March, 2008: San Diego - Part I

Exploring South and West

San Diego

In March, 2008 David and Karalee traveled south from Vancouver to San Diego for a three-day holiday. The goal was to see some sunny blue skies and explore the San Diego area. While there were some blue skies, San Diego had some cloudy times while we were there, balanced by a spectacular last day with warm temperatures and sunshine. What we really needed was a break from everyday life and time together as a couple. That's what we got on our three-day trip.

David and Karalee at the international area of Balboa Park

We stayed in the Little Italy area of San Diego. In the mid 19th century the area was settled by Italian immigrants. Our hotel had historic photographs showing Italian immigrants who ran a grocery store at the exact address that the hotel occupies today. The area was isolated by highway construction in the 1960's, but it's been restored and has a great feel today. There are Italian restaurants and delis with great food, along with Italian-style coffee shops.

Le Pension Hotel in Little Italy

Entrance to Little Italy just around the corner from Le Pension

Beautiful tiles on the supports for the Little Italy sign

Mimmo's Italian Restaurant where we had dinner

The British Princess Pub and Grill is right on the corner of India and Date where Little Italy starts

Our first morning we headed out in the car and followed the waterfront to the south. We passed pedestrian walkways and the San Diego Convention Center. As we continued south we passed numerous naval facilities. On the water we could see many naval ships tied up to the enormous docks. San Diego is a critical base of US Naval Operations. All types of ships, including nuclear aircraft carriers, are based in San Diego. After an hour of driving, we discovered a group of marinas and parks at the very end of San Diego harbor.

Beach off Marine Parkway far to the south of San Diego

Picture of San Diego with Coronado to the South and Downtown to the North

The inner harbor of San Diego is protected by the island of Coronado. The arial picture above shows San Diego looking from the south towards the north. If you ignore the reflections (the picture was hanging in a real estate office window in Coronado), you can see Point Loma on the lower left with Coronado across from the point protecting the entrance to the harbor.

Beach House and Pool at Hotel del Coronado

If you are going to be a tourist on Coronado, you need to visit the Hotel del Coronado. Built around the start of the 20th century, it has a classic feel of a gentleman's club. It's a popular spot, located right on the Pacific Ocean with miles of beach stretching in front and out to the west of the hotel.

Garden and Rooms at Hotel del Coronado

Peaked Roof that looks like a lighthouse of Hotel del Coronado

Karalee Enjoys the Views from Coronado Beach

David near the ferry landing on Coronado with downtown San Diego in the background

We drove around Coronado, visited the shopping center next to where the ferries from downtown San Diego arrive, and then drove across the spectacular Coronado Bay Bridge, which has views into the eastern and western bays of San Diego Harbor. From there we drove past downtown, past the airport, and headed out to Point Loma. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, believed to be Portuguese, was the first European to set foot on the west coast of the United States. He landed at Point Loma.

Point Loma Lighthouse

The first lighthouse on Point Loma was lit on November 15, 1855. Because the lighthouse was located at the top of the cliffs on Point Loma, it often could not be seen in foggy conditions. On March 23, 1891 the lighthouse was decommissioned as a new light was located at the bottom of the cliffs. The original lighthouse is beautifully preserved. We got to go inside and climb the stairs to see the original light.

Lighthouse Stairway

Actual Light at Point Loma

Cabrillo Statue at Point Loma

North Island Naval Air Station, Coronado, as seen from Point Loma

San Diego Bay from Point Loma

Next to Point Loma is the Ft. Rosencrans War Memorial Cemetery

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