There are other things to San Diego than Sea World

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December 29th 2008
Published: January 2nd 2009
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When: Dec 25th - Dec 28th 2008
Where: Balboa Park, Downtown, Gaslamp quarter, Coronado parts of San Diego

It's been a while since we traveled. We wanted to get out of our home for this vacation. But for a long time, we did not decide where. That makes it the least prepared trip for us. Usually, we have this plan laid out, like a month prior. I've read about so many people making unplanned trips that just involves taking the car & just drive. I've only imagined such trips as I am a planning freak. I need things to be in place. But the little one is such an adventure by herself. We knew we could rely on her for this trip, but how long can you strap a baby in the car seat?😞

The trip materialized with Ganesh requesting this book from the library, "Photosecrets of San Diego". I remember asking him why he requested this book. We had no plans of being there.
Turns out that it was the perfect place to be for the 2 days we had, with 2 days of driving.

The trip picked up speed after we rented a PT Cruiser from a local Enterprise. Btw, Enterprise sucks! We had requested for a midsize & were offered a Chevy Cobalt. Now all of us know that it comes under compact category. So, we were forced to rent a Standard PT Cruiser(so the stroller would fit). Turns out that PT cruiser is a compact car too(the height was a definite plus) & Enterprise owns cars without a cruise control. Sucks, big time Enterprise!
No turning back, now. So.

Dec 25th: With the little one being our alarm & when she rang once at 3.30am, we decided to get things going while she peacefully continued her bzzz.
It was raining intermittently & we managed to pack ALL our stuff & leave home by 6.30 ish.
No change in the rain.
We hit I5 & some 60 miles later, we stopped at a rest area. The lil one was attended to. It wasn't raining, but cold & windy. So the Angel had to stay indoors😊
We gained mileage the next couple hrs as little S fell asleep.
Rain picked up near the Tejon Pass & the place looked gorgeous. The dry grass neighbored fresh green ones & the cloudy weather gave a dreamy location.
Ganesh had read this from the library earlier that gave insight on how water distribution in done in CA. The aqueducts run along I5 we could spot them.

Without any specific events, we reached San Diego. We did see a dramatic increase in the # of cars as we neared LA though.
I realized how close we were to the Ocean when we checked into Ramada near the airport. We were near the famous Harbor Dr.
It was windy & rained the whole night. Little S was so relieved to finally see a bed.😊

Dec 26th: Early start. We were in Balboa Park by 8am. There were not many people in the park. People probably preferred to stay at home the day after Christmas. We took a stroll. Most of the museums were closed. It did not matter to us as we were there to take some shots of the outside. Very impressive Spanish architecture, I should say. I seldom knew such places existed in San Diego. Our previous trips basically were the famous Sea world, Zoo & the Wild animal Park.
Little S was awake, so we had some photo sessions.
It was still cold, but less windy.

After spending more than half of the day, we returned back home to relax. For the sunset, we chose to visit Coronado. A no-toll bridge takes you across San Diego bay to Coronado Island. We set up base for the next hr & more. It was C-O-L-D!

The Photosecret book says that Coronado Ferry building was the best place to shoot San Diego skyline. It is so true. I literally shot till I dropped. So, we just went around the island to see Hotel Del Coronado before a speedy drive back home.

We hit the bed along with little Angel. Tomorrow a long day too!

Dec 27th: We realized how close we were to the city. That is something we don't do often. We were at Old Town in just 10 minutes.
The place does not come to life before 10am. But I think we liked it nevertheless. We went around the town & it was so local. I just loved the town's flavour. Very authentic!

We later took a stroll near Heritage Park with the Victorian Houses. Most of them were closed due to renovation or modified to fit in shops & diners.
The place was hilly & reminded us of our very own San Francisco(a lil exaggerated comparison, of course😊).
It took us longer than we expected & we hit Gaslamp Quarter area near the Downtown.
Horton Plaza parking lot is free for 3 hrs with validation. And there is free validation machines that you can utilise. We took the stroll mentioned in the book & ended spending most of the time at Ghirardelli chocolate company😊

At the end of our stroll, we realized that San Diego had
-more Indian restaurants than any other downtown we knew.
-It is a small place. You can cover the downtown on foot.
-You have tall apartment homes in the heart of the downtown.
-The downtown seems relatively safe.
-Horton Plaza is a huge mall in the center of the city.
-The traffic is not as bad as we had expected(probably we visited during a Christmas weekend).
-The city carries beautiful architectural buildings.
-The new Children Museum seems interesting.
-The gaslamps at the Gaslamp quarter is authentic, though some carried white CFL bulbs.
-The drinking water is tasteless.

Close to sundown, we came to Spanish Landing Park on Harbor Dr. It was much warmer today & less windy.
It was fun to walk along the trail by the shores. The Sun just set & we hit Cabrillo bridge for night shots.
It was a fun-filled shooting session with me trying to focus & the aperture playing games with me.
We still had time to drive by Gaslamp Quarters & Seaport village.

Dec 28th: Anticipating a long drive, we hit the road. Four hrs later, we had still not crossed LA. At one point, I felt like yelling "Just stop & let us by" to all those cars. Seriously, how do people live in LA? At every merge along the freeway, there are like a few 10 cars. And to top all this, accidents. How do people over speed in this bumper-to-bumper movement. Baffles me!
Anyways, I5 had bottlenecks off & on & we reached home late night.

For the first time in a long while, we were relieved to get home.
If not for the quietness from S, we might have spent longer times outside & probably come back to crash closer to midnight. But thanks to the lil Angel, every minute we had different things to do.
She was such a sport & would entertain herself for several hours.

This trip would not have happened but for her. And if not for her, we would have just spent hours & hours of shooting monuments & landscapes & buildings.

Of all gifts nature bestowed on us, the best is our little baby.


Additional photos below
Photos: 55, Displayed: 27


Us & the skylineUs & the skyline
Us & the skyline

taken from Coronado Island

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