San Diego is cool, both in the sense that fun things happen there and that it has a lower temperature than Phoenix, AZ. BY A LOT. As I drove towards the city the temperature slowly dropped from the 115 degree heat of AZ to a nice 75 degrees in CA. I got out of the car and didn’t immediately get hit by a wave of intensity. It was much nicer.
I spent a day and a half in the city enjoying my time with a close friend who was an amazing tour guide. He showed me around a lot and made sure I had good food to eat and good experiences to write about. The day I arrived we caught up and immediately headed to Sunset Cliffs where, surprise surprise, you can watch the sunset from some cliffs. It was quite an amazing vista and so close to where he lives! We got some tasty Mexican food and sat on a bench overlooking the ocean. He lamented the fact that it wasn’t perfectly cloudless, so I wasn’t going to see the real sunset. I thought it was pretty f-ing spectacular anyway.
The next day we headed out to Point Loma, an awesome spot overlooking where Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo landed on his expedition to the western coastline of the New World. Of course, the area was not without inhabitants, but he is credited with the first European ‘discovery’ of the land. His name is everywhere – monuments, parks, schools, storefronts. Geeze. It was pretty cool to see the National Monument (free because of my National Parks pass!) and we hiked up a bit to the lighthouse and around to where there used to be a fort during World War II. Some folks go whale watching from the area there but we couldn’t see any. There was a great view of the naval station there and we saw a Destroyer be slowly moved from one side to the other. It was pretty cool.
After that we went to Balboa Park, an awesome central public space in San Diego filled with museums, walkways, trails, etc. Many things were not open but since we weren’t trying to be there for that long anyway it was fun to check out the cactus garden, rose garden, mini-train, and the cool architecture.
The last thing we did that day was a sunset kayaking trip on the coastline. There are seven caves in La Jolla that people have explored/used over the years and we went on a group tour of them. Mostly the trip involved some intense arm workout in a life jacket with some funny jokes from our tour guide. We did get to go into and out of one of the caves and learned that a second one was used for smuggling of various things during and after prohibition. It was a fun thing to do for someone passing through.
As always, it was a great time to explore and I’m glad I went. I think I’ll probably come back again as it’s a city I haven’t been to very much and it’s near LA, where I want to return to in the future.
One last thing: this morning I drove on the Pacific Coastal Highway on my way to San Francisco (where I am now). There were some wonderful vistas to behold but my favorite part was the Elephant Seal Rookery. There were about 25 of them molting and keeping warm together but also fighting and making the strangest noises. It was great.