California Dreamin’ – San Diego (Contd.)

After a long day at the San Diego Zoo, we decided on a more laid back approach and headed off to Torrey Pines State National Reserve, just a few miles up the coast. The recent rains had resulted in a swathe of gorgeous spring flowers that covered the cliff tops along the ocean. A steep climb rewarded us with terrific views of the waves below and we enjoyed a few hours strolling along the trails with spectacular panoramas at every turn. The Torrey Pine is unique to the area with oversized pine cones and with the tree moulded by winds to a distinctive shape, unlike other pine trees.

We drove along the coast to La Jolla and discovered the seals and sea lions that bask on the rocks along the shoreline. Great wildlife viewing as we watched some of them frolicking in the surf and generally having fun, while the majority did what they do best and slept soundly in the sun.


A visit to the exclusive island of Coronado was next on the list and we had a beautiful sunny day in which to explore the pristine beaches and pretty shops that line Orange Avenue. We chose to drive over the bridge which soared high over the bay giving amazing views, but you can also take the ferry from San Diego Harbour if you prefer to leave the car behind. Sadly we ran out of time so didn’t make the obligatory visit to the iconic Hotel Del Coronado which is steeped in history, maybe next visit.

Mission Bay

With all this sightseeing it was relaxing to chill out on the beach outside the Catamaran resort for a few hours. The season is just beginning and beach chairs are appearing for all to enjoy and guests are venturing out onto the water in kayaks, sailboats and paddle boards. Not me though, I am content to sit and watch!

The days slip by and I must mention another memorable meal. Food is important to the people of California and we have certainly enjoyed some amazing foodie experiences. But probably one of the best was at Nine Ten at the Colony Hotel in La Jolla. Such a mind-blowing menu it was hard to decide but eventually I chose such a delicious lobster salad, fresh and zinging with flavour. Followed by sea bass cooked to perfection and finally a sweet creation of maple cream, meringue and fruit – total perfection.

Sailing out of San Diego Harbour

Thursday and it must be whale watching. Another warm and sunny day for which we were thankful as the Pacific Ocean is cold at this time of year. We took the afternoon trip with Hornblower Cruises and Capt. Rick did a grand job of finding some juvenile grey whales plus a couple of fully grown animals. It was a great bonus to have volunteers from the San Diego Natural History Museum on board to answer our questions and help with sightings.


We spent some time in Tuna Park on the harbour front – famous for the statue of the Sailor and the Nurse, and the Bob Hope Memorial. Then wandered around the shops at Seaport Village before dinner at an authentic Spanish restaurant with an American twist in the famed Gas Lamp Quarter, Café Sevilla.

Amazing architecture – Balboa Park

Our last day had to be Balboa Park. Comfy shoes and lots of energy are required to stroll around garden after beautiful garden and dip in and out of the many museums and galleries. The weather was so lovely we opted for more gardens than museums. The Japanese Tea Garden was full of cherry blossom, the Alcazar was shady and peaceful and the Botanic Garden was bursting with vibrant orchids. We took advantage of the free trolley bus to ride around and get our bearings and give our feet a rest. This vast space, in the centre of the city is an absolute delight and a credit to the city.  I have come across an interesting blog by Emily Moore showcasing some great American Gardens and Balboa Park  is no.3 on her list. If you love gardens – take a look

Balboa Park

So our California Dreamin’ tour has come to an end but I will be sending more in depth features to in due course and am happy to recommend our travel partner for fly drive options, and for flights,













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