The San Francisco Jet-lag Blues

By - January 29, 2009 (Updated: November 27, 2014)


I apologise in advance that this post is going to be scattered. It’s reflecting the state my brain has been in all week. We arrived back in Brussels Monday at about noon. We left San Francisco Sunday at 8:30 am (meaning we were up at 5). It was a brutal travel day and consequently I am still suffering from the worst jet-lag I have ever had.

The trip itself had been last minute. Andrew had to go out for four days for work. I wasn’t planning on joining him, due to limited funds after our Christmas celebrations. However, the ticket price was so unbelievably good that I couldn’t pass it up, and hell, a week away from the Belgian winter… who am I to say no to that?

Our hotel, the same one that we stayed in our last time in San Fran, was in San Mateo, which is south of the city. There is not a lot to do there for one who is car-less. I did indulge in a bit of food shopping at Whole Foods and Trader Joes (mostly so I could avoid eating at the hotel restaurant and save some money). I think I could live very happily in a Whole Foods store. Sigh.

Monday I had an adventure taking the Caltrain into San Francisco to join Andrew for dinner with friends and colleagues. I discovered that Californians have a similar disregard for signage as Belgians. I only saw the one sign as I was walking back from heading in the wrong direction. Arriving at the platform I didn’t even know what side of the tracks I was supposed to be on. I made it without incident however, and found my ride right outside the station as promised. Supper was more than worth the stress. It’s nice to have fellow foodie friends.


I spent the rest of the week working and watching trashy TV at the hotel (including the inauguration which I wrote about in the last post… which was definitely not trashy). I even hit the hotel gym a few times in an attempt to counter the good ole American fried food I consumed. Can someone explain to me why I cannot find good Mexican food in California? We’ve tried a few places now which I’ve researched on-line ahead of time and all we end up getting is mediocre Tex-Mex. The best Mexican I’ve ever had is still, hands down, Los Pilones in Amsterdam. Does this seem backwards to anyone else?

All of my hanging out at the hotel was worth it for the great weekend we had. Thursday night Andrew and I had a nice supper alone together that was French style but with a California flare. Friday afternoon, after we checked out of the hotel, we went for a drive up the coast. The weather wasn’t particularly co-operative but it was still a nice change of scene. Because Andrew had never done the ‘touristy’ highlights, we also crossed the Golden Gate Bridge and drove down Lombard St. Check and check.


We were spending the weekend with friends and on our way to their house they asked us to join them at a wine bar. Now you know we don’t drink a lot of wine… ahem… yeah ok, we were there in a flash. The rest of the weekend progressed in a haze of eating fabulous food, tasting some of California’s best wines and a lot of laughter. Saturday we were joined by another friend (and fellow photographer) and visited Sonoma – an absolutely beautiful spot that I would love to return to. There was more food and more wine, some photos, a bit of singing on the way home (mostly due to the aforementioned wines) and overall a great day.

Despite our debauchery, we were early to bed and early to rise for our flight out on Sunday morning. Many thanks to our friends, for showing us such a great time. I hope we can return the favour soon.

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
It's after Halloween so I can officially share Christmas Markets now right...? 🎄🎅 - 1 week ago


  1. Comment by Andrew

    Andrew January 29, 2009 at 16:36

    It was a fabulous weekend with friends! The jet lag is killer though. Viognier (recommended by a colleague) was really nice too… with a very extensive wine list. I wouldn’t mind going back there. 🙂
    The trip to Sonoma was a lot of fun… oh and the wines from Timothy at dinner at the Big 4… those were delicious! And the history at the Big 4 was amazing. wow… now that I think of it, it’s hard to believe how much we did over the weekend!

  2. Comment by BeeBop

    BeeBop February 6, 2009 at 19:28

    I love San Fran – one of my favorite cities. Glad you got the chance to go again and sounds like fun.

  3. Pingback: 2009 Holiday Recap | CheeseWeb

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