Days 17 and 18: Joshua Tree and San Diego

Sunrise at Skull Rock

I woke early to catch the sunrise across Scull Rock.
It was pretty cool to be out in the desert for the sunrise, one of the most proactive times of day for people to cram a few hours of rock climbing in before the midday heat kicks in.

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I hiked a couple of the smaller treks before continuing my drive down to Yucca Valley, where I stocked up on various supplies for my journey further South to San Diego.
Joshua Tree was pretty cool; definitely worth a couple of days visit- more so if you are really into rock climbing. The camps are pretty great and attract a lot of families and groups of friends, looking to escape the surrounding cities.
But now I’m heading to San Diego. It’s also the weekend of Cinco de Mayo- a big Mexican festival and a national holiday in some states. As San Diego is the closest city to the Mexican border I can imagine this will be one hell of a party!

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San Diego 

3 hours later and I’m driving along Broadway street in the Gaslamp district- the heart of San Diego- where dozens of banners are promoting the weekend activities for Cinco de Mayo.
I check into my hostel- USA Hostel; Generally you can’t go wrong with the USA hostel branch, they attract a pretty young crowd, have a ton of activities and are akin to a good party.
I get decent advice on what to see during the day, sign up for a load of activities at night including a bar crawl through the Gaslamp and am even offered a full day and night trip to Tijuana in Mexico and back.
Tempting as the trip is, I have barely 2 full days in San Diego and I want to be able to kick back and ‘drink it in’- so to speak.

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Petco Park and Downtown 

After taking a walk around the Gaslamp and Broadway districts of downtown San Diego, I head back to the hostel with the intention to head to the world famous San Diego Zoo. However my intentions are thwarted, partially by the fact that a ticket to the zoo was in the region on $50 and mostly because there was a group of people in the lobby asking if anyone wanted to get tickets to the ‘Padres’ Baseball game for $10.
The stadium is smack in the middle of town- only 5 minutes from our hostel and our group of 6 get tickets for the ‘bleachers’ the cheapest seats, where everyone is there just to party.
I cant remember who the ‘Padres’ played, but they won and we made a good time of it!
With the game finished, we stocked up on more drink and headed back to the hostel- where drinking games were already in full fettle. Our small group turned into a sizeable army of drunken foreigners, as we took the the streets and crawled through the bars of downtown San Diego.

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It was a class night in a class city! There are an absolute ton of bars and food-stops that line the Gaslamp district; some on roof tops, some underground and many that open out onto the tram-lined streets; They were all only too happy to offer up various happy hours, free Margaritas, shots and tacos to lure us in; Cinco De Mayo isn’t even until two days- it must get super crazy then!!

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Cinco de Mayo in the Gaslamp

The next day I woke with the objective to jog along the Harbour.
When I left the hostel to walk down the street, I found myself at the heart of the weekend-long festival; Hundreds of people dressed as Mexicans and hitting the restaurants and bars along the Gaslamp for Brunch and booze- it had only just passed 10 am!
I managed to see my jog through and made it round to the various warships and battle fleets that line the coves of San Diego, before getting lost on an entirely different route back to the Gaslamp.

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I spent the majority of the day immersed in the festival in the downtown districts, stuffing myself with incredible Mexican food and making good use of the Margarita and cocktail happy hours. It was a well deserved blowout for the past week of living like a caveman- albeit in some of the most incredible places on the planet!

 

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I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend in San Diego and have to say that it did well to live up to its profound, cult-hit, reputation as ‘the greatest city on Earth’.
I only scratched the surface and there are so many districts that I don’t have time to explore, but I would definitely return and spend a good week around the area. Trendy bars, vibrant streets, parks, beaches, the sea, old town, new town, Ron Burgundy and stunning Mexican food are just a handful of reasons to visit this youthful city! Next up L.A! Stay Classy San Diego!

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