I’ve never visited the states before so when the Plasso team planned our first team week I knew it would be a great chance to explore San Diego. This was my first ever visit to the states and I came with high expectations – thankfully it was better than I ever imagined.
I came to San Diego a few days before our team week so I could spend a few days downtown before heading up to Carlsbad, where the Plasso office is.
My planned route was London Heathrow to San Diego. The flight was gruelling to say the least. Unless you’re going via first class, no 11 hour flight will be pleasant. I downloaded tons of movies and tv episodes to find that I had forgotten my lightning to 3.5mm adapter for my iPhone 7. Thanks Apple.
I wore my Common Projects for the trip. Easily the most comfortable pair of shoes I’ve ever worn. They were the perfect shoes for my trip there. I didn’t wear the CP’s once I got to San Diego though, I mainly wore my Vans.
I bought the battery pack for the iPhone 7 specifically for this trip. I’m one of those people that get super anxious when the battery level gets below 20%. The battery pack saved me quite a few times and was very useful for the whole trip. I didn’t run out of battery once but I did charge every night to make sure that never happened.
I don’t travel often at all but from visiting other airports in the past, Heathrow is ginormous. I also love how modern and clean it feels. I know places like Singapore and Dubai are much more extravagant – will have to visit those places one day.
When I arrived it was dark and late so I didn’t get a chance to shoot many pictures. I went straight to the hotel instead. I stayed at the Kimpton Hotel Palomar for three nights. It’s definitely on the pricey side, costing me £1386.32 for three nights but it’s easily one of the best hotels you could stay downtown. It’s incredibly luxurious and the people there are very catering.
I booked the room hoping for the standalone tub but found a normal shower instead. I called asking if I could have a room with a tub and the next day all of my belongings were moved without question.
The room was absolutely incredible. If you pay for one of their higher options like I did, you get a balcony with what may be one of the best views of San Diego. The room had a very nice luxurious feel with a huge bed, arm chair, desk and a large HD TV which I was easily able to connect my MacBook to.
The bathroom was awesome with the marble sink and standalone tub. However it was also set up pretty weirdly. The long narrow window you see there by the tub is actually a window that sees into the room, next to the bed and opposite the walk-in-closet. Even with the blind down, anyone else in the room could easily see you take a dump! There’s also no lock on the door for the bathroom. Not sure what they were thinking. If you’re sharing this room, you’ve got to be super comfortable with the other person.
By far the best thing about the room is views you get of San Diego. I could easily sit on the balcony and just look out for hours, there is so much to see and hear.
You can see Coronado island in the distance and the bridge connecting the island to the city.
The only thing that ruined the view was the dirty windows. I’m sure it’s not easy keeping them clean though because it’s so high up. Can’t really fault Kimpton here, just the way things are sometimes.
The picture above was shot on my iPhone 7! Was amazed at how well it came out considering the lighting situation.
You get some amazing views of sunset and sunrise from the balcony.
San Diego also looks stunning at night. It seems to have a life of its own. The city really does come alive at night, you can hear music everywhere and it’s great watching lights flicker all over the place.
There is also a pool at the hotel which you can see from the balcony. I never had a chance to go in it though.
We get fog in the UK quite often but seeing it San Diego when you’re so high is a bit of a shock. It’s pretty eery actually. Sometimes the fog is so thick in the morning you can’t see anything. It does look great when it mixes with sunrise or sunset though.
There’s pretty great street art in some spots. I was very surprised how little graffiti there was. It’s all over the place in the UK. San Diego is very clean in comparison.
As expected, the roads are huge. I also love how you can’t just step out and cross the road, otherwise you could get fined. You have to wait for the signal. I wish it were like that in the UK – I’ve lost count of how many close calls I’ve had with people walking out into the road.
My first visit was to the infamous San Diego zoo. I couldn’t really get any good pics of the animals because I didn’t have the right equipment. Also the pics never do the animals justice. You have to see them in real life to experience it. The zoo is very big and takes a while to see everything. There’s tons to do and at $50 for an all day pass, it’s pretty reasonably priced. It’s also a non-profit so all of your money goes to good causes.
This was on the way to Coronado island, along the bridge. You can see the bridge in one of my earlier pics in this post. The island operates as its own city even though it’s so close to downtown. Also due to the demand of living on the island the housing is ludicrously expensive. My uber driver was telling me that the average house price is around $1.5 million!
You get a pretty awesome view of the bay from the bridge.
Due to the beach on Coronado island facing west, you get to see a beautiful sunset. It’s a pretty magical and special place. There’s also various very expensive restaurants along the beach. If you have money to spend, I’d definitely recommend eating at one of them. Having dinner on the beach whilst watching the sunset is incredible and not something you get to do often.
There was an awesome sand castle artist who put together some very detailed sculptures. Though I don’t know why there’s a Microsoft logo on this one, maybe he was sponsored by them.
On the ground floor of the Kimpton hotel there’s a restaurant called the Saltbox. It’s very well priced and the food there is amazing. I especially loved their fruit bowls which were very refreshing for breakfast.
A spot which many places recommended visiting was La Jolla Cove. It’s out of the city so requires a quick uber journey. As soon as I got there I could see why it was a hotspot.
At the time I went the tides were in so I wasn’t able to explore some of the tide pools but it was awesome nonetheless. The water is incredibly blue and looks so clean. It’s great just sitting on one of the benches and taking it all in.
The day I was there the waves were huge. They were crashing into this little walkway you see in the pic above. No one dared walking along it incase they were smashed by the waves.
Suddenly in the afternoon, the fog started rolling in. The fog only stayed for an hour or so but it completely changed the look of the place. It looked like something straight out of a movie.
In typical California fashion, there are super cars everywhere. I saw quite a few Ferrari’s every day. California is just the perfect place for such a car.
I noticed there were a ton of Mustangs, many more than I expected. I thought the Mustang was a more luxury and exclusive car but they were everywhere. It seems to be your everyday sports car in Cali.
I did pretty much everything touristy to do in San Diego by my third day there, so I just browsed the city before heading up to Carlsbad to spend Monday to Friday with the team.
Most of Monday with the team was spent exploring around Carlsbad. We went to the pier in Oceanside, right by where they shot Top Gun.
This was the ceiling of one of the offices by Plasso. I thought it looked pretty neat!
Obviously I had to try out some In-n-Out burger while in Cali. It was just as greasy and fatty as I expected, but boy was it glorious.
Legoland was nearby so it was only right to visit. I didn’t take too many pics of Legoland but these lego structures were super impressive.
Sea life was right by Legoland and that was probably my favourite part of going to Legoland! Jellyfish are by far my favourite fish so I was ecstatic seeing them in real life. I’d fell in love with them since seeing Seven Pounds (film).
Don’t worry guys, I’ve found Nemo. Dory was in here too but she kept getting distracted.
For dinner we went to Karl Strauss which is renown for its beer. However I don’t drink beer but I did get a lemonade. Imagine my shock when I find that the lemonade isn’t carbonated. In the UK you very rarely find flat lemonade unless you specifically look for it in a superstore.
However I was pleasantly surprised at the flat lemonade and it changed my mind completely. It was one of the tastiest and most refreshing drinks I’d ever had. I wish we UK restaurants served more flat lemonades like Karl Strauss.
We didn’t do much else for the rest of the week except work on launching the new Plasso.
This was my very last picture of California before heading back. I think it perfectly portrays what California is all about – amazing weather all the time and super relaxed.
California was more than I ever expected. The weather is perfect everyday, everybody is so chilled and everyone is super nice. If you ever get a chance to go to SoCal, do it, you won’t regret it. I’m already looking forward to my next trip out there, whenever that may be.
If I were to make this trip any better it would be to get a cheaper hotel, hire a car and just explore as much as possible. California weather begs you to be outside all the time so it’s worth hiring a car for the week and being out everyday.
All pictures were shot with my Panasonic GM1. Lenses used are the 20mm f/1.7 and 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6.