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July 24th 2011
Published: July 29th 2011
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DAY 14-15
San Diego
I got up at 9 on Monday morning, packed up and said my goodbyes to Joyce and set off towards San Diego. According to the tomtom it would take around 2 hours so it wasn’t too bad of a drive. Again, getting out of LA was quite tricky, no problems if you have a gps but the traffic, even on a Monday morning no rush hour was pretty bad. It was, however, a glorious sunny day and I was looking forward to enjoying the drive. Once out of LA it is quite a nice drive which follows the coastline and passes a few beaches quite popular with surfers who for the looks of it, camp there over night.
After an hour and a half drive I stopped in a resting area as I hadn’t had anything to eat and I was a bit hungry. Got myself a sandwich and a drink and had a little rest before getting back on the road. The rest of the drive to San Diego was quite pleasant and uneventful. As in any major city, the traffic gets busier as you get closer to town but I had no problems in getting there and finding the motel where I was staying. I liked San Diego straight away. It just felt good, very sunny, laid back, nice landscape and beautiful houses. I had booked the Dolphin motel after reading the reviews in tripadvisor and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s just in the Shelter Island, yards from the fishing harbour and it’s all painted white and blue which gives it a very marine feeling. They guy who checked me in was extremely helpful and gave me some good advice on what to visit giving the time I was going to be in San Diego. The room was also ready although I was quite early and got in, unpacked a bit and dot my swimming shorts on, ready to spend a relaxing day visiting some of the beaches I had been recommended. First one I visited was Ocean beach which I really liked. Lots of waves, lots of surfers and not very packed, at least where I was. I spent a couple of hours sunbathing, chilling and looking at the surfers. I had my first swim in the Pacific ocean and the water was quite nice, I thought it would be colder. When I got bored I went to check some of the shops and bars around the area and then I set off to my next beach, Mission beach by Mission park. It took me about 10 minutes drive from Ocean Beach but about 15 minutes to find a car space. The place was really really busy for a Monday morning, mainly with large groups and families. In that section of the beach I was at there were no surfers so I guess it’s where most families go with kids. The waves were massive and nearly everybody was using wakeboards to ride the waves. I didn’t have one but still enjoyed swimming and diving through the waves. After a bit more than an hour I had enough and drove to la Jolla coves, which is a posh side of town where you can see seals and swim near the reefs. Again, it only took me 10 minutes to get there and I had no problems parking the car. Got myself an ice-cream, first one since in the US, and walked around the coastline which has terrific views of the reefs and the coast. There were quite a few birds and I only managed to see a few seals. They weren’t in the rocks but swimming and diving in the sea so they were quite hard to spot, you could only spot them when they decided to stick their head out of the water to check their surroundings. It was a very nice walk around the park and some of the small beaches around la Jolla. Then I decided to go to Mount Soledad were, according to the guy at the motel, you can see great views of the city. And he was very right. It’s another 10 minutes drive up the hills until you get to the summit of the mount, crowned by a large cross. The 360 degrees views are just amazing. I took a few pictures and as it was 7ish I decided to get back to the motel.
That night I was supposed to meet Marta, a friend of my cousin Henar. I sent her an email the day before and she hadn’t replied in the morning, so not sure it was still going to go ahead. I got back to the motel, had a shower and checked my email. She hadn’t replied so I will have to make alternative plans. One of the things I still hadn’t seen was the Old Town, which is a good place to have something to eat, so I decided to go there. Got in the bus, as I fancied a couple of beers, and got into the Old Town. It looked really nice, although it was dark by then. Plenty of Mexican restaurants, some busier than others, so after a few minutes checking the different eateries, I chose one of the busy ones. Now, I really don’t enjoy going to restaurants on my own. I find it boring and I feel out of place but I still need to eat, and one of the advantages is that they always find you a table for one. If not a table, you can sit by the bar.
The food was ok, I had one of the house specialities carnitas, which are strips of marinated pork with black beans and come with onions, avocado and tomatoes and tortillas. They were ok. Nothing great, just a bit tasteless in my opinion. The portion was again huge so I couldn’t manage to finish. Had a couple of beers and I paid about $15. There were a couple of bars in the old town but they didn’t look too appealing and there weren’t many people in so I decided to call it a night and go back to the motel. Had to wait 15 minutes to the bus and got back to the motel about 10ish.
Updated some of the pictures on my laptop and browse the internet for a while before falling asleep after another long day.
On Tuesday I had to return the car in LA at 6pm so I didn’t really had much time to spare in San Diego. I planned to leave at about 3pm so I would have enough time to get to the rental place in LA by 6. I got up at 9 and went for a run. The owner of the motel recommended a running route of about 5 mile, which is a bit more than what I am running at the moment, but decided to give it a go anyway. I was still full from last night, so nothing better than a good run to get rid of that feeling.
The run was very nice just running by the harbour where you can see amazing views of San Diego’s downtown and the islands. It took me a bit over 35 minutes and got back to the motel ready to have some of the provided breakfast in the patio area. I had orange juice, a muffin and a yoghurt and after chilling for a bit, I went to my room to get ready. I packed my stuff again, had a shave and a shower and checked out. As I still had a few hours spare I decided to go to the Old Town again to see it in daylight. It is very nice, there are some old buildings which have been preserved from the 1800s town and some other buildings that have been restored. Each of the buildings has its own museum which is quite informative and there are plenty of shops where to buy souvenirs. I had a walk around, bought some candy in a cool candy shop and decided to go to Ocean beach for lunch. The day before I had spotted a burger joint with a massive queue called Huddas which claims to make some of the nicest burgers in the whole country. I got there, parked and queued for 35 minutes in order to get in. I hoped the burgers were worth it! I had a single bacon cheeseburger with fries and a water. This is one of the things I really like about the US. You can have tap water everywhere, they serve it with ice and it normally tastes nice. I like water with my meals so it’s good to be able to have it without having to fork out a couple of dollars. The burger was massive, I don’t want to think what the double cheeseburger is like. And it was very tasty aswell, all for $9.
It was a bit later than I predicted, about 3 20 so I got in the car and made my way towards LA. The drive door to door took me 3 hours. I was supposed to drop the car at 6 and I didn’t make it until 6 15 but they were ok. I liked the express check out, where they just check the mileage, the petrol and they issue you with a receipt in a matter of seconds.
I then got in the free shuttle to the airport as they didn’t provide a lift to anywhere else. My flight to San Antonio was in the morning and I hadn’t book anything for that night so I got a cab from the airport and ask him to take me to the nearest and cheapest motel, which happened to be motel 6. Got there and checked in. They only had a smoking room which I really wasn’t happy with, but it was that or nothing. So I paid $60 and got to my room. The room was ok, quite big with 2 queen size beds but it stunk of fags and the window didn’t open. I switch the AC to full power and hoped that the smell would get better. I laid in bed watching some tv and then I went out to grab some food. There were a few options close by, all fast food, chinese, pollo loco, mcdonalds but I went to 7 eleven and I got myself something a bit healthier. Grab a salad and a muesli yoghurt and some water and went to my room to eat it. Watch Deadliest catch on tv, surf the net and went to sleep.

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