Despite my Uncle having lived in San Diego for 15 years I’ve never made it out here to visit. Of course being in the neighbourhood (well, Salt Lake City) meant I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to extend my trip and spend time with my family.
So with 24 hours in San Diego I had a very short wish list: go to the ocean, eat Mexican food and spend time with my family.
Straight off the plane we headed to Coronado Island to take a walk along the beach and take a look at the city from the bridge. We walked along to Hotel del Coronado which was built in Victorian times and has an impressive wooden ceiling. If I was here longer I would totally be on that Segway tour.
The waves were huge and so loud when they crashed down. Despite the water temperature (cold!) I kicked off my shoes and ran into the surf. I honesty could have stayed on the beach the entire day playing in the surf and letting the ocean fill me. Later, when the Santa Ana began to blow, the waves were robbed of their crest and blown back towards the ocean.
From Coronado Island we crossed back to the city and drove up to Mount Soledad to get a panoramic view of San Diego. From here you can see the whole city, the coast and the mountains.
My visit came right after a few weeks of rain so the landscape was flush with green. I loved seeing cacti and succulents growing wild.
The best thing about visiting family is that you can ditch the tourist trail and go local. After a second trip to the ocean and the salt marshes my cousin and I headed by his office (so freaking proud of him).
When I say we headed to his office it’s one building out of dozens all on a campus for the same company. It’s so big it has its own power station. It was vast!
Then we went to Target for two reasons: 1. to see if we could find a mug for Kelly (we couldn’t) and 2. because everyone talks about how much they love it and I wanted in on the action.
It did not disappoint. The store was packed to the gills with a mixture of cute and tacky products. It had three aisles devoted to Velentine’s Day and more flavours of Method soap than I know what to do with. We (I) spent way too much money and made the silliest Snapchat story of our adventures.
Things I discovered at Target: 1. they have escalators for the trolleys 2. They add sales tax at the till – not on the shelf prices 3. 23kg is not a big enough baggage allowance.
In the evening my Uncle, his girlfriend and I headed to Old Town for some Mexican food. I didn’t order well (they told me afterwards) so I’m not counting this as my first authentic Mexican dining experience. I am coming back for a do-over.
The Old Town area is a State Historic Park with lots of Spanish architecture and attracts loads of tourists. Around the restaurants were many shops and entertainment.
The next morning we returned to Old Town and took in the incredible beauty of the buildings and pine-filled parks. We sat in the sun planning family gatherings over coffee and browsed an antique store where I bought a vintage quilt.
San Diego is beautiful, the weather in Winter was an easy going 20°C and it’s easy to get around in a car. Its size means you could see just a fraction of what the city has to offer in a single trip. I recommend checking out the Old Town and going to Target (joking!).
I definitely have plans to return in the future and hit the restaurants and thrift stores properly.