Wanderlust UK – September 2019

(Nancy Kaufman) #1
wanderlust.co.uk September 2019 155

With its abundance of wildlife, laid-back attitude and distinctive neighbourhoods, it’s
no wonder this California city has been going strong for 250 years, says Phoebe Smith

Before you arrive
Heavy metal music reverberated
around the bar as a man served
up avocado toast with a side
of barbecued jackfruit topped
with Tabasco. The walls – strewn
with photos of a topless male
goth clutching his cat – were
decked in chintzy wallpaper
and the sta busied around
a clientele of boardshort-wearing
surfers and well-dressed families.
If ever a scene summed up San
Diego, this was it.
Unashamedly di erent from
the other cities in The Golden
State, San Diego is where beach
meets business meets diversity.
First settled by the Kumeyaay
Nation, Europeans arrived later
to use it as a base, establishing
a mission in 1769 on what is the

birthplace of California. Yet San
Diego has escaped much of the
tourist spotlight. Most know the
city for its controversial SeaWorld
and San Diego Zoo, but it is home
to far more wildlife than that
con‚ined by man-made walls.
Away from the noise of the bar,
I soon saw its wild side ‚irst hand.
As the sound of growling sea
lions, breaching whales and the
call of circling peregrine falcons
took over, I realised that these
were the real rhythms of the city.

At the airport
San Diego International Airport
is around 5km from Downtown.
Unusually, on arrival you pick up
your hold luggage before passing
immigration. You’ll then ‚ind the
usual ATMs, exchange counters


Your cut-out and keep travel companion




Bay watch
A full moon rises
over the boats of
San Diego Harbour

  • a glorious end to
    a day in the wild city

“San Diego is a beautiful
city – whether you see it
from a kayak, by bike or by
walking the trails of Torrey
Pines. But there’s no better
view than from the air – as
the birds see it. All it takes
is the willingness to strap
yourself to someone like
me (andaparaglider) and
runoˆa liˆ .”
uctor at Torrey
s Gliderport

and tourist information booths,
as well as helpful ‘ambassadors’
(look for the blue polo shirts),
who can also answer questions.

Getting into town
The MTS buses (route 992)
run every 15 minutes and cost
US$2.25 (£1.75) for one-way
tickets and link to Santa Fe Depot
Trolley Station and Downtown,
the latter taking around 20
minutes. Taxis cost from around
US$20 to $25 (£16“20).

Other ways to arrive
Amtrak’s Paciic Surliner train
(amtrak.com) links San Luis
Obispo to San Diego, passing
through Santa Barbara and Los
Angeles en route. It’s a gloriously
sedate and scenic way to arrive. ⊲
Free download pdf