BEN FLAJNIK, LINDZI
After an amazing week, it was hard to say goodbye to Sonoma. The only thing that could beat spending a week in the place where I grew up is spending a week in the city I love most as an adult: San Francisco. San Francisco is my home and it's one of the most diverse and interesting cities in the world. From Fisherman's Wharf to Nob Hill, and from the Mission to Pacific Heights, San Francisco is literally a city where you can find absolutely anything.
I was so excited to bring the 16 remaining women to the city where I hope to settle down one day. We were lucky enough to stay at the Fairmont San Francisco, and the women got to take over the entire top floor of the old tower, with amazing panoramic views of the entire city. Through the windows of their suite, they could see the Golden Gate Bridge, The Bay Bridge, Coit Tower and everything else that the city by the bay has to offer. Perched at the top of Nob Hill, The Fairmont was a perfect starting place for the women and me to begin exploring the city. They also were kind enough to make us a giant replica of the Golden Gate Bridge completely out of chocolate. I have a sweet tooth, so the bridge did not last long.
Speaking of bridges, my first date in San Francisco was completely epic. I'm not great with heights but when you have the chance to do something as amazing as scale the Bay Bridge, you just go for it. I was really excited to take Emily on this date, but I didn't know how terrified of heights she was. In a way, her being so scared helped me, as I had to quickly conquer my own fear of heights. She and I worked together to make it to the top and when we did we were treated to an amazing view of the city. I didn't know it at the time, but the women back at the Fairmont had a pretty good view of us as well. After a thrilling day, I was glad to give Emily the rose and watch a spectacular fireworks display with her. What a great first date.
After starting off with such a bang, I had to amp it up a notch for the group date. One thing everyone notices about San Francisco are the huge hills, but since we never get any snow, no one has ever gotten to test out that mode of transportation. Skiing the streets of San Francisco has always been on my leap list, so the fact that I was going to be able to surprise these women with a snow-covered street on a sunny day was really exciting. I picked up my dates in a couple of brand new Honda CRV's and we headed out. They had no idea where we were going or what we were doing until we arrived at the slope. We jumped out of the cars and put on our skis and "California" style ski-wear. This day was sensational and it seemed like the whole city of San Francisco turned out to see us tear up the slopes.
After one of the craziest days of our lives, the women and I headed back up to the Fairmont to get ready and head down to their famed restaurant, The Tonga Room. The ambience itself got the night started right, and the women loved the food and Tiki-lounge inspired cocktails. This restaurant actually has a lot of history, and it was great to get to spend our evening there. Back at the suite, I had sent my date card to Brittney, along with a really beautiful necklace designed by Neil Lane especially for this date. Unfortunately, things with Brittney did not work out, but I still have the necklace and am planning on doing something great with it. Stay tuned for that!
My last date in the city was one of my favorites. There's no better way to see San Francisco than by trolley, and Lindzi was the perfect girl to spend this evening with. City Hall is one of the most beautiful buildings in San Francisco and having it all to ourselves was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. If that wasn't enough, the private concert by Matt Nathanson really made this night feel like a unique and singular experience. Lindzi and I danced and we were really thankful that Matt helped make our first date so memorable. We ended our night at a really cool speakeasy called Bourbon and Branch. When you need a password to get into a bar, you know it's going to be worth it. "Horse, of course," in case you're wondering. Don't tell them I told you.
The cocktail party and rose ceremony took place at the top of the Fairmont, with amazing views of the city and all kinds of elegant rooms with secret passages and ornate decoration. These rooms are usually reserved for presidents and royalty, so for the women and I to have it for the night was really something special.
I couldn't leave my heart in San Francisco, as I have to go and look for love elsewhere, but a piece of my heart will always live here. See you soon, City by the Bay.