San Diego was a spontaneous move for us. We’d planned as far as L.A., Vegas and Virginia but struggled to know what to place in the middle. We’d hit week two of travelling and the long hours on buses and constant racing around new cities was slowly taking it out of us. San Diego seemed like the perfect little oasis to get our breath back and prepare for three nights in the city of Sin, Las Vegas. We booked a cheap motel, boarded another Greyhound and continued on down south.
San Diego as a city is kind of average but what it does have is Mission Beach Valley, a breath-taking stretch of sand that runs along the outskirts of the city. As you can guess, this is where we spent our two days. Like most places we’d been in the States, S.D. was not that walkable. It’s so strange as everything is actually 5 minutes apart but its all separated by huge highways making is difficult to get anywhere without a car. However, being broke students, Benji made it his mission to walk across the Valley and found a little section of the road that was supposedly marked for pedestrians with a painted on yellow line. I unwillingly followed, giving him a headache about how we were going to die on the motorways of San Diego, but we made it and it was worth the death wish hike.
Our motel, River Leaf Inn was located in Mission Valley and was a 5 minute Uber away from the boardwalk at the beach. After having an early night, we were refreshed and ready to chill by the sea. I say chill, I mean boil! That day it must’ve reached 40 degrees and we were slightly over heating. That’s where the Bird electric scooters came in handy. We’d notice the abundance of scooters left lying around the cities and with a bit of research found out they were electric and available to rent by anyone via an app. We decided to test them out and honestly it was the best way to see the coastline. We had so much fun whizzing along the boardwalk and it only ended up coasting us $7 for an hour and a half. On our scooter adventure we came across the margarita holy grail, Baja Beach Cafe. When I say they were selling frozen margs the size of my head I’m not exaggerating!
Shattered after our day in the sun, but too hungry to go back to the motel, we ventured into what San Diego is possibly most famous for; the Old Town. Modelled to replicate an olden day Mexican village, the Old Town has tons of restaurants and live music playing in a big square. We chose to eat at Rockin Baja Lobster and had the most amazing lobster rolls – would highly recommend!
Our stay in S.D. finished as quickly as it came around and the next morning it was check out at 9 am. Having not booked the Greyhound to Vegas until 8pm that night, we had a lot of time to kill and I finally managed to wrangle a trip to the mall. Mission Valley is home to a great beach but along with that it also has a massive mall. Fashion Valley was a 15 min walk from our motel and it did not disappoint. We ended up hanging around there for most of the day and then when Benji had finally had enough we decided to head to the cinema to watch Jonny English. After hours of procrastinating and time killing we gave in and headed back Downtown to the bus station.
Here’s where things got interesting…
As we all now know, Greyhound buses are not the most desirable form of transport. However the S.D. station has to be one of the most memorable experiences of the trip. Firstly it was open air and very small. We were sat in this little pen manned by a security guard for the guts of three hours so it’s fair to say we got to know our neighbours pretty well! What we saw at this station left us baffled and I can’t say I’m any more clear on what was going on sitting here writing this. As we were sitting in the station a mass of people came running up to the ticket desk all clutching plastic folders. The first wave of people were all female and children. This may not sound that strange but when they came closer and asked us for money in Spanish we couldn’t help but notice the ankle tag sealed around their legs. The black flashing monitors were on every adult that came in after that, men included. After some Googling we could only guess that they were refugees from Mexico hoping to be allowed on one of the buses which they were three people at a time. It was all very strange and my heart went out to them!
The bus journey was tactically over night to save costs on accommodation (our funds were very much dwindling by this point) and so we arrived in Las Vegas at 5 am with a hotel check in time of 10am. With 5 hours to kill, zero sleep and massive luggage to pull behind us we fell in to the Uber in search of a place to wait it out.
*San Diego is a great holiday location if you want a few days to relax on the beach and stay low-key. I would definitely recommend a trip here if you’re heading State side!