Chapter San Diego: Of sea, sand, and surreal sunsets

With a plan jotted down on a notebook, and a map saved offline, it was going to be another day with another exciting new (weekend) journey. It started with the groggy, hungry, and airsick me silently requesting my stomach to hold on to some dignity for the two-hour long journey from Seattle to San Diego.

The city greeted us with a stunning night view of downtown from air, and warmth and humidity from land. The drive to Ramada Inn was all butterflies— some remnants from the flight and new ones from anticipation! What seemed like a shady hotel, turned out to be a surprisingly comfortable weekend home.

We were away from all the rain in Seattle only to find it raining in San Diego our first morning there. Not letting it dampen our spirits, we set off to Perry’s Cafe, a famous local brunch place, for some breakfast. You know everything gets better with some eggs when even the sky turns a sunny-side up (sorry, not sorry).

Some omelette, hash browns, and a blueberry muffin from Perry's Cafe.
Some omelette, hash browns, and a blueberry muffin from Perry’s Cafe, San Diego.

Off we went to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, one of the most spectacular places to see in the city. Loaded with Spanish culture right from food and artifacts to songs and dances, this place is a must visit if you ever set foot in this cactus-city.

Twisting and twirling by Fiesta de Reyes at Old Town San Diego.
Twisting and twirling by Fiesta de Reyes at Old Town San Diego.

After shying away from dancing at a ‘country-dance for dummies’ setup, we walked around goofing with the pots and masks, picking out some ornate key-holders, fridge magnets, and handmade painted tiles to keep the towny-vibe going. Aplenty with souvenirs to take home both in kind and in memory, this old town really takes a cozy spot in your heart.

Some more hand-made goodies from Old Town San Diego.
Some hand-made goodies from Old Town San Diego.
Some hand-crafted goodness from Old Town San Diego.
Some more hand-crafted goodness from Old Town San Diego.

Trotting off from the Old Town, we drove on to Seaport Village. With a magic show, some cheesy pretzels, and a splendid sunset by the sea, Seaport Village brings a bit of the Old Town charm right to the heart of downtown San Diego! While kids enjoy the magic show, adults take a stroll to the ice-cream stalls, and lovestruck couples sit for a portrait caricature with the famous Keith Osborn.

With a rustic vegan dinner of Buffalo cauliflower and Philly cheese sandwich at Grains, the first day came to an end.

Now, what’s a visit to San Diego without visiting at least one beach! Having meticulously planned a beach-hopping with seven beautiful beaches, we packed our bags and set off to our first stop at Torrey Pines State Beach, located north of La Jolla. After a bit of contemplation about hiking, we decided not to so we could cover more beaches. Climbing onto the railing and down some rocks, we let our feet sink into the velvety sands. With only five other people around, all of us enjoyed the peace and quiet of having the place to ourselves, walking along the never-ending coast for over an hour.

A lone gull dips its feet in the cold waters of the Torrey Pines beach.
A lone gull dips its feet in the cold waters of the Torrey Pines beach, San Diego.

We moved on to Solana Beach next. With beautiful houses lined up on the steep cliffs along the shore, this picture-perfect beach is yet another beauty. Picking up pebbles, watching gulls circle the sea to prey, contrails whizzing past drawing perfect white lines in the clear blue sky, we lost track of time walking along this cliffy coast.

The beach-house lined cliffy coast of San Diego's Solana Beach.
The beach-house lined cliffy coast of San Diego’s Solana Beach.

Losing track of time also means forgetting lunch! All the walking on sands got our stomachs gurgling and off we drove to Native Cafe, a vegan Californian restaurant to devour some Native Nachos with Guac and Crispy Avocado Wrap, and downed it with some sugar-free iced tea.

Lip-smacking Native Nachos and Crispy Avocado wrap from Native Cafe, San Diego.
Lip-smacking Native Nachos and Crispy Avocado wrap from Native Cafe, San Diego.

With a happy tummy, we reached the famed La Jolla Caves and Coves. With thousands of birds resting on the rocks and hundreds taking turns soaring in the sky, competing with the contrails, this beach is a sight to behold!

Gulls perched on the rocks of the popular La Jolla Caves and Coves.
Gulls perched on the rocks of the popular La Jolla Caves and Coves.

And, as if this just wasn’t enough, we were in for a surprise when we stepped into a gift shop. What if I told you that for $10, you could walk into an underground tunnel that takes you right to the inside of one of the coves! To climb down through a cold cave, look at the wild sea crashing against rocks, at men and women kayaking their way through one coast to another while standing on the creaky floorboards of an old viewing deck makes for a dreamlike experience.

The cove-eye view of La Jolla.
The cove-eye view of La Jolla.

Wanting to go back into the cove, we walked out only to hear the exciting barks of the sea lions. A quick walk along the sidewalk above the coast and we spotted a few sea lions basking lazily in the afternoon sun, alongside some pelicans resting with their fresh catch.

A lazy sea lion finally makes its way up the rocks to rest with some neighborly pelicans.
A lazy sea lion finally makes its way up the rocks to rest alongside some neighborly pelicans.

With a heavy heart knowing well we can no more cover the remaining four beaches (out of the seven we shortlisted), we set off to the last beach. To cheer ourselves up, we chose the Ocean Beach aka Dog Beach. Right on time for sunset, we caught all furry friends happily playing fetch with their humans, resting after a long relaxing swim in the ocean, and watching the sun set with as much delight as their human counterparts.

Sunset on Dog Beach, San Diego.
Sunset on Dog Beach, San Diego.

In what was one of the most bewitching of sunsets I’ve ever witnessed, I kissed San Diego a sandy goodbye with a silent vow to return and visit more of its charming beaches.

Maker:S,Date:2017-8-28,Ver:6,Lens:Kan03,Act:Lar02,E-Y

Adiós

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