Saturday, July 16
Saturday was our mostly “free day” (since our scheduled activity with the group was on Friday). The only thing officially on the agenda was a formal awards dinner all evening- but that didn’t start until 6 pm.
Actually, I lie- we also had a scheduled brunch. It was held on an outdoor patio at the hotel and was buffet style/ pretty casual. The morning was overcast and a bit foggy, so that was a little bummer. But it was plenty warm and dry. We met two new couples from Chicago (there were quite a few people from Chicago on this trip) during breakfast.
We finished breakfast by ~10 am or so and then set out for the day. My plan (and I say “my plan”, not “our plan”, because Ivan completely handed this part over to me-he literally said, “Pick whatever you want to do….I don’t care, I’m fine with whatever, and I don’t want to research it.” Okey dokey, then!) was to go to La Jolla.
I knew we didn’t have a lot of time, so I scratched any thoughts of the San Diego Zoo. I just feel like that probably deserves more time than we had to give. And besides, I felt more interested in seeing a little more of the San Diego area than just being inside the zoo. Also, if we ever go back with the boys, I’m sure we’d want to do the zoo then.
I liked the idea of seeing the cliffs and the ocean and the sea lions! I’d heard that the village of La Jolla was quite nice too. I would have loved to go to Balboa Park and Torrey Pines Natural Reserve and a million other places, but I felt we could comfortably fit La Jolla and pretty much only La Jolla in on this day (given our other time restrictions).
So, La Jolla it was.
Coronado –> La Jolla
We took the free shuttle into Coronado, then the free bus to the ferry landing. From there (now closer to San Diego, by quite a few miles), we ordered an Uber. We probably saved like $15-20 by Ubering from there, instead of our hotel-at least based on our Uber estimates. There was a big Pride weekend occurring in San Diego with a parade and other events, so the city was busy and Uber prices were… not low. (I kept reminding Ivan that the trip was otherwise free, so who cares how much the Uber costs??, but he wasn’t having it. Still wanted to find the cheapest transport option we could. He always loves a bargain.)
Anyway, we eventually got our Uber and I had it drop us off at the head of the La Jolla Coast Walk Trail. This is a (free) short trail/ walk along the La Jolla coast. I really would have loved to do some longer hikes in Torrey Pines, but knew we wouldn’t have time… so this walk seemed like a good compromise.
La Jolla Coast Walk Trail
I was a little bit irritated with the cloudy skies!! The ocean is always so beautiful with sunshine and blue skies. Our Uber driver informed us though that the La Jolla area tends to always (or at least often) be the last place for the foggy/ cloudy skies to lift. It is what it is! Again- at least it was warm and dry. Two wonderful things on vacation.
The views were still great, despite the clouds! I love how the flowering bushes look more vibrant against the grey sky and water.
Took some selfies, of course.
Eventually we made our way to the actual La Jolla Cove and the “Children’s Pool” area- where the seals and sea lions love to hang out. We could hear them before we even saw them. They were scattered all along a huge stretch- and there were a LOT of them!!!
This guy was chilling on some rocks just below the fence:
Officials have most of the main areas blocked off from human access, to allow the animals plenty of space. It’s their home, after all!
They were entertaining to watch! I really wanted to see these guys, so I was happy this fit in. We also saw some interesting big pelican birds and some funny little squirrels (different from our Wisconsin squirrels).
We then detoured a little off the coast and into the village of La Jolla. Our lunch plans included IN-N-OUT (not in La Jolla), so we just strolled up and down a few of the main streets. There are shops, restaurants, etc.
I’m sure we didn’t “see it all” here, but we got a taste. And we checked out a Vuori store- I always see their ads online, but had never seen their clothes up close. The materials seemed awesome! So light and soft. Didn’t buy anything, but may give them a try sometime.
Back to our coast walk….
We sat on a bench at a little lookout point for a bit. I swear, I am turning into an old lady and my back starts to hurt when I stand/walk for long periods of time- or sometimes not even long periods. 😑 (To the point that I think I’m going to get it checked out. Something does not seem right. I had ongoing back troubles even way back in high school during my volleyball days, and I don’t know if it’s still related?) Anyway, my back wanted a little break so we sat here for a bit.
From here we could see a bunch of guys surfing!! This was super cool, because people do not surf in Wisconsin. And I feel like in my mind, surfing = California.
It was getting later, so I decided we would walk through some neighborhoods to get to Windansea Beach, and then call that our stopping point.
I enjoyed this ~20 minute stretch of our walk. As soon as we turned off from La Jolla Cove area, we basically lost all the other tourists. So this was peaceful and seemed more like a glimpse into a “real life” area. We passed quite a few young guys, presumably locals, parking their cars on side streets and unloading surfboards and then walking barefoot toward the beach. 🙂
This beach was more of a big rocky area, not a very large beach, but I had read the area was “popular with local surfers”. We just spread out towels up on a big flat rock and hung out for a while. Just looked out at the waves and watched the surfers- there were at least 10 out there.
There was a big group of probably college-aged girls off to one side, in a cut out rocky cove area, having some sort of party. They had brought a table with snacks and music and everything. Other apparently local people (like a 20-something girl, alone, just reading a book on a towel), etc. were there too. I *think* UC San Diego is super close to or in La Jolla.
After a while, it was lunch time. We called an Uber to take us to the nearest In-N-Out Burger- about 5-6 miles away.
Have you ever had In-N-Out??? O.M.G. the hype is real. Those burgers are amaaaaaazing. We first had it years ago in San Francisco, then again in Las Vegas. (They are a West coast U.S. only chain.) They have a kind of cult-like following, because they are delicious and deserve it. We always have to have In-N-Out if we are near one.
We had dinner plans, so needed to “eat light” (HA!!!) for lunch. Meaning, we shared a single order of fries/Coke and just each got our own burgers. (The “Double-Double”, if you’re wondering.)
I tried to chew slowly and savor this, because it was just so delicious. 🙂 A highlight for sure.
Back to hotel/ Awards Dinner
Ordered another Uber when we were done, then headed back to the hotel. We had a little time to kill, so we relaxed in the hot tub for a while and by the pool.
Eventually we needed to get ready for dinner. (Kinda felt like I’d just had my burger…which was actually kind of true…but there was going to be a long “cocktail hour” before dinner, anyway. So it was all good.)
We had to have professional pictures taken and then got drinks and mingled around. This “formal night” awards dinner was hosted right at the hotel.
We traded taking photos with another couple:
Eventually they opened the doors and we went in for the awards dinner. It was a great time! Sometimes events like this can be boring/dry, but I actually didn’t find that to be the case.
The awards program was really nice, the food was very good, and they had an incredible magician/comedian entertainer as well. We lucked out with some friendly people at our table, also.
I snuck a few pics during this, but can’t really share here. Ivan also got called up for an award and I cheered loudly. 😂
I don’t even know what time it ended, but it was getting late….and then a LOT of people (all “happy” on the bottomless free drinks, I guess, and trying to live it up on the last night….) congregated at the lobby bar afterwards. Until after midnight! Ivan ended up getting into some long discussions with these two other guys and I was getting….tired. ha. Eventually I was like, OK LET’S GO. Because it was getting close to 1 am! YAWN.
I had a lot of fun that night, until the last 30 minutes or so, when I really just wanted to go to bed. 🙂
Sunday, July 17
Luckily, we didn’t have an early flight on the way home. We slept in a bit, then grabbed a light breakfast from the casual grab-and-go breakfast they had set up for us. It was another overcast morning, so I sat by this fire table and had my tea.
It was actually a bit chilly out, compared to all the other days. We changed into our swimswuits and went to the hot tub.
The shuttle was set to take us to the airport at noon, so eventually I showered, we packed up, etc.
We hadn’t eaten much for breakfast, so we grabbed a very quick lunch at the poolside restaurant before we had to go. Might as well, because we had hotel credit money left to use up.
Sun came out by that point:
From there, we headed to the airport.
Again, no issues with our flights- thankfully!! I keep hearing horror stories from so many people about current airport/ luggage/ flight problems. We again flew San Diego- Chicago, Chicago-Madison. The final fight wasn’t scheduled to arrive until 10:30 p.m. so I was REALLY hoping for no delays or problems. It was already a late arrival, and we had to work Monday…
The end! This felt like a bit of a whirlwind weekend, although we weren’t exactly jam-packed busy, either. We had a good amount of free time to do what we wanted.
But I think having all of the structured breakfasts, dinners, having to dress up and attend events, etc. made it feel quite different than a “normal” trip for us. I really enjoyed it though! I’m happy to at least have seen bits of San Diego and the adults-only time was really fun. Next year’s trip would be in Austin, Texas, if he can manage to earn it again. 😉 He says he’s going for it! No pressure, though. Hahaha. 🙂