San Diego started with a whirlwind tour beginning at 9.30am (after a 6am wakeup and a 7.20 train), taking me from Del Mar to San Diego, from Cabrillo National Monument to the Hotel Del and swinging by the Mexican border before heading back.
I enjoyed spending a few days with Bea and Tom, from the excited informative banter to wandering their home and looking at all their treasures from around the world. It was nice to feel part of a home again in the middle of my journey. We laughed and chatted and adventured.
The zoo in San Diego is deservedly world-famous. We first took a tour around, seeing monkeys, birds, meerkats, giraffes, elephants, lions, tigers, bears (oh my!), and other wild things. It was wondrous to see exotic moments - lions growling, hornbills 'kissing', monkeys swinging around, flamingos squawking and peacocks prancing about. Enchanting.
The big highlight of San Diego would have to have been the surf lesson and riding the waves. I signed up for a group lesson but ended up being the only one there. I learned the basics and got all wetsuited up (I wore booties too!) and hit the waves. Surfing was a lot more forgiving than it looked. I rode a couple of waves (what a feeling!) and took a few mouthfuls and facefuls of sea water (ah! clearing the sinuses). I put my yoga skills to the test to pop up and had a sensational time.
I left early on Friday to take the train up the coast and see more of California's varied and beautifully rugged desert-like terrain. I passed through rocky valleys, flat expanses of groomed farmland, unremarkable small towns, glittering seaside coasts, all while enjoying the ride up to San Francisco, a city I was told I would love...