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Karthik Raja | profile | all galleries >> Galleries >> Discover America >> San Diego, California tree view | thumbnails | slideshow | map

San Diego, California



Dates: Dec 26th & Dec 28th
Travelers: Sumitra, Karthik, Shwetha, Karthik

We arrived in San Diego a few hours after sunset, after a scenic drive from Los Angeles, passing through Orange County. Our hotel for the first night was the Hotel Solamar, a luxury Klimpton hotel in the heart of the Gaslamp Quarter. The area is listed as a historic district on the National Register of Historic Places as Gaslamp Quarter Historic District. It is one of the most vibrant areas in San Diego, and very hip. We spent the evening walking around the National Convention Center and the historic district and decided to get dinner at a French Bistro.

The next morning we headed to the highly talked about Cafe 222. Bobby Flay had visited this breakfast joint and labeled their Banana and Peanut Butter French toast as one of the best things he ever ate. Not quite the same sentiment but certainly delicious and worth the wait and the cold outside seating. It did take us a while to get going again but we did and headed north of the city to La Jolla an affluent, hilly seaside resort community, occupying 7 miles (11 km) of curving coastline along the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. We headed to the La Jolla beach, a haven for surfers. At first glance the sheer number of surfers made us believe they might be seals but as we saw each stand and ride the waves we knew this would give the surfers in Hawaii stiff competition. La Jolla Cove is popular for swimming, scuba diving and snorkelling. However, since La Jolla Cove is within the San Diego-La Jolla Underwater Park (a marine refuge area), swimming devices such as surfboards, boogie boards, and even inflatable mattresses are not permitted, and this rule is carefully enforced by the lifeguards, specifically in the part of the area defined as the Ecological Reserve. Just a short swim away to the right on the coast is "Sunny Jim Cave," a popular destination for tourists. It is also accessible from a nearby store, which charges a nominal fee to go down a staircase leading to the cave.

From La Jolla we headed to Mission Bay, a docking port for hundreds of boats. Swimming amongst the boats were seals. Mission Bay is a salt-water bay or lagoon located south of the Pacific Beach community of San Diego, California. The bay is part of the recreational Mission Bay Park, which is the largest man-made aquatic park in the country, consisting of 4,235 acres, approximately 46% land and 54% water. Next stop was the Cabrillo National Monument, located at the southern tip of the Point Loma Peninsula in San Diego, California. It commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542. This event marked the first time that a European expedition had set foot on what later became the West Coast of the United States. We had never been to Mexico but from this southernmost point we could see Tijuana. As with all historical units of the National Park Service, Cabrillo was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. The park is also a great vantage point to see San Diego skyline, Coronado Island, and the San Diego Bay. We headed from the park to North Bay to catch the last Harbor cruise.

The San Diego Harbor Cruise, especially the last one that overlaps with sunset is one of the best ideas. Outward bound you can catch the sunset in all its glorious colors reflecting against the San Diego skyline. Heading back into San Diego, you can see the sky turn shades of pink and purple and the ships in the San Diego Naval Base are majestically silhouetted. Back in San Diego, we had dinner in Rama, a Thai restaurant with high ratings but we were very disappointed. The food was decent, but the service was frustratingly below par. Not recommended. To make up for the bad dinner we headed to Extraordinary Desserts, a highlight of our trip. It's her never-compromise-on-quality mantra that has made Karen Krasne, owner of Extraordinary Desserts, the quintessential dessert chef. Trained in Paris, Krasne believes that sublime pastries should be as luscious to look at as they are to taste. The unique patisserie, located near downtown San Diego, ices & decorates its way through mounds of chocolate and gallons of whipped cream each week.

The next morning, we woke up at the Marriott and headed to another famous San Diego joint, Bread and Cie. The bread, croissants and sandwiches were perfect, flaky on the outside and chewy on the inside. We took our food to Balboa park, a paradise nestled in the middle of San Diego. The Park is named after the Spanish maritime explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa. It was the location of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition and 1935 California Pacific International Exposition which each created architectural landmarks for the Park. Balboa Park's site was placed in reserve in 1835, and so is one of the oldest sites in the United States dedicated to public recreational use. Besides open space areas and natural vegetation green belts, it contains a variety of cultural attractions including many museums, theaters, gardens, shops and restaurants, as well as the world famous San Diego Zoo. Balboa Park, and the historic Exposition buildings, were declared a National Historic Landmark and National Historic Landmark District in 1977, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of the park's cultural attractions are along El Prado, a long, wide promenade and boulevard running through the center of the park. Most of the buildings lining this street are in the Spanish Colonial Revival architecture style, a richly ornamented eclectic mixture of European Spanish architecture and the Spanish Colonial architecture of New Spain-Mexico.

Two days in San Diego, we scratched the surface and saw the highlights. We will be back.

San Diego from Cabrillo National Monument, Point Loma Peninsula
San Diego from Cabrillo National Monument, Point Loma Peninsula
Point Lomo Peninsula, San Diego
Point Lomo Peninsula, San Diego
North Island and San Diego
North Island and San Diego
San Diego
San Diego
Southwestern corner of the US, San Diego
Southwestern corner of the US, San Diego
North Island, San Diego Bay
North Island, San Diego Bay
Coronado bridge, San Diego
Coronado bridge, San Diego
Final stretches of the US, San Diego
Final stretches of the US, San Diego
Point Lomo Lighthouse, San Diego
Point Lomo Lighthouse, San Diego
Cabrillo National Monument, looking out over the bay, sculptor Alvaro de Bree, San Diego
Cabrillo National Monument, looking out over the bay, sculptor Alvaro de Bree, San Diego
San Diego night skyline
San Diego night skyline
Pier in to San Diego Bay
Pier in to San Diego Bay
San Diego skyline from San Diego Bay
San Diego skyline from San Diego Bay
San Diego skyline
San Diego skyline
A modern San Diego
A modern San Diego
Petco Park, San Diego
Petco Park, San Diego
Balboa Park, San Diego
Balboa Park, San Diego
Reflections in Balboa Park, San Diego
Reflections in Balboa Park, San Diego
Casa de Balboa, Balboa Park, San Diego
"Casa de Balboa", Balboa Park, San Diego
Casa de Balboa, Balboa Park, San Diego
"Casa de Balboa", Balboa Park, San Diego
Balboa Park, San Diego
Balboa Park, San Diego
TheEl Cid sculpture, by Anna Hyatt Huntington, Balboa Park, San Diego
TheEl Cid sculpture, by Anna Hyatt Huntington, Balboa Park, San Diego
The Botanical Building, Balboa Park, San Diego
The Botanical Building, Balboa Park, San Diego
Karen and Donald Cohn Education center, Balboa Park, San Diego
Karen and Donald Cohn Education center, Balboa Park, San Diego
Old Globe Theater, Balboa Park, San Diego
Old Globe Theater, Balboa Park, San Diego
Monster, Balboa Park, San Diego
Monster, Balboa Park, San Diego
Love in Balboa Park, San Diego
Love in Balboa Park, San Diego
Bee in Balboa Park, San Diego
Bee in Balboa Park, San Diego
The California Bell Tower and San Diego Museum of Man, Balboa Park, San Diego
The California Bell Tower and San Diego Museum of Man, Balboa Park, San Diego
The California Bell Tower and San Diego Museum of Man, Balboa Park, San Diego
The California Bell Tower and San Diego Museum of Man, Balboa Park, San Diego
The Casa del Prado Theater, with Churrigueresque ornamentation framing the entrance, Balboa Park, San Diego
The Casa del Prado Theater, with Churrigueresque ornamentation framing the entrance, Balboa Park, San Diego
Mordern art, Balboa Park, San Diego
Mordern art, Balboa Park, San Diego
Petco park, San Diego
Petco park, San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Coronado bridge, San Diego
Coronado bridge, San Diego
Coronado bridge, San Diego
Coronado bridge, San Diego
China Shipping bringing cars, San Diego
China Shipping bringing cars, San Diego
Catalina Islands, Pacific Ocean
Catalina Islands, Pacific Ocean
Catalina Islands, Pacific Ocean
Catalina Islands, Pacific Ocean
San Diego coast
San Diego coast
Sunset in San Diego Bay
Sunset in San Diego Bay
Sunset in San Diego Bay
Sunset in San Diego Bay
Sunset in San Diego Bay
Sunset in San Diego Bay
Sunset, Coast Guard Rescue Practice, San Diego Bay
Sunset, Coast Guard Rescue Practice, San Diego Bay
Coronado Island in the sunset, San Diego
Coronado Island in the sunset, San Diego
Catalina Islands, Pacific Ocean
Catalina Islands, Pacific Ocean
Battleships, San Diego Naval base
Battleships, San Diego Naval base
Mercy, US Naval Hospital Ship, San Diego Naval base
Mercy, US Naval Hospital Ship, San Diego Naval base
Cruisers, San Diego Naval base
Cruisers, San Diego Naval base
Aircraft carrier, San Diego Naval base
Aircraft carrier, San Diego Naval base
Carnival Splendor being repaired in San Diego
Carnival Splendor being repaired in San Diego
Spanish treasure, Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego
Spanish treasure, Cabrillo National Monument, San Diego
Marriott, Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Marriott, Gaslamp Quarter, San Diego
Carousel, Harbor Village, San Diego
Carousel, Harbor Village, San Diego
Harbor Village, San Diego
Harbor Village, San Diego
Inside the Point Lomo lighthouse, San Diego
Inside the Point Lomo lighthouse, San Diego
La Jolla, California
La Jolla, California
La Jolla, California
La Jolla, California
La Jolla, caves, California
La Jolla, caves, California
La Jolla Cave, La Jolla
La Jolla Cave, La Jolla
La Jolla Beach
La Jolla Beach
Surfers heading out, La Jolla
Surfers heading out, La Jolla
Setup for the tube, surfing in La Jolla
Setup for the tube, surfing in La Jolla
Wipe out, surfing in La Jolla
Wipe out, surfing in La Jolla
Conquer, surfing in La Jolla, California
Conquer, surfing in La Jolla, California
Riding the wave, surfing in La Jolla
Riding the wave, surfing in La Jolla
Guardians of the surf, La Jolla
Guardians of the surf, La Jolla
Mating season, La Jolla, California
Mating season, La Jolla, California
Birds nest, La Jolla, California
Birds nest, La Jolla, California
Bird on a branch, La Jolla, California
Bird on a branch, La Jolla, California
Bird on a branch, La Jolla, California
Bird on a branch, La Jolla, California
Coast Guard, San Diego
Coast Guard, San Diego
Coast Guard, San Diego
Coast Guard, San Diego
Coast Guard, Pacific Ocean, San Diego
Coast Guard, Pacific Ocean, San Diego
Yacht on Pacific Ocean, San Diego
Yacht on Pacific Ocean, San Diego
Mission Bay, San Diego
Mission Bay, San Diego
Cafe 222, The Best Thing Bobby Flay Ever Ate - Banana and Peanut Butter French toast
Cafe 222, "The Best Thing Bobby Flay Ever Ate" - Banana and Peanut Butter French toast
Extraordinary Desserts, San Diego
Extraordinary Desserts, San Diego
Extraordinary Desserts, San Diego
Extraordinary Desserts, San Diego
Extraordinary Desserts, San Diego
Extraordinary Desserts, San Diego