You guessed right, San Diego.
Just around that time of year, 20 years ago, I had three weeks to kill before starting a new job. A friend of mine was attending language school in San Diego and urged me to come and visit her. "It's simply gorgeous here. The beaches, the weather, the freedom!" She was raving.
I had never been to America and thought why the h*** not. In my imagination "the United States" were either busy cities full of McDonald's restaurants, yellow taxicabs and skyscraper buildings or countrysides with canyons, bonfires and boot'n'hat wearing folks, not much in-between ;-)
My friend's friend's boyfriend who was the only one who drove a car within their group was asked to help them pick me up at the airport. I'll never forget his kindness.
My first cliché already proved wrong as we pulled out of the airport area. San Diego was NOT flat! It had hills, very much like "The Streets of San Francisco"! The sun was setting, the evening sky turned into a bright pink, there were palm trees lining the street leading to the freeway, and I (thought I) could smell a hint of oranges, but I probably imagined that. Mind you, after a 10.5 hours' flight from Zurich, Switzerland to Atlanta, GA, and another 4.5 hours to the West Coast, your mind may start to play tricks on you.
Nevertheless, that city left a very strong first impression. I don't even have to close my eyes to recreate that atmosphere. I think it's safe to say it was love at first sight! And I hadn't even seen any "sights" yet!!
- Humphrey's Halfmoon Bay: I threw a phenomenal birthday party there - you may remember it because you were invited. Sadly it was only a fictional weekend, but I got really into it when I was writing, that's why it feels like it really happened. Some elements were inspired by a Christopher Cross / Air Supply concert I attended in real life. There's also a boat launch, always people coming and going, fun to watch. You may meet pelicans.
- Watching Seaworld's daily fireworks on any given day between Memorial and Labor Day from various spots like El Carmel Point @ Mission Beach or Fiesta Island. I hear they canceled the fireworks for this summer, though. Instead there is a new nighttime attraction called Electric Ocean.
- Having lunch at UTC's foodcourt watching people skating on the indoor ice rink.
- I have never been at the Hotel del Coronado aka the Del at Christmastime but I hear it's especially lovely. I have no doubt it is, and one day I want to visit around the holidays. But frankly, any season is a good season to go across the Coronado bridge and explore Coronado island and beach!
- On a gloomy, foggy day drive about 30 miles eastbound and you'll usually have your iconic Southern Californian sunny blue sky back. While you're there, enjoy some outlet shopping at Viejas in Alpine, it's a beautiful Native American Reservation.
- Having dinner at the beachfront seafood place Jake's Del Mar while watching a spectacular sunset.
- Attending a class at UCSD. It may sound ridiculous but this was a very rare place I felt like I belonged there and wasn't just a visitor. It's where I met Holly with whom I still try to meet every time I'm in CA.
- Watching sea lions at La Jolla Cove. Yes, they're smelly, but they're cute, and if you get tired of the artificial, glitzy beachfront areas - come here for the rugged bluffs and the salty ocean foam!
- If you grew up watching Top Gun over and over - you've got to visit the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier. There are a couple of actual movie locations in the San Diego area to check out, too.
- Being grateful for having your freedom and being alive - come to Mount Soledad, a special veterans memorial site. There is a plaque with a picture and name for every person who served and gave their life for their country. Around 9/11 I spent a lot of time up there. It has this special atmosphere.
I guess we all have our expectations and our ways on how to deal with them?!
I wanted to get married here:
Anyway, it's your turn now! Tell me about your favourite place on earth! Where is it? What makes it so special? Leave a comment down below or link up your own post using the linky-tool.
Next Thursday we're sharing tips and tricks on how to keep calm / cool this summer. Sign-up here.
June 22 we'll be talking about Foods and Places and how they seem to belong together. Think "clam chowder in bread bowl always makes me think of San Francisco" or the other way round: "New York? Street cart hotdogs!" Here's the link to the FB event.
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