Wednesday I woke up ready to tackle Balboa Park.
I hopped on my bike and began the ride a few short blocks east to the park. Holy.hills. I thought my legs were going to fall off and become embers from the amount of burn. I actually had to get off and walk at some point because the hill was way too steep. Mountains in SD? Who knew?
Balboa Park is huge, with tons of shops, museums and gardens. The main attraction is the San Diego Zoo, so I decided to go there first.
I’m normally not a huge fan of zoos. In fact, I dislike most of them. I’m not crazy about animals and I’m definitely not crazy about gawking at them. I was initially super uncomfortable in the zoo, but I loosened up and quickly learned to enjoy my time there.
Poor Loris! She’s so slow.
This koala was moving when I walked up the exhibit, the only one doing so. Everyone around me was projecting their thoughts onto the koala; it was pretty hilarious. One guy thought the koala looked hungry, another thought he was sleepy, someone else thought he was scared. People would vocalize what they perceived the koala’s thought process to be: “maybe I should move over to this log where there are more leaves!” Obviously there was no way to tell what the koala was actually thinking so it was entertaining to hear different perspectives.
Fine! I’ll go away!
This bird was pretty terrifying. It was huge and walking around on two legs like a person. So creepy! I don’t even remember what it was.
This monkey was soooo sad looking! He was in the corner, just hanging out in the fetal position. All the monkeys got fed after I took that picture though, so he perked up. The monkeys were hands down my favorite part. They are so fascinating to watch!
After the zoo, I biked around the park and took in the sights.
Lunch at a random cafe: vegetable panini on foccacia bread.
I met up with Sam at the Museum of Photographic Arts, which was tres cool. We got to see several daguerrotypes, which absolutely delighted my inner photography nerd.
Then Sam took some photographs, newly inspired by our museum visit. He’s getting good!
We sprawled out on the grass and I read a bit from a book I picked up at the zoo. You didn’t think I would leave empty handed, did you? Gotta have my books!
The park is absolutely gorgeous. There’s much more to do than we can pack in one day, but we were short on time and starving at this point.
We ended up at Cucina Urbana, yet another Italian place where we had wine and a bunch of appetizers.
This gnocchi was hands down, the best gnocchi I’ve ever had in my life. It was slightly crispy on the outside and buttery, melty on the inside. It was absolutely pooled in butter and topped with cheese and crispy sage leaves. I may go back to San Diego solely for this gnocchi. No. Seriously. It was that good.
Sam was getting sick of being vegetarian so he ordered octopus (gross!).
We also split ravioli with tomatoes and peas.
And a super blurry arugula pear balsamic pizza.
Thank goodness the bike ride back to the hotel was all downhill!