We awoke to a heavy fog hanging over the city that was soon burned through revealing a blue sky and bright sun. We headed downtown on the trolley, which is so easy and cheap to use. $5.00 gets you an all day ticket good for most trolleys and buses in the city. The trolley will take you up the coast and down the coast right to the border! We didn’t go to the border because we just weren’t interested in going to Tijuana this trip, and we were advised at the hotel to not bother as we would find everything in the Old Town that we would find in Tijuana without the travel, hassle or possible problems with personal security. We hopped on the trolley and jumped off at the Santa Fe station, built in the Spanish tradition this station pops you a few blocks from the ferry to Coronado, a few blocks from the mall and a few blocks from the Gaslamp district. We happened to be mapless so took an instinctive turn to the left and in a few blocks were smack dab in the middle of the Gaslamp district, while this historic district is dotted throughout by the obvious; it is also full of funky shops, amazing restaurants and has a hip and cool attitude. We stopped at a small cafe to have a breakfast mimosa and watch the city wake up, this is really how any Monday morning should begin! http://www.gaslamp.org/
A wobbly few blocks walk and we land on the Embarcadero http://www.thebigbay.com/ . Also known as the Big Bay there are 34 miles of boardwalk boasting incredible views of the bay, tacky souvenir shops, a plethora of restaurants, marine museums, an outstanding collection of public art and views of some seriously swanky yachts! It was an amazing way to spend a sunny day as we sauntered down the boardwalk with the sun on our faces, the salty taste of ocean on our lips and our camera at the ready. The shops at Seaport are fun to check out and it is a great spot for pictures as there is a cute bridge and little mini lake so stop here for holiday snaps! The collection of public art is truly outstanding and there are more installations in the upcoming months. One of my favourite sections was the Port of San Diego’s Military Heritage Public Art. Artworks include the USS San Diego (CL-53) Memorial, Battle of Leyte Gulf Memorial, Military Tribute to Bob Hope which is an audio display, Aircraft Carrier Memorial, and Homecoming sculpture, a seven-foot bronze sculpture depicting the joyous reunion of a sailor, his wife and child upon return from deployment. San Diego truly is a military city and you see the presence of the military absolutely everywhere outside of the Old Town. Normally I wouldn’t be jazzed about anything military but the art really spoke to me about the human face of war and military deployment; the loss, the sacrifice and the fear. The Aircraft Carrier Museum Midway Magic is an unbelievable sight, this ship is a city on the sea and you will be blown away by its vastness! From there it is a few steps to the ferry to Coronado Island.
The ferry over to the island leaves every 1/2 hour during the day and the last ferry is around 9pm. It is a quick ride over, about 15 minutes and is a great way to see the bay. Coronado has not always been the playground of the rich, in fact it wasn’t developed until 1886 and has actually been privately owned! The ‘North Island’ was sold to the US government in 1917, and the US Army, Marines, and the Navy have made it home. North Island was the site for the first seaplane flight, the first mid-air refueling and the first non-stop transcontinental flight. Charles Lindbergh flew from North Island on the first leg of his celebrated New York to Paris flight in 1927. Again you will see and feel the huge military presence on the island as a good number of high ranking officials make Coronado home. Jump off the ferry and you will be greeted by restaurants and shops ranging from high end fare to greasy burgers. There are loads of tourist shops and a paved boardwalk great for biking, walking and roller blading. Wade through the blast of tourist traps and you will find Orange Avenue, this a mile long main street and lead you right to the sandy shore line of the Pacific Ocean. Along the way you will find Coronado Brewery, loads of eclectic shops boasting fashion for your home, cottage and self! Darek wasn’t in a beer mood this trip, but I tell you, you could do a whole week of testing and tasting. There are tours you can take that will show you the most popular San Diego breweries, but I think it would be more fun stumble around town trying out on your own schedule. We did though make a stop at the famous Beach N Diner for MooTime ice cream. Iconic 50’s style diner slinging hash for breakfast and serving up old style floats and sundaes, it was a delicious treat to fuel our journey forward. http://www.nadolife.com/beachndiner/index.html Our walk to the beach took us past the stunning Hotel del Coronado, a beautiful resort sitting right plunk on the beach! I would love to stay there sometime with the crashing waves whispering me to sleep every evening and the ocean as my playground every day. The beach was full of joggers, walkers, surfers and sun worshipers the beach itself is closed off at the on end as military land begins, but really there is a tonne of space to play on a sunny day! Coronado was a great side trip and it is easy to spend a whole day on the beach and picking through the shops and eating and drinking your way along Orange Avenue. http://www.coronadovisitorcenter.com/CVC/index.html