29th Dec 2008 - LA & San Diego, USA
South to San Diego
Another day of blue skies and comfortably warm temperatures reaching a high of 70F at about 4pm (an hour before sunset).
Left Anaheim at 10am and joined freeway 5 south towards our next destination - San Diego. Our first stop after about 15 miles was the mission at San Juan Capistrano in Orange County. The mission was founded over 200 years ago and was originally built by Spanish padres and indians as a self sufficient community, becoming a centre for agriculture, industry, education and religion. The mission is a pleasant place to stop for 30 minutes with it's peaceful courtyards and orange groves. The town has a reputation for having swallows visit, and there are nests within the mission. We also saw several hummingbirds which I had never seen before.
We then left San Juan Capistrano and rejoined Freeway 5 south, occassionally taking one of the exits to join the Pacific Coast Highway 1, which we followed south of San Fansisco last year.
Just before reaching the outskirts of San Diego, we stopped at the seaside resort of La Jolla, which has a large retirement community. By now it was quite hot so we parked on the seafront and spent some time on the beach. I have really been quite surprised how warm and sunny it has been in California in the winter - we literally have not seen a cloud since we arrived in CA. After a quick dip in the Pacific which was a very pleasant temperature, we walked 5 minutes up the beach, where there were some seals basking on the sand - these are protecyted by federal law here, so they are not disturbed by the human population. There were also a group of pelicans basking in the sun.
We then got back into the car for the 10 mile drive down into San Diego. We are staying in an area called Coronado which is a beach community to the west of San Diego, on a small island linked to the mainland by the very dramatic Coronado Bay Bridge - a concrete structure that curves 80 degrees, is 2 miles long and has a maximum height of 200 feet, and looks as you drive on, a bit like a roller coaster !
Here in Coronado we are only 10 miles from the Mexican border. The area is clearly quite well off and has lots of hotels and eating places, as well as fantastic sandy beach that stretches for miles. The area is also the home of a large US Navy Base.
Once we booked into the La Avenida Inn Motel on the main street (Orange Avenue), we used the last hour of daylight to go and see the beach a few hundred yards from our accommodation. We got quite a surprise to see ice skating going on on the beach - a special seasonal treat for visitors ! The beach is lovely here - sandy, clean, safe and miles of sand. Had fun using the oncoming sunset to take unusual photos on the beach of our shadows etc and Naomi and Ali went into the sea for the second time today.
Once the sun went down, we returned to the room for a shower, and then went to the restaurant next door and had a lovely locally caught swordfish meal.
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