Tuesday, January 3, 2012

5..4..3..2..1..Happy New Year, San Diego!

One of my very closest and dearest friends, Lindsay, planned her wedding for New Year's Eve in San Diego.  There was no way I was going to miss that wedding or the party that I knew would follow.  For those following along in December I went to Las Vegas, Orlando and now San Diego. That's the right way to finish 2011 if you ask me.

This was Stephen's first trip to SD.  I'd been a few times but there was still so much to see!  We were staying at the Holiday Inn, Downtown San Diego.  Not to be confused with the other Holiday Inn just  a few blocks closer to the bay.  The hotel had just been updated, but it is still a Holiday Inn.  There isn't a bar and there isn't a restaurant, but it's in a nice, central location and you can get most places.  The hotel shuttle was great and took us to quite a few places on our trip.

We arrived in San Diego at 9:30pm and immediately headed out to the bar, Princess Pub, to meet up with everyone after checking in to the hotel.  It is a cute little English pub in the heart of Little Italy.  Doesn't make perfect sense, but the place was great.  Apparently there are some new vodkas out there, flavored vodkas.  I know what you're saying, flavored vodka has been around for a long time, but not CAKE flavored vodka.  It tastes exactly how it should - like a birthday cake.  Cake vodka and some sprite = the easiest drink in the world.  Try it, but be careful, they go down super easy.

The following day we had all day to sight see and play tourist.  Planner-extraordinaire, Jenn, heard of GoCar Tours and we quickly signed up.   We booked a couple hours for Friday morning and chose to the do the Point Loma tour of San Diego.  Looking back, I wish we had time to do the Downtown tour too.  They were so much fun!  Yes, they look ridiculous and they are.  Yes, they are tiny.  Yes, they drive like a motorcycle.  BUT they also have a GPS system that takes you on a guided tour with info along the way.  The directions were easy to follow and we learned a lot along our trip.

The cars can only go 30 mph so you have to be aware of the other cars around you, but driving on the roads was never an issue.  

This was our first stop, a park overlooking downtown San Diego.  Amazing view.  We were dealing with a little fog that morning, but downtown is definitely still visible.

We took the tour all the way out to Point Loma and stopped in a bunch of places.  That was the beauty of the GoCars, you could stop where you wanted to and take as much time as you wanted to along the way.  The first, panoramic picture at the top of the post is the view of the bay from the lighthouse on Point Loma.  The cliffs in Ocean Beach were also a long stop for us.  Just breathtaking.  Not pictured are the crazy, hippie chicks who jumped off the cliff just to my right in this picture.  You couldn't have paid me to do that!  The water was freezing, the waves were crashing in and to get back out of the water they had to climb a rock wall covered in wet moss.  No thanks.

The GoCars were the best possible decision we could have made that day.  I took a TON of pictures and we laughed the entire time.  You have to wear helmets while in the GoCar and you're in such a tiny vehicle there is no way you can't enjoy yourself.

After the GoCar tour we stopped for lunch at Filippi's Pizza Grotto.  It was recommended to us by the GoCar people and they even drove us to the restaurant since we didn't have a car.  Added bonus!  There was a pretty long wait to get in to Filippi's for 2:00 on a Friday, but it was worth it.  The pizza was amazing (even the next day, according to Stephen) and the wine was strong.

If you order a bottle of the chianti you get to write on the bottle and they hang them around the dining area of the restaurant.  Now, I'll have no way of knowing if they really do or how often they change out the bottles, but it was delicious.  

After lunch, off to the USS Midway.  The ship has been docked in San Diego for years and was decommissioned in 1992.  It was involved in the first Persian Gulf War.  We were lucky enough to have along with us a friend of mine from high school and one of his co-workers, who both fly Ospreys for the USMC.  They had inside knowledge of aircraft and what it was like to live on an aircraft carrier for a couple of months.  We only had an hour on the ship, but it was plenty of time to walk around and look at all of the parts of the museum.  We didn't get to see everything offered because it was closing time, but I think we got a good feel for the ship.  We were also able to see our first west coast sunset from the flight deck.  

Once it was dark it was off to dinner with more friends and out to a couple of bars in Pacific Beach and we called it an early night around 11pm.  It was nice to hang out with a few locals.

Saturday morning we woke up to another beautiful day and we took a ferry across the water to Coronado.  I have a friend who used to live on the "island" and knew it was going to be a must see for Stephen.  The town of Coronado isn't big so we rented bicycles and hit the road.

Along the way we saw all of the beautiful houses on Coronado and the gorgeous views of San Diego.  We stopped our bike trip once to just look at the Pacific Ocean and then again at the Hotel del Coronado.  The hotel was built in 1888!  If you're in San Diego and you don't take a trip across the bay to see this hotel, you're missing out.  We stopped at the hotel to walk around and have a drink out on the sun deck that overlooks the beach.  What we didn't expect to see was an ice skating rink!  Outdoors in San Diego - who would have thought that was possible!?!  

Ice skating and palm trees - never thought you'd see that did ya?  

Back on the bikes we continued our tour of the city and found my favorite little spot.  The little park, I'm not even sure it has a name is the size of a house's lot and it has the most perfect view of downtown San Diego.  We stopped for a few minutest to take it all in and even witnessed the first of our 2 weddings that trip!

Back on the ferry, back to San Diego to get ready for the night ahead of us - the wedding!

I don't have too many pictures from the wedding but don't worry - the bride was beautiful, the groom as happy as could be and the party was what it should have been for a New Years Eve wedding.  The ceremony and reception took place in Balboa Park at the Hall of Champions Museum.  

It was such a special night for the bride and groom and such a fantastic night for me to spend with so many great friends.  And who wouldn't love to wear a sequins dress!  

Happy New Year!!

I finally caught a bouquet!  I guess that means I'm next :)

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