Tennessee & San Diego
One of my friends is going to vet school in Knoxville, TN so I decided to visit for the week and it ended up turning into a two week trip going from Knoxville to Nashville and finally to San Diego!
I didn't take many pictures in Knoxville but it was very farmy (if that's not a word then it should be). The vet school was a brand new facility with top of the line labs. I have no interest in being a vet but I was super jealous of those labs! Besides touring the school, I basically just indulged myself in southern BBQ for the first time and it definitely lived upto the hype.
After a bit of a drive (~3 hours) we made it to Nashville and checked into our prestigious hotel; the Fiddler's Inn. We had a day or two before some other friends were meeting us for the weekend so we explored the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center which was quite a sight. With multiple atriums, an indoor river with gondola rides, a bunch of restaurants, & so much more, I really wished we stayed there (no offense Fiddler's). Seriously google this place though, I'll give you a minute... Amazing right?!
I didn't want to leave the resort but we had tickets to a country concert at the Grand Ole Opry featuring Rascall Flats! Bad news first, Rascall ditched us! Good news, everyone else were so awesome I couldn't have cared less (plus one of them was Darius Rucker which didn't hurt). The Opry is a legendary country music venue & if you ever get the chance, I highly recommend trying to get tickets to any show there.
With the weekend upon us and the gang all together, it was time to explore the legendary Nashville nightlife. Over Saturday and Sunday I think we managed to hit the major hot spots, hopping bar to bar with no cover (oh how I miss no cover charges...). Some of my favourites include Tootsies with it's half open air third floor, Tequila Cowboy for playing my club music, and last but not least Honky Tonk with three levels of greatness and some of the best live music. We also managed to book a last minute Peddle Tavern ride which was a cool experience. I only got a weekend there but Nashville secured the number one spot in my list of best nightlife with its bar packed Broadway, talented musicians, no covers, and BBQ food to recover from the long nights.
The trip was gonna end after Nashville but some of us still had a few more days off so we decided to fly out to San Diego. I always considered myself a lifelong East Coast boy but I must admit San Diego won me over. Perfect weather year round, beaches and beautiful hiking spots just a short ride away, and a pretty chill vibe makes me dream of moving out there (especially when Winter comes around).
Our first stop was the world renowned San Diego Zoo & Safari Park. The zoo & safari park are separate things & are pretty expensive so we went for the safari park which was bigger and more like an animal reserve than the normal zoos we had been to. After a whole day exploring the massive park, seeing gorillas monkey around (see what I did there), basically every animal imaginable, & the highlight of the day, the cheetah run!
With the Safari Park fully explored, we moved onto some of San Diego's popular hiking spots. You can't hike in San Diego and not take a picture at the Potato Chip Rock! It was basically just walking up a paved road but it was super steep and I started wishing San Diego was a little cooler. Even with the steep hike, you can expect a line at the top to get a photo on the rock. We hiked a few more spots that led down to a beach which was a nice melding of two of San Diego's finer features.
Last stop, La Jolla (pronounced, and always my first spelling of it, Lahoya), a beautiful seaside area. The parking situation was horrible so such find a garage and get onto the good stuff. One of the most popular spots in La Jolla is the beach where you can walk right upto sea lions as they basque in the sun. After you are done watching sea lions sleep (because it seems like that's all they do), I recommend renting some bikes & riding up and down the coastline to get a good feel for La Jolla.
I was sad to leave San Diego but glad to get to my normal life after two weeks away. What was supposed to be a short trip turned into my longest vacation so far and by the end I could barely remember everything I did in Tennessee! I will definitely be going back to Nashville and hopefully San Diego.