Loving it all in San Diego
San Diego Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
this was my first extensive trip to a gorgeous city settled by the spanish, and having such a beautiful mix of all the cultural treasures i cherish. from the first night, where i was sung to sleep by the waves of the pacific on the beach outside our hotel, to the last day where i vomited for nearly 2 hours on the whale watching cruise, it was a marvelous adventure.
We stayed the weekend at the "beach cottages" hotel in pacific beach. Though most of the rooms are suites with kitchen, there is nothing to write home about, save for the wonderful views of the ocean, and access to the beach. However, since we were there in February, there would be no splashing in the waves for us.
We had driven down the 6+ hours from Phoenix, so we were quite exhausted and ended the day with a trip to one of the local restaurants, The Green Flash.
The next morning we were up early and headed to Sea World. It was on my to do list, just had to see one of those killer whales up close. And they are incredible! To think that in the wild they are ravenous, sea lion gobbling eating machines, and here they are tame show ponies, is a fascinating contrast. At the whim of their master's command, they will swim backwards just to get those tender morsels in the bucket.
The park itself is wonderful, as there is life everywhere. Not just in the habitats, but walking or flying freely though the park. Even in the habitats with the sea lions, you can spy curious sea faring birds trying to get a piece of the action.
Favorite ride is the Atlantis water ride, an aquatic roller coaster, situated next to the dolphin aquarium, where you can watch them swimming below the water.
I have to admit that the highlight had nothing to do with sea creatures, not in the least. The Budweiser hospitality center is located in the park, which is where we had lunch. Here we ate bratwurst with sauerkraut, after we have finished the beer tasting. They had some exciting new products coming out like cactus and lime, or pomegranate and grapefruit enhanced beers. I know there is a limit to how much one person can sample, but I believe we hit every bartender so that we could try everything! Everything from stout, to an energy enhanced beer, and we even did a short class on beer.
Our last stop in the park was the aquarium de la mar, where gorgeous saltwater echosystems abounded, and we found nemo.
Our next stop was old town san diego....Our first visit was the Whaley house, listed by the united state's department of commerce as an authentic haunted house. Built on the site of a public gallows in 1857, and the scene of numerous deaths, the Whaley house has had a number of strange occurences and unexplained phenomena. At the guest registry, people have recorded their strange experiences, there is even a book of photos that tourists have taken, where they believe they have captured a spirit.
Behind the Whaley house is the beautiful Victorian quarter of the old town, which has some stunning architecture. There you can find Bed and Breakfasts, victorian shops with tea, porcelain dolls, and lace.
Coming back around past the Whaley house, passing the old Spanish colonial church, we headed to the Mason Street School, built in 1865, which was the first public school in San Diego. Of course this part of San Diego is for tourists. Accordingly, you will find all of the pottery shops, restaurants, souvenir shops, and trinket markets you could want.
Next morning we were up early for a whale watching cruise, for which I was extremely excited! I will spare you the gore-like details, and put it simply: It was more than an hour just to get out to sea, during which time every passenger on the ship was tossed about. The winds were crazy, the waves high, the boat whipping up and down in a near ship wreck frenzy, and everybody got sick. I think the most that anybody saw was a blow hole, at which time the boat stopped its maneuvering and just hovered, waiting for the whale to surface. I believe we must have bobbed there for 20 min. And everybody got just a little queasier. Our tour guide was convinced that everybody would see whales today, and he just pressed the captain to head further out to sea, even though the ship was bobbing and chopping dangerously and sickeningly through the waters.
After that rocking adventure, we decided we would take some time to let our stomachs settle and we took a walk down to the maritime museum. For any boat and ship lover, this is a must-see. The first ship we came to was the Star of India. The world's oldest active ship, her life began in the Isle of Man in 1863. Iron ships were experiments of sorts then, with most vessels still being built of wood. Inside it you will find captain's quarters, first class, and steerage accomodations.
Next on our to-do list was Balboa park, completed in 1910, and named after the spanish explorer who first saw the pacific ocean. Balboa Park is incredible. Here you will find the zoo, Science Museum, Museum of Man, Botanical Garden, Art Museum, and some beautiful architecture. Numerous buildings with intricate facades populate the park - a misnomer in my opinion. It is more fitting to call it balboa palace or balboa town.
Our destination here was the Museum of Man, where I wanted to see items in their Egyptian exhibit. Their collection had a rare child coffin, and the rest of the museum was truly fascinating - especially with its mayan stelae.
That night we had dinner in the popular Gas Lamp District, at the Dublin Quarter Pub and Restaurant. We ate shepherd's pie and a corned beef sandwhich, polished off with pints of guiness.
So, considering all there is to offer in San Diego, and all that we accomplished in two days, i would definitely recommend this a place to see on the West Coast. Such diversity, and something for every palate.