Mexican Riviera Cruise: departure port - San Diego
We flew out of National Airport Friday evening, getting a late start around 5:45. I still had the tail-end of a cold, but felt decent enough to travel. The flight out on Midwest Airlines was uneventful, and reasonably comfortable given that both of our flights were all business class seats. If I had a smidge more knee room I would have been happy, but it seemed like the seat pitch was the same as coach seats.
We arrived in San Diego around 9:15 PM local, or 12:15 Eastern time. Barbara had booked our room through Priceline, and we expected to get the crummiest room available. Wrong. Instead, they had upgraded us to a suite. Complimentary. So, in addition to the suite on the ship, and the comfortable airline seats, a suite in the hotel. Sweet. We dropped off our luggage, and immediately headed out to the Gaslamp for dinner.
Barbara had printed us a list of late-night restaurants in the area for dinner. We had decided to try the Spanish tapas place, but we couldn't find it. Instead, we went to Royal Thai Cuisine. When we walked by, I noticed the people eating outside had food that looked and smelled good, so after we couldn't find Café Sevilla, we walked back over there. Their drunken noodles were spicy and tasty, and Barbara's cashew chicken was good, nearly as good as our favorite place at home.
I think we finally got back to the hotel around 11 PM local time, and hit the bed. Or tried to. I started coughing, and wasn't able to lie down without breaking into coughing fits. Ick. Fortunately, we had the suite, so I went in the living room and laid half-propped up on the sofa while Barbara slept.
Saturday, I got up at 7 and headed up to a drugstore to get Nyquil and cough drops. I took a brief nap while Barbara got a massage and then we took the trolley up to the Seaport Village. After a late breakfast there, we walked along the San Diego boardwalk, past the USS Midway museum, the cruise ship terminal (Holland America's Ryndam and Oosterdam were in port), and then did some sightseeing riding the Trolley around. This is a sculpture on the boardwalk called "Osprey".
For dinner, we went out again in search of Café Sevilla, and finally found it. We were seated immediately, and we had some tapas. The Spanish tortilla, an egg, potato, and asparagus tart, was excellent. Garlic shrimp and fried calamari were both very good.
After all that, I wanted some beef. We got the Beef Brocheta (Flat Iron Steak with Mushrooms and Onions). This was a beautiful presentation, with the skewer of beef hanging down from a wrought-iron rack brought to the table. Wow. It was excellent. We wolfed this down. Our waiter was surprised how quickly it disappeared, but it was just so good.
We crashed out early, and slept well.
Sunday morning I got up early. Barbara had told me about a fishing pier she had heard about behind the convention center, so I walked over it (lots of stairs bordered by birds of paradise plants) to the Embarcadero Park and Marina. It was a beautiful morning for a walk, and I walked all the way around it, stopping to find out what was biting there at the pier (Pretty slow that morning, usually catch sand bass and mackerel). After that, I walked all the way up to the Seaport Village, then back down to the hotel.
I thought the fountain was pretty cool. Barbara and I got our luggage together and dropped it at the front desk, then took a cab up to Balboa Park. It's a very old park, with the land first set aside in 1868. We first went through the Japanese Friendship Garden (Bonsai and Koi Ponds) and then headed up to the Botanical Building, built in 1915 and one of the most photographed sites in the park. Inside they had a large exhibit of orchids which were spectacular in their variety and color. A smaller exhibit showed an assortment of chiles, including red ones, yellow ones, and black ones.
We didn't have time to do the art museum or the zoo this trip, but maybe next time. After some walking around, we finally caught a cab and headed back to get our bags and get on the ship. (Next post - Departure, Sea Day, and Cabo San Lucas)