What I Missed in San Diego ~ 3

The California Coast is supposed to be beautiful and according to friends I have in La Jolla, nothing beats that little section. In Spanish, La Jolla means “the jewel,” an apt name for a pretty, Mediterranean-style seaside town – sitting on cliffs flanking the ocean.

La Jolla

La Jolla visitors like to shop and eat in the nice restaurants, some of them with lovely ocean views. There’s a lot for the active visitor, too, including ocean kayaking, tide pool-hopping, surfing at Windansea Beach, biking or running along the waterfront.


Coronado Island is a little strip of land  that isn’t really an island but a peninsula – a fact that doesn’t get in the way of the name most people use for it. Whatever you call it, it’s on a slender strip of land between the San Diego Bay and the Pacific Ocean, barely a few blocks wide. What it lacks in size it makes up for in fun, with a beach that’s been named among the best in the country, a classic hotel and a compact, lively little downtown. Coronado’s laid-back temperament makes a nice break from the busier parts of San Diego across the water.


What is a visit to a ocean front location without a harbor cruise. It’s almost as important as that trolley tour to get the layout. Water plays a prominent role in San Diego. Downtown faces it. Point Loma and Coronado surround the large, calm bay. There’s a lot to see along its shores and much of it is best explored by boat.

Everyone love the views of downtown you can get from a San Diego harbor cruise, but you’ll also get a peek at the Pacific Fleet – and a harbor cruise is the best way to get a feel for just how tall the Coronado Bridge really is. The bay is well protected and the water seldom rough.

The cruises make two out-and-back trips, one toward Point Loma and the other past the Coronado Bridge, the Navy Seals Training Base and military ships. The boat stops at the dock in between, making it easy for you to take just one leg or both. Opt for a brunch or dinner cruise and you can see it all while having a nice meal.


The first European to set foot in California was the Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, who stepped on shore near this spot in 1542. He’s the guy they made this statue to look like – and named the park after, Cabrillo National Monument. We don’t know if Cabrillo climbed all the way up to the top of this promontory or not, but people who make it up here nowadays get some of the best views of San Diego, looking across the Bay and back toward downtown.

Besides the great views, there’s a historic lighthouse, a visitor center, some nice tide pools down below and good whale-watching in the winter.

What I Missed in San Diego ~2

So much to see. My first post ran out of space after only 2 attractions! What else is there to see?


Well, one of the top things to do in San Diego is to go to the beach. I’m not a beach lover unless it’s in conjunction with some activity like snorkeling or exploring tide pools but all I heard from the wait staff while I was in San Diego was…go to the beach. Big waves coming in. 10 ft. plus! If there were 10 ft. waves I bet there were surfers. And if there were surfers I bet there were photo ops! So go to the beach has just landed on my list.


The San Diego Zoo is way up on my list, a real “Must see”. I love zoos and this is supposed to be one of the best. The San Diego Zoo is top-rated everywhere, consistently included on various top zoo lists and active in animal conservation. The San Diego Zoo put its first animal on display in 1916, a Kodiak bear named Caesar. Today, the San Diego Zoo is a far cry from the zoos of yesteryear where animals were simply displayed in cages. Instead, you’ll find them in the most natural settings possible, at the same time giving visitors the opportunity to see them up close.


Another Must See for me is the San Diego Zoo’s sister park, San Diego Zoo Safari Park. I haven’t been yet but I bet it’s on the same idea as Disney’s Animal Kingdom, one of my all time favorite places to be.  Lots of large animals live in the same big, open areas here – predators kept away from prey, but otherwise much as they would in their natural habitat.

The highlight is the safari-style tour, which may be the closest many of us will ever come to seeing these critters in the wild. Besides that, you’ll find lots of other animals also in natural environments, including a pride of lions.


Balboa park is a haven for photographers so you know that’s on my list. Originally built for temporary use during the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego, Balboa Park boasts buildings beautiful enough to be considered attractions in themselves, especially if you’re a photographer. They’re surrounded by trees, lawns and fountains, but that’s only the beginning.

America’s largest urban cultural park has more than 25 museums and attractions, from the astronomical to the zoological. In Balboa Park, you can take a walk, ride a bike, see a Tony Award-winning play, ride a carousel or go to the San Diego Zoo. With 8 gardens and 15 museums to choose from, you could be busy here for days.

Balboa Park is east of downtown San Diego.

What I Missed in San Diego

There was so much I wanted to see in San Diego. But at least I know for the future that there won’t be any sight – seeing time on the annual meeting trip. I’ll need to “Tack-on” vacation either before or after. Could be worth it as the flight will be paid for by the company.

So what did I miss and why should I plan a trip back.


One big reason is Sea World. It’s in the Mission Bay part of San Diego so it would have been easy to get to from the resort or the Hyatt. Everyone knows that Sea World is home to Shamu or a succession of Shamu’s as all the performimg Orca’s are named Shamu at Sea World. But Sea World has more to it than that. There are indoor exhibits too besides the shows and in recent years a child’s water play area was added.


And while we are thinking about sea life, why not stop off at the Birch Aquarium. Birch Aquarium is north of San Diego in La Jolla. It’s not as big as some of the other aquariums in California or as flashy as the big sea-themed park down the road, but instead just right, filled with interesting exhibits and home to leafy sea dragons like the one above, creatures so improbable they look more like something from a children’s book than from the ocean.

At the Birch Aquarium, you can watch the creatures being fed, touch some in an outdoor tide pool and get mesmerized gazing into a 70,000-gallon kelp forest. But our favorites are the sea horses. And their cousins the sea dragons.


Still focused more on the kids we can’t skip Lego Land. I saw some of this in Orlando and hear one is opening in the northeast. It’s certainly someplace to visit at least once. Legoland theme park takes its inspiration from Lego toys, those cute little bricks that snap together to build all kinds of fun things. It’s one of several Legolands worldwide.

You’ll find life-sized traffic cops, dinosaurs and a dizzying collection of other creations made from Lego blocks all over the place, but they’re just the decoration that surrounds the park’s rides. At Legoland, little ones will find rides just for them, with age limits that keep the bigger kids from running all over them – and the adults get a kick out of all the great big Lego creations.

The adjoining Sea Life Aquarium is nice, but if you’re visiting Sea World or the Birch Aquarium during your trip, you don’t need to see this one, too. (Of course I probably would want to. )

Legoland is north of San Diego and the most practical way to get there is by driving.

Let’s see what else I missed….to be continued

Photo of the Week ~ 4

The Votes and shares , comments and hits have been tallied.  The “View’s Choice” for week 4 is Morning from the 9th Floor. Once again my favorite was overlooked  and I had 2 favorites this week!

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The photo for yesterday is still in camera. I should get it posted today.

Thanks for voting. 🙂 I look forward to “Tally Day” every week;


You can’t Escape Karma

The pictures from my phone camera finally got here so now I have a story to tell.

First, a little background.  In a way I think it’s payback for something that happened 30-40 years ago. I had a chance to go to a seminar in Vancouver , BC and they let us bring a guest. I invited my mother.

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Now my mother is a feisty little thing and when we were returning to the hotel one night she walked into a wall. Let me explain. The hotel had a large wall of glass. The doors were also glass and opened in the center. My Mom wears glasses and in the dark it was hard to see where the glass wall stopped and the glass door began. The doors opened for me  but my Mom walked into the glass wall…and bounced! Like a cartoon character she bounced backward several steps. I should have said.. “Are you all right?” but instead I laughed. I laughed so hard I thought I’d cry. Bad daughter!


With that history I think the universe caught up to me on this San Diego trip.

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As many of you know, New England had a “blizzard” Tuesday night. (It kind of fizzled but they still called it a blizzard). My Southwest flight was out of Providence on Wednesday morning. Not knowing what the driving would be like I left home very early for the 30 minute drive.

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I witnessed a 3 car accident right in Providence but other than that the drive was uneventful. I was in the gate area by 9:30 am for an 11:30 flight which was then delayed to 12:15 and then 12:45 and then 1:15. About then the desk attendants  began rebooking connections for Fort Myers, Fort Lauderdale, Salt Lake City, Denver, every destination except San Diego.

When I was asked I was told the San Diego connection was running behind so I’d have 30 minutes to get to my gate after landing in Baltimore. No need to rebook a new connection.

Except when we landed in Baltimore I was being paged. I was the last passenger and they were holding my flight. I was stuck in a middle seat for a 5 hour plus flight. Just what I didn’t want. Luckily my seatmates were very nice and the flight passed pleasantly.


Arriving in San Diego I had to let everyone off ahead of me before I could make it to the rear of the plane for my carry-on. Finally, Back pack on and carry-on in front of me I made my way down the  aisle and out the plane door to the jetway except something snagged my backpack and I was stopped dead. My momentum wanted to carry me forward and as I tried to catch myself my foot slammed into the crack between the plane and the jetway and it was all over.

Woman tripping over a rug

I landed flat on my face.


Southwest employees came running. One had my sneaker, one had my arm and helped me sit down. They wanted to know if I’d hit my head, was I hurt and so on. I’m sure they saw lawsuit floating above my head. All I wanted to do was get on my way.


When the dust settled and I recovered from my embarrassment and took stock of my injuries I did have a bump on my head, floor burns and bruises on my left arm and right knee, a wrenched back and a groin pull. Walking was quite a challenge for a few days.

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I’m happy to report that I am on the mend and moving a bit better. And I feel this should have paid off any bad karma for laughing at my mother’s mishap all those years ago.