Yesterday morning Ben and I bundled into the car with Jasmine and Little D and drove down the coast to San Diego.
We stopped in La Jolla for breakfast at this amazing little cafe where I dined on beautiful fruit and organic yoghurt and split a huge blackberry and banana pancake with Ben (oh you know it was drenched in maple syrup).
We then hopped back in the car and continued on to San Diego.
What a beautiful place. Everywhere I look in Southern California I fall even more in love with this place.
Ben drove me through the beachside neighbourhoods and showed me all the great surf breaks (Trent this gentleman speaks your language) as well as all the beautiful seaside houses.
Balboa Park just left me breathless. As soon as I got out of the car my nose was treated to the perfume of a rose garden newly in full bloom. The blossoms were all the colours of the rainbow and in the sunshine they gave off an intoxicating aroma.
The park proper which we soon entered is amazing. Basically just full of museums and beautiful architecture and gardens it is easy to get lost in there for a few hours, which we proceeded to do.
The dogs loved the walk and I was able to soak up the sun and take a million photos of different plants. The Japanese friendship garden was a special treat and it was the perfect day for cherry blossom viewing as the trees were all in full bloom, buds opening to the sky and shedding petals in the wind.
After our big walk we hopped in the car again (this time L.D. was on my lap to better enjoy the view) and we drove over the Coronado Bridge, an absolutely amazing structure that soars over the bay and treats you with a vista of the ocean, Coronado Island and the Navy ship yards, from its inspiring height.
Coronado Island has now moved to the top of my list for places to retire to. The houses are like a dollhouse village was dropped life-size onto one of the most paradise like places on earth. The weather yesterday was a little stormy and there were a few small showers but it was perfect for exploring and driving.
Ben let me take a million photos of houses and we picked out the ones that were on our real estate lists.
Hotel del Coronado is a resort that has been on Coronado Island for well over a hundred years and the timber structure looks like it belongs on the beach for ever more. Blinding white with red terracotta trim and painstakingly manicured gardens make up the Hotel del (as the locals call it) and some of the greatest restaurants line its lower levels.
Ben and I stopped for lunch and I ordered an amazing spinach, pear and blue cheese salad and Ben ordered me a cocktail called a Mule which was perfectly refreshing and gingery.
After lunch we had a slow walk back to the car where we were met with wagging tails, especially when we explained the next stop on our San Diego tour was Ben's grandparents place.
I felt so welcomed by his beautiful grandma and grandpa and then his aunt and uncle (and their gorgeous pup Mia) also came around. We had a great night of white wine (a New Zealand wine actually!) and strawberries followed by a family dinner (you should have seen the look on Ben's face when everyone decided to order ribs! They were all more than concerned with finding me something on the menu when I explained my preferences and Ben and I had a wonderful laugh about it on the way home).
I felt so relaxed as I watched the sun set over grandma and grandpa's gorgeous back garden with a wine in one hand and dogs at my feet. The perfect way to experience San Diego.