We’re Off! First Stop – San Diego New Years 2016
After many months of waiting we are finally on the way! We left Nashville on a weirdly warm day December 29th but we were both looking forward to our first couple stops in sunny California and Hawaii. It is exciting to be back on the road and we are grateful for the opportunity to live in the present and make our goal of travel a reality! We will certainly miss our family and friends along the way but hope that we can keep in the loop with all the special people in our lives.
To get to California we cashed in some expiring Frontier airline points and flew from Nashville to LAX for free. It was our first time flying Frontier and while we enjoyed some extra legroom compared to other carriers, we did not like the multiple attempts at up-selling us to credit cards and snacks on the flights. We arrived in the evening and crashed after driving to our final stop at our place of stay – the Holiday Inn Express in Chula Vista just south of downtown San Diego. This was also free using Mayne’s hard-earned IHG points (from many nights on the road with work). By the way – if you haven’t stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in a while you should try it – they are usually very nice.
Our first day in San Diego was enjoyed getting acquainted to the town. We walked around Balboa park, then down into the Gaslamp district and back up the waterfront. It felt great to stretch our legs a bit, enjoy the warm sun on us, and see the city by foot. Probably our favorite stop of the day was the cactus garden in Balboa park, which is full of many interesting cacti in the style of Dr Seuss.
The second day was a full one. We visited Torrey Pines park in the morning, but not until Elisa got her coffee fix (and searched around for some California mugs to sell on Amazon!)[/caption]
The park was small and crowded due to new years holiday, but it was nice to get out and get some exercise. We enjoyed finding shells on the beach and other decorative(?) items on the beach.
In the evening we visited La Jolla and the nearby cove to check out the seals. There were tourists everywhere taking photos so we joined in on the action! The seals were surprisingly patient as well – some people were even petting them. Elisa almost stepped on one that was in the shadow of a rock.
The town of La Jolla itself was very nice. It seemed very upscale with many designer clothing shops and an oddly high number of investment banks.
For dinner I got to enjoy a beer from the Lost Abbey brewery, which is ranked as one of the best in the US. I wasn’t that impressed. The beer selections in the stores everyone here are very good and most of them sell single bottles, which is great when you don’t want to commit to a whole six-pack. There are a lot more large bomber bottles though, which is less than ideal.
The next day we visited the famous San Diego zoo. Admittance was steep at $40 but we found out well worth it. It was by far the largest zoo that either of us had been too. We liked how each enclosure had information regarding conservation and how endangered the species was. Also, there were neat life-size statues of the closest historic relative to the species that was already extinct. It helped to bring home the conservation message and was fun to compare the current species in size – some of the extinct ones were huge! Our favorite enclosures were the orangutans, the meerkats and the fox with pointy ears.
Our final evening in San Diego was at Coronado island, which is home to the Hotel del Coronado and one of the best beaches (supposedly) in California. The hotel is one of the largest all-wood structures remaining in the US and harks back the roaring 1920s. We were impressed with the ice skating rink on the back deck, which was a unique juxtaposition with the beach just 100 feet away. The rest of the town was quaint, with many fun shops to browse.
Next stop is the big island of Hawai’i, where we will be staying for about a week.