California dreaming in San Diego

The California sunshine kissed my pale Scandinavian skin. What a wonderful feeling. What a great start of a fabulous day. I closed my eyes and smiled as I daydreamed about all the things I wanted to do when exploring San Diego.

It was a Saturday morning. I checked in at the chic Urban Boutique Hotel in Little Italy, a former Italian fishing neighborhood. According to the receptionist, there was a Saturday farmers’ market worth checking out – only a few blocks away. I was in for a treat!

There were more than 150 vendors at the market, offering fresh produce, meat, eggs, crafts, plants, clothing and more. I bought myself some freshly baked cookies, a fruity beverage, a bright orange shirt with a fun design (a guitar-playing owl), and three small photos of palm trees, sand and sea – to take home as a reminder of sunny California.

After visiting the market, I went for a walk in the Waterfront Park and continued to the San Diego Bay. As I wandered around while taking in all the sights, I got passed by joggers dressed in trendy workout clothes and skateboarders practicing their latest tricks.

One of my former coworkers – who is a San Diego native – had given me a list of things to do while visiting her hometown. “You have to go to Coronado Island”, she told me. “The Coronado beach is beautiful”. I trusted her opinion and couldn’t wait to explore it. A short ferry ride later, and I had traveled back in time. Back to the 50’s. Coronado Island -a gorgeous resort island – looked like the American dream.

I spent some time window-shopping in the cute boutiques in Coronado Ferry landing, and bought myself a delicious cupcake from Coronado Cupcakery.

Headed towards the beach, I strolled along the main road and enjoyed the tranquil atmosphere.

The beach was as beautiful as I had imagined – or even more. I pictured myself staying at the sophisticated Victorian Hotel del Coronado, and imagined how romantic it would have been to spend a weekend at the resort, just me and my significant other. Lost in daydreams, I dipped my feet in the refreshing water. The soft sand felt great between my toes, and I couldn’t resist stepping further into the water. I went as far as I could without getting my clothes wet. At least that was my intention – until I got soaked by a crashing wave.

The next day was spent visiting the urban cultural Balboa Park. I didn’t visit the world-famous San Diego Zoo, which I regret and have added to my bucket list for whenever I take my second trip to San Diego. I did, however, visit all the different gardens and the botanical building. I have this obsession with plants and flowers – and I realized I had a new-found obsession with California as well.

Late afternoon and I was done admiring the plants – and ready to eat some, instead. I had heard good things about Sol Cal Cafe and went there to try their vegetarian tacos. What a wise decision. What a plate full of healthy deliciousness!

The last day was spent shopping at the Westfield Horton Plaza, a massive outdoor mall with chain retailers, department stores, casual restaurants and a movie theater. I wanted to buy myself a nice dress, because the next day would be the last day of my solo trip – but not the last day of traveling. I was finally going to see my friends again. And not just anywhere. I bought myself a fabulous, sparkly dress. And now, I was ready to pack my bags and take the bus to another exciting destination. I was ready for Las Vegas!

Written by Kristene Irene

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