Beach, Travel

California Adventure. San Diego and Joshua Tree National Park.

A few months ago I booked a yoga retreat at San Diego Spiritual Retreat Center in Santa Ysabel, California. As I was making flight arrangements, it became obvious that this would be the perfect opportunity to also explore the city of San Diego and Joshua Tree National Park.

So there I was a few weeks later, camera in hand and ready for an adventure. My first stop was Balboa Park. The park is fascinating; its magical recipe for beauty goes something like this: two parts Spanish architecture, one part gardens and lots of bright light {the glue that holds it all together}.

The pleasant park stroll opened my appetite, so I Googled “best donuts in San Diego” and found Donut Bar in the downtown area. Parking in downtown San Diego is, like in many downtowns in the country, a whole experience in itself. After circling the block a couple of times, a few car honks and a shameful parallel parking maneuver, I made it to Donut Bar. Then and there, one of the universe’s biggest questions dawned on me:  which donut should I try? Yes, it was almost impossible to choose just one when they all looked this yummy. So I opted for a Raspberry Pistachio… to go.

My next stop, La Jolla. I drove to the Children’s Pool to live my own version of “Cake by the Ocean”. I parked my car, this time at an angle which made me feel a lot better about my parking skills, and sat on a bench overlooking the cove. My sweet raspberry-pistachio treasure was still hidden in its recyclable box, I put it on my lap and closed my eyes while breathing in all the salty goodness in front of me. The time had come to savor the first bite, I opened the box and it was everything I’d hoped for. I was caught in a moment of pure enjoyment when something struck my hand. It took me a couple of seconds to realize a seagull had stolen my donut. I swear I had a total Gollum/My Precious moment, but then I let it go, knowing the first bite was mine.

Down into the little cove I went, donut-less but happy to be there photographing the seals. Seals are far more adorable than seagulls, but then again, I might be biased by my recent experience. They bounce their heads up and down in what seems like an infant’s peek-a-boo game, and I couldn’t help but feel like a child again. Children get hungry, and so it was time for me to eat.

I drove to a nearby restaurant, Puesto Mexican Artisan Kitchen & Bar for zucchini and cactus tacos {crispy melted cheese, calabacitas of zucchini, corn and tomato, cactus, avocado, cilantro-tomatillo} paired with a Piña-Melon aguas frescas. My lunch was heavenly and my craving for Mexican goodness was well satisfied. It was time to walk off the feeling of fullness with a visit to the famous San Diego Zoo.

It ended up being a short zoo visit mainly because as usual, I wanted to fit too many attractions in one day and I didn’t want to miss a beautiful sunset overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Sunsets are so romantic, and I don’t mean in the amorous sense of the word, but more in that they present an idealized view of reality. Must be the light, fading behind the ocean as seagulls fly and people lose track of time. The Sun was gone and I was starting to feel tired, I headed back to my hotel to rest before another adventure day.

The next day I woke up around 4am, which was too early by my standards of decent times to wake up, and started my drive to Joshua Tree National Park. The drive was long but worth it. Joshua trees are out of this world, their branches bend in all sorts of mysterious ways as if defying gravity. I enjoyed driving through the desert before arriving to my retreat. It was then time to put my camera down and unwind.

Until the next adventure,