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Tuesday, 29 May 2018

CALIFORNIA DREAMING - 48 HOUR GUIDE TO SAN DIEGO

I’m finally back with another blog post and this time it’s about my new favourite American City – San Diego! I haven’t uploaded in a while so bare with me as this might be a long one. Firstly, I'm sorry I’ve been MIA for so long, I was sunning myself on holiday then took some time to ease myself back into my ‘normal’ work routine; I promise I’ll try to keep to a more regular schedule now that I’m back (and the next post is set to be a good one so don’t miss it!)


This was my first time visiting San Diego and I was so SO excited when I finally saw it on my roster as I’d been bidding for it since I joined. San Diego is a four day trip for us which means we get two nights and almost two full days down route to explore the city – I’d never done a long haul trip with more than one night in a hotel before this so I was really looking forward to being able to visit places without having to worry about rushing back to get ready for pick up. We land quite late in the evening on the first day so I went straight to my room, ordered room service, and watched some Netflix (dream night tbh) before bedding down for the night to get some sleep ahead of a day of fun.

BALBOA PARK:
On the first morning I woke up early and headed to Balboa Park with one of the other crew; the park is quite a long walk from the hotel where we stay so we decided to try out the bikes that you can find parked around the city instead. For someone who hasn’t ridden a bike in a while this proved… interesting, however we still somehow managed to get there in one piece. Balboa Park is a massive plot of land that not only contains gardens full of beautiful, multi-coloured flowers but also plays host to a botanical building, a multitude of museums and the world famous San Diego Zoo. I decided against visiting the zoo as I knew it would likely take up a large chunk of the day and I wanted to stop by other places too, so instead we just wandered around the park taking in the greenery and stunning views (and doing a touch of plane spotting as they flew overhead). Highlights from the park included the botanical building which was full of tropical flowers and the Japanese Garden which was home to an array of unique plants such as Bonsai trees and cherry blossom as well as a Koi pond and a Japanese teahouse.


CORONADO BEACH:
Our second stop of the day was to Coronado Beach. The West Coast (in particular California) is famous for its beaches so we of course had to make that a priority on our tour of San Diego, and where better than Coronado Beach! We spent the afternoon catching some rays whilst lying on the sand then went and got some drinks from the iconic Hotel de Coronado, which is the hotel that provided inspiration for Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.

GASLAMP QUARTER:
For dinner that evening we visited the lively downtown neighbourhood known as the Gaslamp Quarter. The Gaslamp Quarter is known for its nightlife and excellent restaurants and bars; keen to experience all San Diego had to offer it’s no surprise that’s where we chose to eat (and the food was delicious!)

USS MIDWAY/UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER:
The start of day two saw us head out early to go to the harbour and see the Unconditional Surrender Statue, more commonly referred to by tourists as ‘The Kissing Statue’. Standing at 25 meters tall this sculpture recreates the iconic photo of an embrace between a nurse and US Navy Soldier on V-J Day in Times Square. Along the harbour right next to the statue you’ll also find the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum moored at the Navy Pier. Once the United States’ longest serving aircraft carrier, the USS Midway is now open to the public as the largest museum dedicated to carriers and naval aviation. Although I didn’t have the opportunity to go inside the museum due to lack of time, it’s definitely something I want to cross off my list should I return to San Diego.


OLD TOWN:
In the afternoon of the second day we took a trip to Old Town San Diego. The Old Town is the site of the first European settlement in present-day California and contains dozens of historic buildings and sites, remaining true to its heritage. The main square looks like something straight out of a Wild West film and the shops offer a variety of different goods to buy. We of course headed straight for the sweet shop, which had just about every type of candy you could imagine and smelt rather nauseating; put off by the aroma, I decided to head to the ice cream parlour instead whilst the others purchased their goodies and tried out a couple of scoops of birthday cake ice cream – yum!


KANSAS CITY BARBEQUE:
Perhaps better know as ‘The Top Gun Bar’, Kansas City Barbeque is a small bar/restaurant located in San Diego’s harbour district, famous for being the filming location for the iconic Great Balls of Fire scene in Top Gun (as well as the jukebox scene at the end of the film). Me being a HUGE Top Gun fan and aspiring pilot I absolutely could not visit San Diego without taking a trip to this bar. Inside you can still find the piano Goose played during the film as well as hundreds of license plates and caps that adorn the walls and ceiling. If you, like me, are a massive nerd I would 100% recommend visiting this bar as it’s an iconic spot for all things Top Gun and the staff there are so welcoming - and they're happy to discuss every little detail of the film with you.



So that concludes my San Diego blog! Sorry it was such a long one but I absolutely LOVED the city and had so much to rave about. I can’t wait to go back and I've got my fingers crossed it appears somewhere on my future rosters. I hope you enjoyed this post and thanks for reading! Olivia x
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