I pointed out in one of my posts before my trip that San Diego was a place I didn’t really know anything about nor was particularly excited about. I suppose when you see an itinerary that includes the likes of the Grand Canyon and Vegas you wouldn’t think a small(ish) city would be somewhere that you really make a point of remembering but I really do. I loved it!
It had been an early morning because it was the first day of the Trek America trip and also the first day everyone got to meet each other. We were a small group, (5 plus the tour leader) so we had plenty of room in the van. Like when you first meet anyone there was the general chit chat of getting to know one another whilst we did a whistle stop tour of Hollywood which was fine with me as I’d spent the last 4 days there. I think we spent more time looking for food and drink than actually taking in the sites that Hollywood had to offer.
The drive to San Diego wasn’t going to be too long so it was a pleasant way to ease everyone into some very long driving days. I was up front which meant I was the DJ… all was going well until Backstreet Boys came on (guilty pleasure) luckily everyone was loving it just as much as me…
We stopped off on the way to grab some lunch at a little picnic place and was soon back on the road again heading for San Diego. We arrived and was given some free time to wander around the beach area and do whatever we wanted really. It was nice to wander along the beach as there was a bit of a breeze and it wasn’t unbearably hot.
I can fully understand why it is one of the most expensive places to live in America as some of the beach front houses were gorgeous. We picked up a leaflet that had the retail prices of some of the properties and it’s safe to say I’ll be saving up for a few years to even hire one out never mind buy one.
The beach wasn’t as busy as I’d imagined but there were a mixture of families and surfers flitting around as we walked the length of the beach. I couldn’t believe the size of the seaweed there it looked like something out of Alien! The beach-side attractions here are really good, it felt like a nice (not too touristy) area and there was some good looking ice cream shops that I wish I had chance to try. They were huge!
Our first night of camping took us to what was apparently voted the top campsite in America. It was a KOA just on the outskirts and to be fair it was pretty posh. It had a hot tub and pool and this cool bouncy thing that I really wanted a go on! We set up our tents for the first time and settled into our cosy little spot. Maria (England/America) and Franzi (Germany) cooked us a really nice meal of meatballs and pasta, knowing that I had to cook next time we were camping I was kind of hoping I wouldn’t have to live up to high expectations! I won’t be appearing on Master Chef anytime soon. We ended the night sat around our first campfire still getting to know a little more about everyone.
I slept really well and the tents Trek America provide are really spacious for two people. We had an earlyish morning with a hearty breakfast of Granola, fruit and yogurt (American berries are so juicy and fresh, I miss them! 😦 ) . We had been briefed on what our optional activities were for the day the night before but I really wasn’t too bothered about what I did. I was happy to go with the flow and join the rest of the group. In the morning we made our way over to Balboa Park to have a look around and find somewhere to eat lunch.
I was really pleasantly surprised by it and although you have to pay to get into most of the museums you can easily spend half a day roaming around just enjoying the scenery and architecture that the park has to offer. It is the nations largest urban cultural park and has some beautiful gardens and ponds that we enjoyed a walk around, so if your ever in the area I would definitely take a trip there! There is a beautiful stage that supposedly hosts concerts throughout the year so it would be great to see something there. The day we went there was an organist rehearsing for hours, he was there for at least 5 hours! His fingers must kill!
It also just so happens to home one of the worlds greatest zoo’s. Everyone had decided that they fancied going to the zoo so I was happy to tag along and see some Panda’s. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of zoo’s, not because I don’t agree with them just because I would much rather see an animal in it’s natural habitat. Saying that the zoo was amazing and all of the enclosures looked nice and comfortable (for an elephant anyway.) We slowly mooched around and saw everything from grizzly bears to giraffes (my favourite) and the main attraction… the Pandas. They’re one of the only zoo’s to keep them and have a mum and cub in the zoo. It really was amazing seeing them as I kind of just wanted to give them a cuddle (probably not the best idea.) We only spend a few hours here but we saw a lot of cute and (not so) cuddly animals.
After the zoo we made our way to the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego. It’s renowned for it’s bars and night life and I really want to go back there for a night out on the town! (Stupid american laws!) It also just so happened to be Franzi’s birthday that day so we had booked a table at a nice little Italian restaurant called Asti. We did a little bit of shopping and had a walk around before eating and enjoying a big bowl of pasta, after going to Italy I know it’s a crime to say that it’s better (so I won’t) but it was bloody good! It wasn’t too pricey and the service was fab.
We took a late night stroll and saw the area in full swing and just happened to come across the Baseball Stadium. We all agreed that it would be cool to see a game so bought some cheap tickets and sat and watched the San Diego Padres get beaten by the Arizona Diamondbacks. It’s funny seeing the friendly rivalry between the two sides and comparing it to a football match back in the UK. I have worked a few football games as a steward and have seen some horrendous things from name calling to people punching each other over 22 men kicking a ball around a pitch. I’ve never understood it myself but experiencing a friendly sporting event was definitely something I wish the English would take a note of! We didn’t realise (until we were about to leave) that that night was the seasons firework display. It was based around the teams favourite baseball movie and was seriously good. I’m so glad we hung around.
We finally made our way back to the campsite after a fairly long, busy day of seeing San Diego, we all were pretty shattered so called it a night and snuggled up in our tents. It is a really interesting place and I would definitely visit it again one day because I’m sure there’s loads I didn’t see.
The next day we headed to Lake Havasu so stay tuned to find out what we got up to!