Note from adelaine: Fred's travelling, so he emailed this in instead - excuse his frenchlish (french english) - I have not altered the terms that he is using and if you need clarifications just leave him a comment. Pardon also his ideas on the 'average Americans' too - doesn't seem all that complimentary but it is a part of his 'french' way of expressing his ideas that may sound awful but isn't actually so! Haha.. mm.. everyone knows shamu.. reallYyyy?
If you have the chance to go some days in South California, don’t forget to pass by San Diego !
San Diego is the 7th biggest city in the US with almost 4 Million inhabitant. This is of course a big city but a city which remains easy to enjoy. First of all, what a nice feeling to wake up the morning and not to be worried on the weather forecast…With 25mm rain per year, you have 90% of chance to have sun, blue sky and the beautiful light which goes with it.
Furthermore Californians are very nice and relax. Compare to « average Americans » they are respectful of their environment and take care of the quality of their food and beverages.
Being very close to Mexico (40 Km from Tijuana), there is a strong influence from this country in the city. Lots of Mexican restaurant, Tequila Bars… Spanish language is now becoming very usual in south California.
Speaking about foods, some recommendation if you are there :
Try a Mexican restaurant in the old city of San Diego, it is quite typical and traditional. If you prefer Seafood, go to the Fish market restaurant close to the Aircraft Carrier Museum.
As we are in the US, let’s talk about burgers. I am not a « burger fan » but I have been impressed by the quality of the burgers from the chain « Burger lounge». They prepare succulent « organic burgers », very tasty !
Now let’s talk about sightseeing. San Diego has a lot to offer, so a minimum of 3 Days is required. You can organize your trip in different ways but here are my recommendation :
First Day in Coronado Island and Balboa Park :
Coronada Island is located in the middle of the San Diego Bay. The Island is shared between a military Airport for the US Navy operation, and a Small city for rich Americans. This part is a Small Beverly Hills with a beautiful beach not crowded with a wonderful view on Cabrillo National Park. Coronado Hotel is the major attraction of the area. Here was filmed Marilyn Monroe in « Some like it hot ». you can have a very nice walk along the beach, so don’t miss it !
Balboa Park is located in the center of San Diego. Balboa Park shares its location with the San Diego Zoo, which is considered as one of the best in the world. The park was created for the Panama-California exposition in 1915-16, and is today the place of culture in San Diego. Several Museums and gardens surround the « Casa de Balboa » which is the main monument of the Park. Have relaxing time in Balboa Park , you will not be disappointed !
Second Day in Sea World :
To see « Shamu » for Americans is like to see the Eiffel tower for french people ! But who is Shamu ? Shamu is the name given by Sea World to their first killer whale. The first Shamu died 30 years ago, but the name remained (as trademark…), and is known by all young Americans, like « Flipper » the Dolphin, or « Lassie » the colley. Shamu is the star of this Park who was created in the late 60s in San Diego. Sea World is a mix of a Marine Zoo and attractions like Rollercoaster. It is interesting as you can see the marine life of the world in one day, but everything depends on your personal experience. I had the chance to see Sharks, Dolphins, turtles in snorkeling, and the experience for me is much better than to see them in an aquarium.The park is expensive, you have to spend minimum 100$ per person for your day…
Third Day in La Jolla and Cabrillo National Monument :
La Jolla is for California what Cannes is for South of France. A place to be seen for rich people, with luxurious houses, beautiful cars, Art Galleries…But La Jolla is as well known for the walk along the coast from where you can discover colonies of seals and sea lions. It is something unusual to walk along a coast and to hear fight of Sea Lions. The city itself has nothing really special but walk path close to La Jolla Cove is a nice walk to do if you have some time.
Cabrillo National Monument, is a monument located at Point Loma at the end of the San Diego bay. 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. So Mr Cabrillo is the equivalent of Christopher Columbus but for the Pacific coast. You have the possibility to visit a Museum explaining the history of this place. In addition you have the possibility to visit a very old light house, to enjoy a Small trek on the coast…The view from this part of the bay is awesome, with a 360° view with San Diego with mountains in background, Coronada Island, the Pacific Ocean… A must to see ! very close is located the US Navy cemetery of Fort Rosecrans. Make a stop on your way and feel how USA is respecting their veterans…
There are other things to discover in San Diego, but time is unfortunately not extendable. This is a first overview, but the best for you is to go and to do your own experience, you will not regret it !