Fenny reporting from San Diego
I was in Los Angeles last month joining my husband to a conference. While being there I got a headache of how big LA is. It is way too big or maybe I am just not so city girl :) While I was having a headache in LA I suddenly thought maybe it's better for me to do road trip to smaller city, I saw San Diego brochures and they caught at my eyes, the town that rich with color and influence of Mexican culture. I love colors, I love spices and I love cultures, so here we (me and my husband friend who turned out to be a good buddy trip) were, drove our rented Ford to the big freeway to San Diego.
Well, we got lost and end up parking our car at Target and we took red trolley to the San Diego Old Town, our first spot. My daughter wasn’t traveling with me, so we skipped the famous San Diego Zoo, Sea World and Lego Land. You may opt for this if you have a vacation with family though, and definitely need more days to stay at the town as the Zoo alone is huge to explore. We only did a day trip and me being my self, I always love to explore the old town part, so we skipped downtown and few touristy places. ……………….READ MORE>>>
We initially did not want to be so tourists, we only want to take our time to explore. But believe me, if your sense of direction is as bad as ours (even with GPS) and you only have one day to explore (as greedy as us), then go with Old town trolley tour. it really is the best choice. The trolley stops at major attraction and you just easily hop in and off, there are local tour guide too, and they are really friendly people. As I mentioned we skipped a few places, because I really wanted to spend more time at Old town, but you got to go to the San Diego port if you can, it has a beautiful view. We spent an hour to take pictures with the ‘Pirate of the Caribbean’ ship look alike and visited the unique gift shop to buy fridge magnets J.
Our next stop is Hotel del Coronado area. The hotel built at 1888, many famous people stayed there before, including Charlie Chaplin. Till now it still maintains high standards. If you have more budget, the alfresco restaurant in front of the swimming pool is worth a try as it facing magnificent view of Coronado beach.
Coronado is a small island connected via the bridge to the main town of San Diego, it belonged to Mexico long time before, so the Mexican influence is particularly strong over there. I visited a cute little shop called ‘Earth, Wind and Sea’, they have a nice collection of home décor, stationery, jewelry, etc. Remind me of mini Anthropologie (one of my favorite shops in US). After lunch we hop in to our next destination Balboa park.
We theoretically did not stop at balboa park, we sat in at Trolley to drive around and listened our guide explained about the park because the park is so huge and will take may be two days if we want to explore what inside there, so rather than my heart ache because so much to explore but so little time to do in the same day, then we decided just to stay inside the trolley . There are bunch of extremely nice museums (drool) at the park, also where the Zoo is located too. I saw many locals brought their own picnic and sit there enjoy the warming sun. Nice!
Then here we were at our main focus of destination, San Diego old town. The Trolley first stop is actually at the old town, but at that time we decided to explore them the last when the trolley brought us back. I’d rather feel disappointed with the old town market, because the things that they sell is repeatable, few shops sells the same things, also most of it we can find it here in Malaysia. Again, we skimmed through the market for a while then we walked further down to about 10 minutes to Fiesta the Reyes near by the San Diego Old town Historic park. And I really love Fiesta de Reyes. There are many specialty shops that worth to explore surround the courtyard restaurant –Casa de Reyes. The restaurant is the main landmark, serve Margarita in the very huge glass.
I spend quite some time at the vintage toys shop and bought a musical instrument made from wood for my daughter. I also loved visiting the Olive shop, where everything is made from olives and it really smells good.
But if you are really not a shopping person like my travel buddy, you can just cozily sit in any corner of the courtyard, drink a margarita and enjoy the nice succulent plants at all over de Reyes.
On the way back to the station near the Historical park we visited the candle shop. It is cute little shop that once again smelled so good. There are so many fragrances to choose from. There is also a great candy shop nearby the candle shop selling yummy fudges. We ended our Old town exploration by having a tea in “Coffee and Tea house” (yes that the name), I was overwhelmed by choosing their collection of the teas. Oh… their chocolate cake is also heavenly.
And if you wanted to stay till late you can opt for Ghost tour too but we chose to be back with red trolley to where our car parked, and spent the entire evening shopping at Target before we went back to LA to meet my husband for supper. It was a lovely day trip and definitely I am in love with the town.