California Dreaming- Day Three, Carlsbad and Downtown San Diego

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July is basically over, and my trip to San Diego was one month ago, but that is no excuse not to write the final installment in my California Dreaming saga. Actually, since it’s Thursday, this could technically be considered a throwback post if I wanted it to be, and therefore it shall! So without further ado…

My travel diary conclusion

My final full day in San Diego was definitely a special one because I was able to spend the whole day with Michelle!!! While I definitely enjoyed exploring bits and pieces of the San Diego area, being able to wander around with a close friend my final day in town was the perfect champagne topper to a fantabulous birthday treat! It was a beautiful and sunny day that Saturday, as I got into my car headed for the 5 and Carlsbad, CA. The last time I saw Michelle was in March at Alice’s Tea Cup, our favorite catchup spot, before she flew out to San Diego to become a substitute teacher and all around helper for her sister, who was expecting her first child.

It was so good to see her and immediately pick up where we left off three months ago. First up on our itinerary was breakfast at a nearby cafe. The trio of pancakes, drip coffee and complimentary donuts were delicious as we chatted on the outdoor patio.  We headed to the house after brunch, packed up our beach bags and headed for Moonlight Beach. It may have taking me two whole days to make it to the beach, but the wait was worth it. After fighting for a parking space in front of a boathouse that was nestled in between the neighboring houses, we made our way to the ocean!

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Great day, don’t you think!

We laid out, with our magazines, hats and sunglasses and enjoyed the day. There was a group of guys playing some sort of beach game we’d never heard of behind us, an athletic group of girls and guys playing beach ping pong and football in front of us, and two teens attempting to paddle an inflatable kiddie pool in the water (i kid you not). The activity around us, the sun shining on us, and the great conversation between us made it a heavenly afternoon.

  Beach days are exhausting and before we headed home, there was one thing I had to do. Get In-N-Out Burger! Which just so happened to be right by the freeway exit.

Not gonna lie, it was a bit of a let down :/ I know, I know any California readers, In-N-Out is a delicious SoCal institution! How dare you!!! But for me, once you have Shake Shack…it’s hard to find another good fast food style burger that lives up to the Shackburger. *in Forrest Gump voice* And that’s all I have to say about that.

The final event on my San Diego itinerary was a trip to the baseball park! (Whenever I go out of town in the summer, I find that a good day at the ballpark is an inexpensive and fun way to get the flavor of the city I’m visiting.) Not only were the Padres playing at home, but it was Free Fedora Day!!! I got peanuts and beer, sat in the same section as the “Padres” and Padres Gorilla (still don’t get it) and chatted with my seat mate, who was in town from Chicago with her husband and two sons, about the ballparks we’d been to. (for me it’s Wrigley, Orioles, the new Yankee stadium, and now Petco Park). Michelle and I sang the National Anthem, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and sang along with Phil Collins’ “Hold On” (which featured the Padres Gorilla on the drums) during the 7th inning stretch.

Looking back on Day 1, 2 and 3 of my epic California Dreaming trip, I’m proud of how much I was able to squeeze in! A bittersweet return to NYC for sure, but I CANNOT wait to make a return trip in the very near future! Until then adios San Diego!

“In West Philadelphia born and raised” ??? (probs not lol)

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Well even while my trip to the City of Brotherly Love was many moons ago, I do believe that it deserves a post fitting to the amazing experience that I had there with my chica Jassmine.

I doubt I’m the only one who loves getting to see new friends in their childhood element. How they interact with family, hometown friends, or even navigating their public transit systems and downtown areas, it illuminates another side of the person you consider to be an important part of your life. Seeing Jassmine in Philly opened my eyes to her urban character, her rooted and somewhat earthy perspective, and her ties to family and friends and how she fits into her family’s makeup. That’s a lot to see in just two days huh? But even though it may seem unrealistic, I have to admit that I think I was able to start to chip away at her essence and what makes her, HER. 🙂

I love being a tourist in a new place, especially if I was there once before  but was unable or unwilling to leave my hotel room. (haha) So, in semi-lackadaisacal fashion here is a small photo diary of my wanderings through Philadelphia with Jassmine and Derrick 🙂

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My first photo of Philly waiting outside in the courtyard by the bus station.

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Waiting for the train, making my “Philly face” with Jassmine

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Downtown Philly: City Hall, Ben Franklin Statue, another great building

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Trying to hold up this falling domino piece, the iconic LOVE sculpture (thought it would be bigger), playing in the fountain by the sculpture (it was hot and muggy)

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Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell (again thought it would be bigger, and ACCESSIBLE, guess not)

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Having fun with Rocky Balboa, getting some Fro-yo, and a picture with the Phillies Mascot. Mini photo shoot on Ben Franklin Parkway at dusk.

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Final shots of the city…

Ciao