flower Power Walking Tour, was quite possibly the best guide I have ever encountered. I mean how could she not be when she was dressed like this?
Izu, who was named the ‘San Francisco Bay Area tour guide of the year’, lived the 60’s like no other. She regaled us with tales of famous musicians, activists, and writers from the era, some of whom she knew personally. One of my favorite things about going on a Trafalgar guided vacation is that that you will constantly meet people like Izu. They only source the best of the best; people who are incredibly passionate about showing off their little piece of the world off to others.
We ended our tour in front of a beautiful freshly painted mural. I am a big fan of grafitti. I think it adds character to cities and San Francisco definitely has a significant street wall art culture.
Before we returned to the hotel to freshen up for dinner, we stopped at Alamo Park for a quick look at the sweeping cityscape view.
Our Welcome Dinner was at the chic Sens Restaurant located in the Embarcadero Center. There they serve Mediterranean food at its very finest amidst a glamorous atmosphere. It was the perfect place to catch up with old friends, make new friends, and talk about our exciting travel itinerary.
There are many things I can promise you will experience on a Trafalgar guided vacation, one is definitely that you will never go to bed hungry at night.