For two and some years we’ve been living in a little (population 80 000) island of Alameda off the San Francisco Bay. We’re just a skip and a hop away from the city of San Francisco, yet when you enter the island, either through the tunnel, bridge or the ferry, you come to a place that’s very different from everything that surrounds it. On the other side of the tunnel is Oakland (and tent cities), the almost non-stop traffic jams of the Bay Bridge and big highways left and right, north and south. See more of my Alameda photos on Instagram using #katsalameda hashtag, or just click HERE.
When you enter Alameda you’re surrounded by palm trees, little indie stores (yes, there’s also those big box stores, but we don’t have to mention them), cafes, so many amazing restaurants, everyone seems to have a dog or two, people live in cute little bungalows, ride bikes and are totally relaxed about how they look like. Another major thing that attracted us about the island was the warm-summer Mediterranean climate it offers. No fog of the peninsula over here!
What I love about Alameda
Reading by the beach
We live just about 10 minute walk from the big park (tennis courts, football field, basketball, running track) and the beach. I love coming here and sitting by the water reading a book. There’s so many different kinds of birds and my good friends; the chipmunks, to entertain you if your book gets boring.
Riding my bicycle down the Shoreline Public Trail
I discovered this trail/park one day when riding my bike back home from the gym, and decided to take another path. This park is usually always empty, and I like to come here after the gym to drink water and eat my after-workout snacks. There’s a float that is popular with the harbor seals, and pelicans also like this little area.
I never knew there were so many different kind of palm trees before moving to Alameda. I adore all of them and my phone is filled with photos, mostly of palm trees.
Stalking ducks and geese at the pond
In case you didn’t already know, I’m a little nuts about animals. All animals. I just love them more than anything and can’t help voicing my adoration whenever I see them. Pigeons, rats, lizards included. No wonder I enjoy hanging out in places that have mostly members of the animal kingdom, like this little pond in the park by the beach. There’s a family of geese, little ducks, gigantic ducks and all other kinds of birds (I honestly don’t even know what type of birds they are). I think it’s some kind of meditation watching them go about their day. It brings me great sense of peace.
These pretty lagoons in Alameda were formed when island’s square footage was increased by tons of landfill about 60 years ago. People that used to have waterfront homes demanded that they should still have their piece of water in front of their homes, and so, lagoons were formed between these homes and the new landfill.
Strolling down Park St.
Park Street is Alameda’s major shopping and dining destination. There’s something to eat, drink and buy for everyone. And what’s even more amazing is that majority of the stores are not chain stores but independent ones. Of course there has to be a Starbucks everywhere, but just walk past it please. Some of my favorites on Park Street are Julie’s Coffee & Tea Garden, the Marketplace, Lauren’s Closet, Book Heaven, Burma Superstar, Daisy’s, Nepal Statue & Singing Bowl House, To Herb with Love, Therapy Home, Pippa & Co.
This stands for Friends of Alameda Animal Shelter. I’ve started volunteering here in hopes of getting to spend time with dogs (love dogs!), but have also fed bottle babies (one week old kittens!) learning how to care for them, and taken a canine handling workshop. Next: Cat workshop (because I’d love to get to know cats even better 🙂 ).
Palomacy Pigeon Rescue
Located inside a big outdoor garden shop, where you can buy any fruit tree and plant imaginable, you’ll see a big enclosure filled with white and grey pigeons and doves. Palomacy rescues domestic, unreleasable pigeons and doves that would otherwise be killed in shelters for lack of adopters. These birds cannot survive in nature so please speak up when you hear someone planning so called “pigeon releases” during weddings etc. The sound of them all “purring” together (I guess it’s called cooing?) is very soothing and meditative by the way.
Shopping healthy at the Marketplace
I love the Marketplace! It’s like a European style food hall with bakery, wine shop, chair massage room, deli and a natural food market Alameda Natural Grocery. Also worth mentioning is the cute kitchen accessory and gift store “The Pantry” that holds all kinds of fun classes (for example for Valentine’s Day they had natural body care making class). Alameda Natural Grocery is where I come to get my kimchi, kraut and vegan specialty items, like Miyoko’s vegan artisan cheese. Also, incense, myrrh and frankincense body sprays, and ALL kinds of hippie stuff (which I love). Alameda Natural Grocery also holds interesting wellness related events/lectures at their cute event space (little cottage behind the Marketplace) and I’ve been part of quite few of them now.
Wescafe is just about 5 minute walk our home. It has really cute decor and a lovely back garden patio where you can enjoy the sun and the sound of a little water fall. This is my favorite place to come and work (I’m actually in Wescafe as I’m typing this).
Taking the ferry to San Francisco
It’s good to have options. Like if you don’t feel like sitting in a bumper to bumper traffic on the Bay Bridge, you can always opt to take the ferry to and from the city. It’s a pretty trip, 20 minutes, and leaves you right at the Ferry Building.
Airport is right around the corner
As a someone who is planning on becoming a jet-setter soon, it is important to have a nice airport near me. Oakland airport is 20 minutes from our home, about $17 with Uber/Lyft, and it is nice and tiny so I don’t get panic attacks about which direction I need to proceed. I’ve never had to deal with long lines, and did I mention, Norwegian flies from here, so I can get home to Finland for a VERY reasonable price.
Anything Alameda/East Bay related you’d like me to write about in the future? Let me know in the comments!