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Category Archives: USA

Point Loma and Fort Rosecrans, San Diego

If you have read any of my previous blog posts then you will know that I am particularly partial to the West Coast of America, particularly San Diego and the surrounds.

So I wanted to share some pictures of Point Loma and Fort Rosecrans; the military base in San Diego. I went there this year on a warm and windy day, and visited the thousands of war graves of the men who died to protect America’s liberty. I learned about how the men would have been watching from lookouts in the rugged cliffs to spot for Japanese ships after Pearl Harbor, and I wandered up and down the weathered shoreline of the area.

It was beautiful.

My sister and I  spent a while climbing in the rock pools and fishing in the shallow dips of rock to see what we could find. She is particularly animal minded so was far more patient than me as she watched the crabs and the little fish, and I moved away and found a smooth rock to sit on and watch the shore. It’s where I am my happiest and most relaxed.

I love listening to the water lapping against the stone; slowly eroding it to new shapes and sizes like a person making something out of clay. The wind blew and I thought over what I had learned and cast my mind back to how it must have been for the soldiers who once lived there. nice for a visit, but pretty bleak for life.

If you are ever in the are, take the trip to Point Loma. The bay curves round and you can see Tijuana across the water. The area is calming and still, and a great visit.

I Want To Be A Part of It…. New York New York!

Slightly different post today.

I have a trip to New York to book in the next couple of months, and I really need your advice as to where is good  to go.

I want to know where I should be heading straight for, where the eclectic little eateries are and what landmarks are totally overrated. I’m only going to be there for a week, so I would love to know where to avoid, where to head to and what to do to fill my exciting few days!

Of course when I come home I will give you the full low down on how I found the city.

Help me out people!!

Torrey Pines State Reserve

I have spent a lot of time in San Diego, but I wouldn’t go back there if I didn’t love it. I use it as a base to see some other places, but when I was there this year my sister and I decided that we would actually see the area around Del Mar and what our adopted home had to offer us. My sister had been in the country for three months and therefore had built a daily life there, doing nothing all day except embracing the slightly crazy Californian love of exercise.

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So she decided that she would take me to explore Torrey Pines State Reserve. I love cliffs and the beach, but am not a fan of walking. “it’s not far” she said “and once you get to the top, its spectacular. YOU WILL LOVE IT”.
After about two minutes of walking up a steep incline I had had enough. It was hot, yet people were putting me to shame running up the hill in shell suits, of cycling up at breakneck speed. I didn’t think I would make it, and I wasn’t sure my Travel Insurance covered death by too much sweat.
After a handful of pit stops where we ‘stopped for a little breathe’ we made it to the top. And she hadn’t lied to me after all.

You could see down the coast for miles, and the ocean looked so pretty and calm at the bottom of the steep cliffs. I was in paradise. Why would I ever want to go home? Luckily the tide was low so we could clamber down the cliff paths to the beach at the bottom. My sister pointed out the old cliff paths that had eroded away thanks to the sea, and we meandered down the way to the beach at the bottom. We went and had a poke around flat rock, laughing at the kids chasing the crabs and just enjoying being carefree and happy as we chased the waves and ran back the safety of the cliffs. The tide came in as wound our way along the shore and back to the car, serene and calm after spending a pain free morning actually doing exercise.

If you ever get the chance and the weather is nice then don’t avoid taking the trip. It’s free and its beautiful, and you will really feel at peace when you stand at the top of the cliffs and marvel at the wonders of Mother Nature.

My Favourite Destination, It HAS to Be La Jolla.

I’ll let you into a secret. Yes I would love to travel across the world and I have a great big list of places that I would love to go to, but if you told me that I could only travel to one place for the rest of my life (like the film Groundhog Day) then I would choose it without a second thought.

I love La Jolla. My family live in Del Mar, and I love taking the drove down the coastal road to the town, with the sea to my right and Torrey Pines State Reserve ahead of me. Roof down, sun out, this is my place. So La Jolla would win, hands down.

All three of my cousins now attend La Jolla Country Day, and they study so close to the beach that my little green eyed monster comes out every now and again. I studied near a train track, but that was about it!

So La Jolla is the place that makes me happy. I think I could live there forever; just sitting on the cliffs and watching the world go by. Poking around in the rock pools and watching the children splash in the water; watching the pelicans in their formations as they glide through the air, so delicately. My uncle once told me that pelicans only travel in prime numbers, something I knew to be a fib by the look on his face, but nonetheless when I see them coming I always count them.

My favourite thing is to walk down to the sea wall and walk out to sea; the wall doubles back around on a little beach where seals lay and bask in the sun. Its mesmerising and I could watch them for hours. I might be easily pleased, but there is something so serene about the place and I feel relaxed when I know I am on my way. And I always cry when I have to leave California. Don’t get me wrong, I like London but if I could never sit on the cliffs again I think a piece of me would be lost.

My grandfather used to visit my Great Auntie in California before she died, and they would always make their ritual trip to the The Crab Catcher. It’s a fantastic restaurant that looks out over the bay, and they serve lots of delicious fresh seafood, caught that day. The soft shell crab is their speciality, and it’s well worth a visit. It’s delicious.

If you are in the area and stuck for something to do then you won’t regret making the trip to La Jolla. If you like to scuba the waters are often still enough, but if you are like me and just seek a little respite from a busy day then walk a while till you reach the cliff tops, take a seat and relax there. The heat will warm your bones and the lapping of the sea against the rocks is a sound that can so nothing but to calm you. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.

The City Of Angels, Californ-I-Ay!

So I went to LA. Los Angeles, the City of Angels, The Big Smoke….. Never appealed to me but I thought seeing as I was over there I should probably make the effort, and I actually ended up seeing the city twice, by accident. The second time was by air which was an experienced, as my flight home through Chicago was cancelled and I had to get an ‘American Eagle’ (more like a sparrow!) back to LA to make a flight to get me home to London. (luckily I had travel insurance for that one; I had been toying with not bothering “bad stuff just doesn’t happen!”)

But the first was planned, and me and my sister took the car and drove the Pacific Coast Highway to the city. We went first to Hollywood, then Venice Beach, then Santa Monica Boulevard, followed by a drive home through the Orange County, spotting Laguna Beach, The Hills, Redondo Beach and some of the other places we remembered from the films.

Hollywood

I loved the idea of Hollywood, thinking of Marilyn Monroe and Greta Garbo and the BratPack, but in real life I spent a few hours feeling uncomfortable in a seedy location, having people talk directly to my boobs. I’m glad that I’ve been, but I won’t be rushing back.

Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier

Venice Beach had a really bohemian feel and we ran along the sand and dodged the roller bladers heading for us. We then walked the few miles to Santa Monica Pier, which was my favourite place in the whole road trip. There was a general air of fun, and we felt happy and serene as we played the pier games and dined on chips from a cone.

While we were there we did go to Universal Studios and Disney, but I’m going to cover them in another post as there is just too much going on with that. I will say that Disney is a whole other world and I think magic really does happen there.

Orange County

On our way home we drove down the Pacific Highway as far as Camp Pendleton and then got on the freeway. We had lunch at the end of Newport Pier which was absolutely delicious, and I looked out for dolphins as my sister watched the surfers perfecting their sport.

I think I’d like to live in the OC……

48 Hours in ….. Palm Springs, CA

If you have forty-eight hours to spend relaxing, then you should take the trip to Palm Springs. We went because we were tired of the ‘June Gloom’ over San Diego, and wanted to make people think we had seen a little sun in our trip to see the family in the States!

So we drove inland to Palm Springs, and we weren’t disappointed. The drive took around two hours and I was fascinated to see how the landscape changed from the sea scenery in SD, getting more and more sandy and arid as we drove through Temecula, Sun City and the Moreno Valley, finally ending up in the resort, Rancho Las Palmas.

It was gorgeous. Not far from Coachella (the location of a festival which I seriously want to go to next year. This year my cousins informed me that their friends saw our very own Ellie Goulding, not to mention Brandon Flowers, Wiz Khalifa and Lauryn Hill. They weren’t allowed to go) you really are out in the desert, and you can feel it. Its warm and arid, so we found the hotel room and headed down to the pool. We swum til lit got dark and went and got some food, taking to bed pretty early.

And there was an earthquake in the night! Nothing massive, but enough to wake us all up and give our Aunt a call to let her know we were all safe and sound.

The next day we got up and did more of the same. the resort that we were staying in had an attraction called the Lazy River, which is a slow-moving rapid that you took a rubber ring and relaxed in. the water propelled you round and round, and we spent hours there just laying and catching the rays. I’m so pale that I couldnt even sit out in the heat of the day, so while my family went round and round on their rubber rings, I read a book under the safety of the parasol. We did this for two days, and then came home!

Palm Springs isn’t especially exciting; there isn’t anything to see really and if you are after an adrenaline packed few days then it wont suit you. in the winter you can go up into the hills and ski, but I love it in the summer. There’s nothing like a break from the busyness, and its SUCH a relax!!

In light of the earthquake and the fact that it is so hot out there and us Brits aren’t used to it, I would recommend taking travel insurance as America is so pricey for health bills. I went with Swiftcover travel insurance as I had limited funds, but I think that different insurance companies offer different benefits. If you plan to hit the powder on your trip then make sure that your policy covers ski injury in case you are as accident prone as me. I can just imagine falling off one of the ski lifts and doing myself a damage :)

48 Hours In…. San Francisco

When people think about a city break in America you often hear the popular ones being bandied about… Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, Miami. Fine, they all sound great but I don’t think they will ever be a patch on one of my favourite cities in the States… San Francisco.

I know I love California and everything it has to offer and so I am biased, but San Francisco is really fantastic.

We got there, tired after having to circle the airport for a further hour because of maintenance issues, but after seeing Tiffany across the block we soon perked up. Cue an afternoon of shopping, with a stop at the Cheesecake factory for refreshments. I’ve never spent so much money in such a short amount of time and I loved it!

The next morning we head down to Pier 39, booked tickets for Alcatraz (come on, you HAVE TO!) and then poodled around Fishermans Wharf, visiting the Aquarium and the other delights that the area has to offer. We then went back and boarded the boat to the most ominous island in the world… Alcatraz.

It was brilliant. The heat scorched as we made our way up the island and around the penitentiary, seeing where the criminals who were too bad for mainland prisons had eaten, slept and worked out till their sentence was over. The wind blew through the corridors and the clouds darkened until we felt suppressed, and that it was time to leave.

That evening we visited a restaurant that had only garlic dishes on the menu, and made a trip to Lombard Street which is supposed to be the steepest street in the world. We had a final snack in the roof cafe in the hotel taking the time to peer out at the Golden Gate Bridge, and then made the journey to the airport.

Make sure that if you are in California that you take the time to visit San Francisco. I only regret not having more than forty eight hours in such a wonderfully chic city.

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