120 miles away from Los Angeles, lies the birthplace of California – San Diego. With an average weather of 21 Degrees Celsius (70 Degrees Fahrenheit), it’s the perfect weather for exploring it’s 70 miles of shoreline…. That’s right, even more stretches of white sandy beaches! The city is also home to a large active naval fleet; I even met one of the navy nurses on Coranado Island. There is so much to see and do in San Diego and I only touched the surface. Have a little read of my travel diary from the weekend I spent in San Diego! Fun fact, the city is 34% safer than all the cities in America!
San Diego, July 2018
When: July 2018
Where: San Diego
What: La Jolla, Mission Bay, Presidio Park, Ocean Beach, Coronado Island, Little Italy, Baja regions, Balboa Park, Gaslamp Quarter, Seaport Village in Downtown Waterfront, San Diego Zoo & Safari Park, Old Town (filled with Mexican restaurants and Mariachi bands!), visit the suspension footbridge for an awesome selfie, Maritime Museum to see The Star of India (world’s oldest active sailing ship), USS Midway Museum with the famous sailor statue next to the ship, spot the San Diego seals among the beaches, enjoy Petco Park’s views and experience the Old Town Trolley Tour
Saturday 14th July – Day 34
My brother happened to be travelling in California with work during this week so we made plans to meet up in San Diego for the weekend. Keen to have an “All American” experience we met by his hostel in Ocean Beach at Raglan Public House for a pint. We spent a couple of hours catching up on our trip thus fur, over burgers & beer, recalling our interesting accommodation stories and all! Afterwards we drove to our new Airbnb whilst my brother had a nap. On our drive down one thing I noticed in San Diego was how houses and apartments are built literally within the hills. It’s quite an incredible but frightening structure! When we arrived, we realized how close we were to San Diego airport and were kicking ourselves for booking to fly back from LAX. I initially planned on staying in a swanky LA Hotel in Hollywood on our last night before swapping this for one more night in Manhattan Beach. In hindsight we should’ve planned to fly from San Diego and spend the money on a nice hotel there instead.
Later that afternoon, we ordered an Uber to catch another baseball game, this time with my boyfriend and brother. We remembered to bring our passports so we could enjoy a few beers during the game; a novelty not permitted at English football games. The game was in Petco Park which is supposedly named “The World’s Best Ballpark” and I can confirm that it lives up to the reputation with it’s amazing views of the San Diego Bay. It seemed we had become accidental fans for the Chicago Cubs having previously seen them play the Dodgers, as it so happened they were playing against the San Diego Padres. We also had other entertainment throughout the match as my brother’s jet lag caught up with him making for some very funny interaction. In combination with this, his attention was distracted for the first half of the game by nearby spectators. One had sneaked in some booze and as a result had an argument with his new found “friends”. You would have thought that Snoop Dog was in the house with the amount of times we heard, “You talking to me, dawgggg?!” Eventually the guy was removed and we continued watching the game, in which the Cubbies were once again victorious.
Sunday 15th July – Day 35
We began our Sunday at a suitably named café – Snooze AM Eatery, as we incidentally missed the Football World Cup’s Quarter Final Game in which England played Sweden. We had got the kick off time wrong and missed all of my brother’s wake up phone calls. Nonetheless, I woke up feeling rested and my boyfriend and I decided to explore one of San Diego’s main attractions – Balboa Park. The park is filled with many incredible architectectual landmarks, botanical gardens, a Japanese Friendship Garden, The San Diego Air and Space Museum as well as the San Diego Zoo. With limited time, we decided to spend our afternoon exploring the zoo. With nearly 4000 different animals across the 100 acres of land, we spotted flamingos, gorillas, hippos, elephants, giraffes and various birds of paradise. That afternoon we then took a 15 mile/20 minute drive to La Jolla to meet my brother for a walk along it’s rugged coastline. We walked along La Jolla Cove, a smaller beach filled with seals sunbathing on the rocks. La Jolla also has an abundance of bars and restaurants to enjoy with of course, amazing Mexican dining options. However as we only had one more day left in San Diego, we decided to eat somewhere in Little Italy. This area has many bars, restaurants, shops and a weekly Farmer’s Market called “Little Italy Mercato Farmers Market” – fairly easy to remember. I had read an recommendation to eat at Filippi’s Pizza Grotto to experience Real Italian authentic food. The restaurant is located at the back of a small Italian food store where you get a feel for old town Italy. The walls are decorated with photographs of family and lifetime friends across generations proudly on display. As we sat down to eat, I spotted the owner of the restaurant sat manually checking his accounts and receipts; it was just like My Big Fat Greek Wedding but Italian. Nonetheless it was quite endearing and special to eat somewhere that was clearly a family business run with love and devotion. As we left the restaurant we also spotted a house that looked to be made of gold with two Rolls Royce parked outside – had we in fact just walked into a Robert De Niro mafia movie?
Fun Fact: Little Italy used to be known as a Fishing community for Italian immigrants and as the Tuna capital of Western United States until 1980’s.
Monday 16th July – Day 36
Not far from the city lays Coronado Island, where an iconic red roofed hotel stands that was featured in Some Like It Hot by another iconic star, Marylin Monroe. Although Hotel Del Cornado may be on the higher end of hotel budgets, we enjoyed the hotel without having to check in. We spent the day on the public Coronado Beach and sipped some cocktails as we sunbathed on the soft, white sand.
Hotel Del Coranado
You can travel to the island via the Coronado Ferry, Water Taxi or take a drive along the bridge. This small island has five small white sandy beaches and made for a tranquil afternoon. Although the weather when we arrived was a lot more overcast than it’s San Diego counterpart, it still made for a truly unique experience. Sadly we didn’t have the budget of Ms Monroe, so we took a trip to Miguel’s Cocina for some Mexican food and more cocktails. I really enjoyed my day trip to Coronado Island and I would recommend this as a great day trip or date night idea!
For our last evening in San Diego we grabbed some small taco’s to sample and enjoyed happy hour drinks in another Mexican restaurant. However, all of our eyes were bigger than our bellies, as I turned around and noticed my brother trying to take a nap in the booth we were sat in, using his rucksack as a pillow. The sun and jet lag definitely has taken a toll on him! After waking him up for one last mojito we ordered our Uber rides home and I know that as soon as my head hit the pillow I fell straight asleep.
Tuesday 17th July – Day 37
Our weekend in San Diego came to an end far too quickly. On late Tuesday morning we said goodbye to my brother and drove back down to Los Angeles, to Manhattan Beach for the night ahead of our flight on Wednesday. We took comfort in knowing that at least we could avoid any car dramas and were in walking distance to plenty of restaurants, bars and the beach.
One of the homes in Manhattan Beach
We stopped off at our now somewhat local pub – Brew and Co for lunch and wandered around the local stores and boutiques. The town has such an old school feel to it and reminded me a lot of The Notebook. Safe, romantic and easy. Enjoying an ice cream afterwards at the Manhattan Beach Creamery, the store was so colourful and wholesome I felt like it was a scene out of Mary Poppins or Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory! Evidently my love for the town was related to movie nostalgia!
Manhattan Beach Creamery
That evening we enjoyed our very last Californian Airbnb reflecting over the last 5 weeks. If I had to sum up the state in one word it would be beautiful. Don’t believe me? Just check out my vlogs and try to count the amount of times I said that! Tanned skin with freckled noses, golden hair and no doubt a few kilos heavier, we had been lucky to see so much of the Golden State. Wonderful views, delicious wine, interesting people, sunsets and palm trees, salt air and the cool breeze of the bluest ocean I had ever seen; California had reignited an adventurous spirt in my soul. However there was one last part to our travels to complete before returning home and that was to the East Coast. New York, New York, we were ready for you!
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