California – June 2015

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Torrey Pines Beach, Southern California

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Frittered a few days reacquainting myself with the good and bad of San Diego and its environs whilst Geoff attended a conference in the Hotel Del at Coronado Beach :-).

Despite our many trips to California over the years time seems to have eroded our memories of just how chilly a summer on this coast can be. Having dipped my toes fleetingly into the Pacific for old times’ sake I wondered with awe how all the tourists and locals managed to immerse their bodies fully into the icy waters without the protection of wet suits and a layer of English Channel swimmers grease 😉 …. I guess we have lived too long in the Sunshine State with the balmy Gulf waters at an average temperature of 85F over the summer months compared to 70F in San Diego :-).

Still, the Coronado boardwalk, bordered at each end by the famous naval bases was a beautiful location for a morning run each day – ignoring the wind chill and the frost bite nipping at our ear-lobes ;-).

Wandering the San Diego waterfront and Balboa Park in the sun (whilst Coronado Island froze under its blanket of summer fog less than 2 miles away) was very pleasant, albeit touristy. Over the passage of time, I seem to have forgotten the full horrors of the famous Gaslight District jammed with bars and chain food restaurants and, similarly, I had forgotten just how eerily quiet this city can be in the daytime … dominated as it is by the huge Conference Centre buildings and the fact nobody goes to bars at 11am … it’s an odd place…

We decided to retrace old steps with a weekend at beautiful La Jolla just up the road… home of the ultra well-heeled … boutique stores, posh restaurants and Seal Cove – which is best observed from a  distance; right down amongst the cuddly, lazy lumps themselves sunbathing on the beach, the accompanying odors pervading the air were heady to say the least.

To be fair, I am not sure if the blame for the unholy stench should be laid at the door of the harbor seals playing at the shoreline, the sea lions flopped over the beach rocks or the thick guano dripping down the cliffs – courtesy of the cormorants and pelicans who like to stop there and spread their wings to dry out. Either way, if I had $10 million to invest in a house on the Southern Californian coast I suspect I wouldn’t do it where you could only enjoy cocktails on your sea view balcony whilst wearing a gas mask 😉 …

Torrey Pines State Reserve at sunset was as spectacular as ever… the golden cliffs brought to life by the dying rays of the sun and reflected in an almost mirror image on the wet sand. A newly fledged family of Peregrin Falcons soared in the sky at the clifftop – mommy was busily teaching her chicks how to eat in mid-air… all rather idyllic for a sunset stroll…

Whilst we do love California for its wild beauty, quaint, trendy towns and its great hiking climate, we wondered, as we careered up behind a 13 mile tail back on I5 en route to Laguna Beach for the afternoon, how (stubbornly wearing our rose-tinted pro-Californian glasses) we had forgotten about the horrendous traffic, the ridiculously manic way of life and the general overcrowding in Southern California. Luckily, we screeched to a stop before joining the 2-hour queue to nowhere, u-turned and headed straight back in the direction of La Jolla again. By some miracle we managed to find a prized parking spot by Del Mar beach and braved the chilly breeze to absorb some sunny warmth behind the shelter of large beach rocks. We watched the crazy locals frolic in the frigid sea with their equally crazy dogs until we could take the cold no longer… ;-).

Time to head home to warmer climes …


1 reply »

  1. So enjoy your travel adventures. This one in particular as I’m going to San Diego with my daughter, Chrissy, in early July. Think we’re staying in the same hotel as you did as well. It’s a business trip for Chrissy and then a weekend to explore. Looking forward to the cool crisp air-maybe not the wet fog and traffic that I remember from my last visit! That’s what I remember myself from many years ago.

    Fun read as always.

    Liked by 1 person


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