I Love the Little Fishies. Don't You?

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
Our next and final destination was Balboa Park. Our friends from Seal Beach took us there in 2012 and I just fell in love with the place. Land was set aside for Balboa Park in 1835, which makes the park's site is one of the oldest in the United States dedicated to public recreational use. It is owned and managed by the City of San Diego. Balboa Park housed the Panama-California Exposition from 1915 to 1916 and the California Pacific International Exposition from 1935 to 1936. Some of Balboa Park’s famous landmarks like the Botanical Building, the Spreckels Organ Pavilion and Old Globe Theatre were part of those expositions. Today Balboa Park is home to San Diego Zoo, a number of museums, gardens and performing arts venues. One of the first things we saw when we entered the park was the Japanese Friendship Garden. This was going through major expansion work in 2012 and it appears that this is still not completed and is now expected to be finished by August next year. I really would like to see this in all its glory.





The first place I wanted to visit this time round was one of the museums. The Mingei International Museum owns a number of pieces by Dale Chihuly. Normally the admission is $8, but I was happy to pay this. I got lucky and they had a free admission day. Unfortunately they had none of their Chihuly collection on display. It was not a complete washout though. They have a gorgeous Chihuly chandelier in the stairwell. I spent a fair while admiring this and photographing it from all angles. Then I headed back outside to find Graham.

























We had a bit of a wander and discovered the miniature railway museum. We both thought this sounded quite interesting, but decided that we wanted to enjoy the gorgeous weather so we decided to give this a miss. We came across some beautiful flowering trees and bushes and stopped for a while to admire those. Then we headed to an area that we had not explored on our previous visit. We walked up towards the zoo and on the way we came across a huge tree. Shortly after this, we discovered the Arts and Crafts Village. I loved the buildings and the setup of the village, but was not too impressed with the arts and crafts on display. They seemed to be mass produced and strictly for the tourist market. The only interesting thing was a glass blower.

















 

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
We did not spend a great deal of time there. We headed back towards the main part of the park and admired some more of the buildings. We found that the Botanical Building was open again. This had been closed due to structural damage in 2012. They obviously managed to fix whatever was wrong with this. We headed inside. I have to say the architecture is a lot more interesting than the plants inside.

































We enjoyed some if the other buildings and came across an oddity that stuck out like a sore thumb. The buildings at Balboa Park are a mix of Spanish and Spanish Colonial style. They all blend in very well, but hidden amongst them is a replica of the Globe Theatre, which does not fit in at all. We continued our wander for a bit and then decided that we had walked enough for a day. We headed towards the trolley stop and there were quite a few people waiting there. By the time the trolley came, the line was huge. Two trolleys came in quick succession, but they were pretty full. The second driver radioed for back up and shortly afterwards two completely empty trolleys arrived. Apparently they keep a number of spare trolleys in one of the car parks at Balboa Park.













 

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
On our way out, I noticed that there was a lot more to Balboa Park than we had realised. There are the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages, where 32 countries are represented in their own cottages with other countries being represented in the International Hall. This may be quite interesting and may warrant a visit at some stage down the line. There is also a number of other museums at this side of Balboa Park. After we left Balboa Park, there was one more possible trolley stop before it returned to Old Town and that was Little Italy. They had some kind of festival on that weekend and Graham asked if I wanted to have a look, but this somehow did bit grab me. We stayed on the trolley and soon we were back at Old Town.

By then we were ready for some food. My favourite Mexican restaurant is at Old Town, Cafe Coyote. So this where we were headed. We got a table inside. Even though it was still relatively early, it was very busy. We both ordered a soft drink and Sangria, but only Graham's Sangria materialised. This gave me an excuse to order one of their rather nice Margaritas with my main course. For our starter, we share the Fiesta Sampler, which consisted of Nachos, Chicken Chipotle Flautas, Cheese Quesadilla and Taquitos topped with Guacamole, Sour Cream and Salsa Fresca. Graham had one of the specials for his main course, which consisted of marinated Flank Steak with Mexican Rice, Beans and Salad. I had one of the combination platters, El Rey (The King), which consisted of Carnitas, Carne Asada and a Enchilada Suiza with Mexican Rice and there famous freshly made Tortillas. I could not quite finish all my food, but everything was delicious. The food is always great there and I really like the atmosphere, but as a rule the service is not as sharp as it could be. This time was a different experience. I think they wanted to turn the tables over before the evening rush. We did not feel rushed, but the service was pretty efficient that evening. So we were finished in time to catch the last shuttle back to the hotel.





When we got back to the hotel, we checked if we needed to book a taxi for the next morning. They recommended that we did and sorted this out for us. We then headed back to the room and reorganised our luggage. We then settled down in front of the TV and I played with my iPad for a bit. We also had the sparkling wine that we never had on the ship. We then got ready for bed and had an early night.



 
  • ImDMous

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Dec 1, 2011
    Hi Corinna!

    Glad you had such a great time in my city after your cruise!

    We have Sea World passes and were just there a few weeks ago. Blue Horizons sounds like it was indeed some sort of modified show for you. I've always seen flying and using the harness that goes out over the water. Weird...

    I think the dolphins were getting a little too frisky with the guests at the pool and they had to make ledges so they don't have any jumping room at the edge. I've seen them jump and splash quite a few people right before they re-did it.

    I'm about half an hour north of San Diego proper and I love going down to play sightseer for a day. Looks like you had a lot of fun.

    ~Diane
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Hi Corinna!

    Glad you had such a great time in my city after your cruise!

    We have Sea World passes and were just there a few weeks ago. Blue Horizons sounds like it was indeed some sort of modified show for you. I've always seen flying and using the harness that goes out over the water. Weird...

    I think the dolphins were getting a little too frisky with the guests at the pool and they had to make ledges so they don't have any jumping room at the edge. I've seen them jump and splash quite a few people right before they re-did it.

    I'm about half an hour north of San Diego proper and I love going down to play sightseer for a day. Looks like you had a lot of fun.

    ~Diane
    That is a shame with the dolphins, but I cannot stop wondering if they are not creating more issues with the present setup with having such a small group of dolphins in that area and separating half of them off at any given time.

    I did some research regarding Blue Horizons. I think this is a serious cost cutting exercise. I trailed through numerous You Tube videos. Up to including November, the show was very much like I am used to it from Orlando. In February and March, Aurora flew, but the storm sequence was missing the bungee jumpers. In April and May and up to early July Aurora did not fly, but in the videos from late July onwards, Aurora is flying again. There is still no bungee jumpers though.

    Corinna
     

    Chilly

    RIP Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Apr 25, 2006
    Great day touring San Diego, brought back lots of memories from our trip there. I'd love to go back, unfortunately the list of places I want to go is really long.
     

    Pinkocto

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2011
    Oh my, that chandelier was magnificent! Too bad about the other pieces not being on display. Nice bonus that you didn't have to pay admission.

    The architecture in Balboa park is beautiful.

    Too bad about missing Ghirardelli.

    I'm always impressed how much exploring you guys do in the places you visit.
     
  • franandaj

    I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2009
    I can understand being less than impressed with the Gaslamp District. I didn't really get it in Vancouver either and I never really thought about it being particularly interesting in San Diego. There are a number of decent restaurants located there, but other than that I share you lack of wonderment.

    I'm sorry you didn't get your Sundae, but hopefully you will make that right at the trip to Disneyland in November. I'm looking forward to that and meeting up with you over the second part of your stay!

    The Hotel Del looks so familiar on the outside. I have not had the opportunity to actually visit that hotel personally so I'm sad to hear that the inside is nothing like the Grand Floridian. I love the light airiness inside that hotel and I'm sad to hear that it's inspiration is nothing like it on the inside.

    I haven't had the opportunity to explore Balboa park as I might like to. Every time we have been to San Diego I have had a specific purpose. We have never gone for tourist reasons and just spend the time enjoying whatever we want. Perhaps someday.

    I'm glad that your trip ended with a great meal and calm evening relaxing before heading home. Someday I hope to take a Panama Canal cruise and enjoying all the days at sea and ports along the way!
     

    granmaz

    Dis Veteran and Old Geezer
    Joined
    Oct 17, 2005
    I hope to have a couple of days there next May after the PC cruise. This year we flew straight out back to Orlando. We did have 3 nights there back in Jan 2011 but missed out on so many places so have wanted to go back.

    Balboa Park looks a great place to visit. We did wander the Gaslamp district but weren't overly impressed. Have to say that the aircraft carrier was excellent if you like that kind of thing.
     

    Paula Sedley-Burke

    Proud to believe in Rainbows and Unicorns...
    Joined
    Nov 20, 2008
    Wow what a busy day! Love the little trolley :-) I just adore those. I like the ones in San Fran. Oh yes take me to Ghirardelli. Even the smell is iintoxicating! Shame the timings didn't work out! Grab one in DTD!

    The Gaslamp quarter sounds much nicer than it looks. I had an image of those fabulous streets I fell in love with in New Orleans. But Hotel Del Coronado wow. I can totally see how they designed GF from this. How amazing. Thanks for that insight!

    I love the national parks in America and all the parks. You get so much more than you expect! Over here a park is some swings, a drinking fountain and an ice cream van lol. But over there oh my! That Balbou Park looks wonderful. That is def worth a visit!

    Yummy mexican! You must have been very tired when you got back. What a productive day!
     

    PrincessInOz

    Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!
    Joined
    Feb 8, 2010
    The Gaslamp District during the daytime is pretty bland. It's nicer at night when the lights are lit. But it is very busy because a lot of what's there are bars and restaurants. Some of the restaurants are decent enough there.

    Love Balboa park. You must have got there on a Tuesday? if you got free entry to the museums.
     
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Great day touring San Diego, brought back lots of memories from our trip there. I'd love to go back, unfortunately the list of places I want to go is really long.
    San Diego is a gorgeous city. I share the problem that there is a rather long list of places I want to visit, but not quite enough time to get to them all.

    Oh my, that chandelier was magnificent! Too bad about the other pieces not being on display. Nice bonus that you didn't have to pay admission.

    The architecture in Balboa park is beautiful.

    Too bad about missing Ghirardelli.

    I'm always impressed how much exploring you guys do in the places you visit.
    I really liked that chandelier even though I normally prefer the coloured ones. This had some gold as well as the white and it looked really pretty.

    Balboa park is absolutely beautiful. I am so glad that our friends introduced us to this.

    I can understand being less than impressed with the Gaslamp District. I didn't really get it in Vancouver either and I never really thought about it being particularly interesting in San Diego. There are a number of decent restaurants located there, but other than that I share you lack of wonderment.

    I'm sorry you didn't get your Sundae, but hopefully you will make that right at the trip to Disneyland in November. I'm looking forward to that and meeting up with you over the second part of your stay!

    The Hotel Del looks so familiar on the outside. I have not had the opportunity to actually visit that hotel personally so I'm sad to hear that the inside is nothing like the Grand Floridian. I love the light airiness inside that hotel and I'm sad to hear that it's inspiration is nothing like it on the inside.

    I haven't had the opportunity to explore Balboa park as I might like to. Every time we have been to San Diego I have had a specific purpose. We have never gone for tourist reasons and just spend the time enjoying whatever we want. Perhaps someday.

    I'm glad that your trip ended with a great meal and calm evening relaxing before heading home. Someday I hope to take a Panama Canal cruise and enjoying all the days at sea and ports along the way!
    A visit to Ghirardelli is definitely on the to do list for our trip to Disneyland. I am really looking forward to meeting you again, too.

    I was a little bit surprised when I walked into the hotel and the inside was so different from what I had expected. Still, I actually really liked this with all the dark wood and the amazing chandelier.

    Balboa Park is definitely worth a look. I hope that you get the chance to visit at some point in the future.

    This was our second Panama Canal cruise and I am already looking forward to the third one although that is some years in the future. You never know, maybe we will end up on the same one.

    I hope to have a couple of days there next May after the PC cruise. This year we flew straight out back to Orlando. We did have 3 nights there back in Jan 2011 but missed out on so many places so have wanted to go back.

    Balboa Park looks a great place to visit. We did wander the Gaslamp district but weren't overly impressed. Have to say that the aircraft carrier was excellent if you like that kind of thing.
    I love San Diego and Balboa Park is amazing. The beauty about this is that you can have as active or relaxing a day there as you want. We just enjoy wandering around and taking in all the architecture and the beautiful flowes and trees.

    Neither of us was interested in the aircraft carrier. This is just not our thing.We were discussing a couple of weeks ago what we wanted to do in terms of Pearl Harbour in November as there are a number of ships there that you can tour. In the end we decided that we are really only interested in the Arizona memorial and just pre-booked tickets for this.

    Wow what a busy day! Love the little trolley :-) I just adore those. I like the ones in San Fran. Oh yes take me to Ghirardelli. Even the smell is iintoxicating! Shame the timings didn't work out! Grab one in DTD!

    The Gaslamp quarter sounds much nicer than it looks. I had an image of those fabulous streets I fell in love with in New Orleans. But Hotel Del Coronado wow. I can totally see how they designed GF from this. How amazing. Thanks for that insight!

    I love the national parks in America and all the parks. You get so much more than you expect! Over here a park is some swings, a drinking fountain and an ice cream van lol. But over there oh my! That Balbou Park looks wonderful. That is def worth a visit!

    Yummy mexican! You must have been very tired when you got back. What a productive day!
    At Disneyland, Ghirardelli is actually inside the California Adventure park. It has taken over the building where the Tortilla factory used to be.

    I had high hopes for the Gaslamp District, but it did not live up to this. Still, I am glad that we decided to check this out. Sometimes you just need to get something out of your system. Balboa Park on the other hand is amazing.

    The Gaslamp District during the daytime is pretty bland. It's nicer at night when the lights are lit. But it is very busy because a lot of what's there are bars and restaurants. Some of the restaurants are decent enough there.

    Love Balboa park. You must have got there on a Tuesday? if you got free entry to the museums.
    I really like Old Town in the evening and as we tend to gravitate towards this general area, this will always win out over the Gaslamp District.

    We were at Balboa Park on a Sunday. They had some family event on. I think this may have been the first weekend of the summer holidays.

    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 19

    We had an early start this morning as we had booked the taxi to the airport for 6:00 AM. We got up and got ready and packed the last odds and ends. After a quick check that we had not forgotten anything, we headed to reception. As soon as we stepped into the reception, we were asked if we were the Ball family and were going to the airport. We confirmed this. Even though we were quite early, the taxi driver was already waiting for us. He took our stuff out to the car while we checked out and then we were on our way.

    The Wonder was back in port that day. She had been on a quick 2 night cruise to nowhere over the weekend before repositioning to Vancouver later that day. We did see her while driving to the airport. To my surprise, this did not bother me and I was even glad to see her one last time before flying home. The trip to the airport was very quick and smooth and soon we were dropped off in front of the terminal. When I checked the screens to see where we needed to check in, initially I could not find our flight. Then I spotted it. It was departing 20 minutes earlier then what was on our paperwork. I was surprised that we had not received an email about this. We are used to getting numerous emails about schedule changes when we are flying with Delta and usually they are not a couple of minutes. So I was surprised that US Airways did not inform us of a more significant schedule change. Still, we are always at the airport in plenty of time so it did not matter.

    It turned out that time was precisely what we needed. First of all I could not figure out the self-service kiosks at San Diego. Eventually a member of staff came to our rescue and showed us how they work. Once we did try to check in, we got a message that they could not check us in at that time and to seek assistance from a member of staff. We did and then the scratching of heads commenced. It was the same issue that we had in Manchester that the system got confused by the fact that we had US Airways tickets and flight numbers, but were flying with American. After a while we were pointed towards the first class check in and they managed to sort the issue out. We had used the time while they were trying to work out the issue to weigh our luggage and rearrange a couple of things. Eventually we were all checked in and had our boarding passes. We headed through security, which was a very quick and smooth process and then went to find our gate.

    True to form, our gate was the furthest away that it could be and still be in the same terminal. When we got there, I had to smile. I am a Starbucks girl through and through and there happened to be a Starbucks right at the gate. So this was breakfast taken care of. We both had the Bacon and Gouda Breakfast Sandwich. Graham also had a slice of the Berry Coffee Cake and I had a slice of the Iced Lemon Pound Cake. This was all washed down with an Americano for Graham and a Vanilla Macchiato for me. There is something very nice about sitting at the gate enjoying a breakfast and watching the planes.







    Once I had finished my breakfast, I made use of the Wi-Fi and caught up with things online. I noticed that the rest of the 2015 itineraries for Disney Cruise Line had finally been released. I had high hopes for the Westbound Transatlantic, but they were cruelly dashed. The cruise will only be 11 days instead of 14 and only stops at Madeira and Castaway Cay. One thing that did excite me though is that the Wonder is heading back to Galveston. We still have unfinished business there. I even spotted a tempting itinerary over my birthday including Nassau, Key West and Castaway Cay. Of course, having had a closer look at this once we got home, it turned out that this cruise would not really work for us in terms of port times and also because this cruise goes to Key West last, it would include a very early wake up call that morning to clear immigration. We have however found the same itinerary in reverse at the beginning of December that goes to Key West first and also has better port times. This also has the added bonus that the Christmas festivities will be in full swing on the ship.

    Soon it was time for boarding. We had a Boeing 737 for the first leg of the journey, which is not one of my favourite kinds of aircraft as it has a single aisle with 3 seats on either side. Still, for a relatively short daytime flight, it was not an issue. We went through the usual motions that once the plane was about 50% full an announcement was made that there was no more room for carry ons and that they would be gate checked to the final destination. I was not happy about this as we had quite a long layover in Chicago and then the long transatlantic flight. Fortunately when we approached the gate, we were just waved through. Looks like our carry ons were small enough to not cause concern. Better still, there was even room for them in the overhead compartment.

    Despite the chaos caused by them gate checking most carry ons, we departed on time. I settled down and started to read, but soon my attention was diverted. It was a beautiful clear day and we flew over some gorgeous landscapes consisting of desert and canyons. Unfortunately the photos are a rather poor reflection of how beautiful this really was due to the distortion caused by the window and the altitude. I was rather surprised when the announcement came that we would shortly start out decent into Chicago. Time had literally flown.









































     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007




















    This was our first time flying through Chicago. We had come close on a number of occasions, but ultimately a cheaper flight via another gateway had always turned up. I cannot comment on how easy it is to clear formalities at O’Hare, as we did not have to do this on our way out. O'Hare seems to be a reasonably nice airport with a good range of facilities. I was delighted when I spotted a Chili's Too while were having a wander. This meant lunch was taken care of. I really had not expected that I would get my beloved Southwestern Eggrolls on this trip. We ordered some drinks. Graham had an ice tea. I normally love their Mango Ice Tea and can drink this by the gallon. However, this time I discovered something different that took my fancy. They had Watermelon Lemonade on the menu. This was absolutely delicious. I was quite surprised when I was offered a free refill, as this normally does not apply to the speciality drinks. For food, Graham had the Old Timer Burger with Fries. I went for the Triple Dipper as a main course with Boneless Buffalo Wings, Chicken Crispers and Southwestern Eggrolls. We were both absolutely stuffed after our lunch.

    We had a wander around and I checked out some of the shops and hen we found some seats at the gate for our next flight. I made good use of the Wi-Fi. Time went quite quickly and soon it was time to board our flight back to the UK. This departed pretty much on time and this time there was no issue with hand luggage. This time we flew on a Boeing 767, which meant there are only two seats by the window. This was perfect for an overnight flight.

    As we took off, I started to understand why they call Chicago the Windy City. There were some evil crosswinds and turbulence stayed with us for an hour or so. Once things had settled down a little, they did the drinks service followed by dinner. I had a Coke and Graham had some water, but we were both still full and passed on dinner. I read for a while and then I curled up in my fleece blanket with sleeves and went to sleep.

    I slept for most of the flight and just woke up briefly a few times to change position. I woke up properly when they served breakfast. I passed on this particular pleasure. I very rarely eat breakfast anyway and airline breakfast is not something I can stomach. While people had their breakfast, I read my book and soon the announcement came that we had started our descent into Manchester.

    Immigration and baggage claim was reasonably quick and we were soon on our way home. We decided to make our way home by train and tram. We did not have to wait long for our train and I spent the short journey catching up with my emails and Facebook. When we got to the tram stop, our tram was about due as well so this was very quick and painless.

    When we got home, we had a nice surprise. We had a bit of an issue with a leak for a while, but nobody could figure out where it came from. This started to get worse a month or so before the trip and was pretty impressive the evening before we left. The management company had trouble contacting our upstairs neighbour. We had left a key with our building manager in case they needed access while we were gone. Well, the leak had been fixed and our hallway had been repainted. They even repaired a small hole in the wall that we made when we were moving in.

    We put our luggage in the living room and then went to bed to get some sleep. Another wonderful holiday had come to an end.
     

    Pinkocto

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 22, 2011
    Thank you for sharing your latest adventure, that was fabulous!

    How nice the flights were relatively painless and getting home smooth. Wonderful that the leak was fixed and a bonus repair done :)

    It almost looked like you were flying through a rainbow to Chicago.
     

    PrincessInOz

    Thanks for my avatar, Mary Jo!
    Joined
    Feb 8, 2010
    Glad you had a relatively easy time heading home. Although I would have been a bit stressed by the change in departure time! Just as well you got to the airport early.

    Nice pictures from the plane.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Thanks for sharing, I look forward to the next TR
    Thanks for following along. The new trip report will definitely not get started until the new year as I will be very busy when I get back, but it will be worth waiting for.

    Thank you for sharing your latest adventure, that was fabulous!

    How nice the flights were relatively painless and getting home smooth. Wonderful that the leak was fixed and a bonus repair done :)

    It almost looked like you were flying through a rainbow to Chicago.
    Thanks for reading. The rainbow effect was caused by the windows, but it does look pretty.

    Glad you had a relatively easy time heading home. Although I would have been a bit stressed by the change in departure time! Just as well you got to the airport early.

    Nice pictures from the plane.
    Thanks for reading along. We always tend to be at the airport well ahead of time. I suppose working for an airline focuses your mind in that regard.

    Corinna
     

    jedijill

    Chiefs fan living in Bronco country
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2005
    Too bad your trip had to come to an end but sounds like the flights all went smoothly. I can't wait to read about your next adventure!

    Jill in CO
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Too bad your trip had to come to an end but sounds like the flights all went smoothly. I can't wait to read about your next adventure!

    Jill in CO
    Thanks for reading along. That is the drawback with doing a trip report, when it is finished it feels like the holiday is over for a second time.

    Corinna
     



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