I left my heart in.... San Diego!
I started off this blog post with the idea that I would recap quickly my 5 favourite things that I did in my 3 weeks on the West Coast of the USA. However, the more that I wrote, the more that I realised that I could do an entire blog post on just one single place, San Diego.
So, that's what this is going to be, you guys can explore my love of the other 4 things way later.
I left my heart in
There is a famous quote that most people post on one form of social media or another whenever they visit the West Coast, and that is "I left my heart in San Francisco".
That's all well and good, but I most definitely left my heart and a piece of myself after my time in San Diego.
Now, when I was in thew USA, I did a Contiki tour from LA - San Diego - Phoenix - Williams & the Grand Canyon - Las Vegas - Bass Lake & Yosemite and then finally, San Francisco. However, I had a week to kill before my tour started which I didn't want to spend entire in LA and a very good friend of mine pretty much begged me to spend that time in San Diego, so down I went.
I could not be any more greatful that I made that decision.
San Diego just swept me off my feet.
Now, for those of you that don't know, San Diego is down in the south of California, about an hour away from the boarder between America and Mexico. It was actually the first place in California that the Europeans settled in. In fact, for a very long time, San Diego was actually considered part of Mexico as it was under Spanish rule until it became part of the US in 1848.
Because of this fact, the entire city is swimming in Mexican influence.
Tacos, tequila and all things Mexican by itself is the formula for a very happy Tay, but mix that in with amazing beaches, killer nightlife and even a good ol' fashioned karaoke bar and you just can't go wrong!
I could ramble on about how much I loved San Diego for hours, but to give you all a good feel of my week there, I decided to narrow it down to the top three things about my stay that made it.
1. The Hostel and my hostel crew
A lot of people seem to have the opinion that where you stay doesn't really matter on a trip. You're not going to be in the room very much of the time anyway, and all hostels/hotels are the same at the end of the day.
This could not be further from the truth.
The hostel I stayed at was USA Hostels and was right in the middle of the main party/restaurant area of San Diego, the Gaslamp district and it absolutely made my stay there, the hostel was incredible, with a great vibe, great activities and clean rooms. But mostly because of the amazing crew that I met there, who will no doubt be my friends for life.
From pub crawls, to $1 drink nights (that I can barely remember), to free beach shuttles and day trips to Tijuana, this hostel made my time in San Diego so much easier and so much cheaper with their free breakfast and spaghetti family dinner nights and I couldn't be more greatful about that!
2. The Beaches
For an Australian girl to say that some of the best beaches she's ever seen were in San Diego is a BIG DEAL! But I fell in love with them instantly. La Jolla, Ocean Beach and Mission Beach, all so different but all so beautiful.
The first that I visited, and my favourite for sure, was La Jolla Be
ach. We went down there one morning after a big night out and spent our entire day snorkelling, sunbathing, eating ice cream and getting incredibly sunburnt! (or maybe that was just me...)
But it was breathtaking.
We decided to hire some snorkelling equipment, for only $10 all day, and explore the ocean world as well as the cove and the adorable town that sits on the bank. The sealife was incredible, with an array of fish of all species swimming just a stonesthrow off the beach. By far the highlight though were the sea lions, sitting on the rocks, barking for hours.
They could not have been less bothered by the tourists all around them either, giving us all the perfect opportunity to go and take some amazing photos of them, while of course, keeping a safe distance. Something not all tourists were smart enough to do.
After all of that, we got to watch about 20 seconds of the sunset as we hiked for the majority of the sunset, just trying to find a good place to watch the sunset. But you know what? That 20 seconds were still glorious.
3. Old Mexico
Old Mexico, also known as Old Town San Diego, took my breath away.
I could have spent hours walking around in here, which I did, but I could have spent hours more.
It is a little area of town that is dedicated to preserving the old Mexico heritage of San Diego. With blacksmith shops, a ton of little art/craft marketplace type stores, olive oil tastings, wine/tequila tastings and a hundred little restaurants, each with it's own beautiful personality and amazing food!
I was stunned by the authenticity and the vibe in Old Town and it is definitely one thing you NEED on your San Diego itinerary!
And, in case all of that stuff doesn't convince you that you need to get on a flight to San Diego in the next 24 hours. Scroll back up to the top of this post and spend 10 minutes looking at one of the lunches I had in good ol' Old Town.... You're welcome!