DAY 8: San Diego- Beer and burning in Balboa Park

Our last proper day in San Diego is here and we have a lot to pack into it. We wake up early and jump onto the hotel shuttle that takes us to San Diego’s biggest park-Balboa.  In our enthusiasm of trying to squeeze a lot into today we actually arrive before any of the museums/galleries/miniature railroads are open so we make the sensible choice and rent a Surrey bike. This was Bowen’s introduction to driving in America and I have to say that she did remarkably well. We only have to get out and push it up a hill once and we spend a old hour exploring the park, it’s car parks and iced tea offerings.

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Returning the Surrey we take a stroll around the Spanish studios where a lot of artists work and sell their art. I didn’t come close to buying anything here, other than the Mad Hatter and Alice in Wonderland chairs but it was cool to walk around.

We then visited the Photography museum, the Timbuktu art museum and grabbed some Mexican food…we are still yet to find really great Mexican food. Next stop was the Rail museum, it is here that Bowen literally looses her mind with excitement. But on closer inspection (a quick peak through the door) it doesn’t look that thrilling…I wasn’t all that surprised, Bowen’s soul was crushed, so we give it a miss. Instead we go hang out in the Botanical garden and hunt for frogs at the lily pond-both of which are beautiful and I am pleasedto inform you that not a single butterfly was spotted. God I hate butterflies! The butterflies of Vienna can go die. Well I wouldn’t actually want them to die, just not flap up all in my grill!

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This park is really rather special. It has a huge number of things to see and do in it, it’s the cultural centre of San Diego blah blah blah- most importantly it looks exactly the area that King Louis and the monkeys lived in, in the Jungle Book. The buildings are insane as is the weather- gone are the clouds of yesterday, although that didn’t stop us from packing cardigans, and instead we have a blue sky filled with sun. I decided that it would be a good idea to catch some rays whilst Bowen explored the San Diego art museum and sit out in the sun, sans parasol for 10 minutes to catch up on some blog post writing. By the time Bowen returns with a novelty mug in hand I am burnt. Bloody Californian sun! When will I learn!

We are both feeling pretty relaxed and enjoying being outside so bust a grove from the square and hit up the Japanese Friendship Garden which is the highlight of the whole place. We skip over stepping stones, hang out with the giant koi fish, wind down the twisty paths to the stream and waterfalls below and leave feeling throughly zen.

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We then go to explore the sculpture garden and discover a bar so we head straight there!We buy two lethal beers and unknowingly crash a office party for a Hispanic advertising agency! There is a woman from the UK that works in the agency…let’s call her Rachel…and we fill her in on all things Brexit, Dairy Milk and rainy weather. We stay for another lethal beer, and spicy, spicy Bloody Mary for Bobo and chat to Diego from Urugay and generally bring the life to their party. We quickly realise that if we don’t move quickly now then we are going to miss the last shuttle back to our hotel so we power-walk away pretty damn fast and board the shuttle working in some time for strategic pees on route!

Feeling rather hungry we head back into Little Italy and find Cafe Gratitude- a vegan, mostly raw restaurant of dreams. We share the Mexican raw lasagne which is so delicious. Cashew cream is a thing of dreams. We also share the Soul food sampler. I feel we should have learnt from the Alabama experience last year and realised that we just don’t really like Southern food…man tempeh is weird, but at least there want any fried apples!

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Another busy day draws to a close and we could really spend a lot longer here in good old San Diego. There is still so much that we haven’t seen and would love to do but tomorrow calls for us to start the drive up the coast to San Fransisco. First stop Laguna Beach…STEPPPPPHEEEEN

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