California and My Favorite Things

The final countdown has begun, we leave in just over a week! 

Apart from soaking up as much time with family and friends as possible, Jacob and I have been spending any remaining bits of free time making the most of San Diego. 

Soon, all of the "commonplace" things we take for granted will become rare and exotic experiences, just as they were when I first moved out to San Diego 9 years ago. Soon, we won't be in spitting distance of the Pacific. Palm trees, fish tacos, and orange groves will be a thing of the past. Instead, we will be in a land of coffee houses and Sachertorte, grand old buildings and Viennese waltzes.  

In honor of appreciating the things I took for granted, here are a list of my favorite San Diego things: 

1. The Pacific

San Diego Beach

The water has been miraculously warm lately, I've swam more this summer than I have in years. Not to mention we skipped a lot of the doom and gloom of May and June, so the beach pretty much looks like paradise.  

2. Camping in the Mountains

San Diego Mountains 1

A couple of weekends ago we joined Jacob's parents at their camping spot in the mountains. Camping with the Frischknechts has always been an exciting experience for me. Whereas I went camping once as a child before my parents determined they would go "hoteling" from then on, the Frischknechts are veteran campers. And as any friend of theirs knows, their style of camping prefers French Press and Eggs Benedict over instant coffee and oatmeal for breakfast. Not to mention the spectacular scenery of the mountains itself. 

3. Avocados


Avocados are magical. They would probably be one of my desert island foods, assuming said island doesn't already produce avocados naturally. Growing up on the east coast where avocados were 1. rare, and 2. ridiculously expensive, it's a beautiful experience to simply walk into the backyard and pull an avocado off a tree. If you feel so inclined to send us care packages in Vienna, please feel free to ship us avocados. (I know that's illegal...semantics.) 

4. The Velodrome


The San Diego Velodrome is an unusual place. Some friends introduced it to us recently, a banked outdoor track where free bike races are held weekly. The Velodrome allows you to bring your own food and drink, so we always grab food to go and a couple of good local beers to enjoy the races. It's a refreshingly weird slice of San Diego culture with great people watching. 

5. Big Sky Sunsets


I had never seen the desert before moving out to California. I still distinctly remember driving through New Mexico, feeling like we had entered an surreal world with alien skies. I take for granted the huge skies of San Diego, but there is still nothing like seeing a sunset on the equivalent of an IMax screen, after growing up watching the sunset through gaps in the trees. I still question however, whether the "Green Flash" (a supposed flash of green light when the sun sets beyond the ocean horizon) actually exists.  

6. The Del Mar Races

Horse Races

I love going to the races. I love the air of tension and excitement, the gorgeous horses, and fleeting memories of a past time when old Hollywood stars graced the stands and wealthy patrons showered winning jockeys in money and flowers.  I always get butterflies in my stomach when a race begins, and making so much as a $2 bet is enough to have me screaming (along with everyone else) when the horses come down the final stretch. 

7. Seafood


Yes we will still have seafood in Austria, but not quite like we have it in San Diego. Here you can go down to the marinas and choose your fish as they are hauled off the boat. Here you have friends that go deep sea fishing and have extra sushi-grade Ahi they'll sell to you for $3 a pound. Or, like in the picture above, you can throw some trout on a smoker until the meat is falling of the bones, juicy and full of flavor. I'll never grow tired of seafood. 

8. Foggy Mornings at my Parent's House

Foggy Morning

The best part about my parent's house is the view. Just below the house lies Lake Hodges, with the mountains rising up on the other side. On cold mornings when the lake water is warmer than the outside air, a thick bank of fog rests on the lake, the mountain tops peaking up like islands in the sea until the fog dissipates in the sun. It's a sight worth getting up early for.