A touch down of 2 days only, when returning back from Israel on Aug 4th, got us geared
It was the first time our daughter Inbal released to our complete custody, her 6 years old son - Leo - with whom we flew back to the US.
Spending this special one week with our oldest grandson, in Legoland, Sea World and Whale watching, without his parents, was our summer present to him, for graduating kindergarten and starting first grade.
The idea came to fruition, after we already had our return business class tickets.
Leo's seat, on the segment to Istanbul, was in an economy class, The Turkish Air stewardesses, on the plane didn't like that David and I alternate our sitting, back in Economy, while keeping Leo next to one of us, in business.
At the Club -Layover in Istanbul
Thus to avoid the inconveniences, and guaranteeing sleep for all, on the long flight section to SFO, we upgraded Leo's seat to business, while on a lay-over at the enormous lounge in Istanbul, so we could be all together .
The little fellow, for whom it was the first time sitting in this luxury cabin, was in "seven heaven", basking in all the special attention and services given throughout the long flight.
2 days after landing in SFO
Leo, who apparently, inherited his grandparents "travel Genes" was up and ready to fly again, to San Diego
Kids Lego-Heaven Hotel
Out of the 2 hotels offering accommodation, right by the main Legoland Park entrance,
At the Legoland Resort Hotel
The hotel's entrance is made of Lego,
the hotel's corridors and rooms are decorated with children's popular story themes and figures, all made of Lego and the entire hotel's lobby is full of Lego blocks, for kids to play all day long and late eve.
Breakfast at the Hotel - plenty of the
worst American food, adults should stay
Waffles and Pancakes - all
your kid can eat..
At Legoland Park
The special privilege of staying at the Legoland Resort Hotel is, that Park's entry for hotel's guests, is aloud an hour earlier - at 9:00am instead of 10:00am when it opens to the general public and this gets really mobbed.
The huge theme Park contains many roller coaster rides, competitive games, water
activities, creative models and sculptures made of Lego, and plenty of junk food stands.,,
It seemed, that within the 2 full days spent, long hours, at this "Never Never Land" ,
we were the only Grand Parents, with a Grandchild (without his parents) from among the large pool of parental crowd, accompanying their kids, during the last weeks of this summer's vacation.
And no wonder .... one needs an amazing amount of energy and good will to strategize the time spent, to push one way through the crowd, stay in long lines, and run from one activity to another fulfilling the kid's whims..
Lets be clear...
Leo is a real sweet heart, very much worth this pleasurable effort, not to forget his kin-soul grandpa, who was right at his element through these thrilling experiences..
Each day at Legoland is enormously expensive, - so it’s worthwhile buying the $30-$50-$100 per person "shorten the line pass" (30%-50%~90%) .
We bought the 50$ pp and in this way we managed to do the 5 roller coaster rides that Leo and Grandpa loved, and other “long line “stations with Leo and Grandma, in one day instead of an extra day..
Getting first on all the high in demand Roller Coasters rides, with Grandpa was the first thrilling priority.
Then calming down with more age appropriate fun rides on one's own
Proudly posing with the newly acquired "Driving License" after passing the carting "Driving school"
After taking Safari ride, Egyptian Treasure hunt shooting, Fairy Tale exploration, and driving: cars, boats, helicopters, and Pirate ships, checking some Lego figures was next
Posing by an amazing Lego made creatures
And "traveling" by amazing Lego made Iconic Structures
The Great Finale at the Legoland Water Park
No Fear of Flying - Meeting Cousin Paul
While down in the area, I took my chances and wrote a spontaneous note about our visit to cousin Paul, who I have not seen for many years, though recently learnt, that he has been actually following up on my travel writing, as well as indicated his enjoyment.
Mind you, cousin Paul has been for some time Chief of Cardiology, Scripps Clinic, Medical Director Scripps Prebys Cardiovascular Institute, in La-Jolla, San Diego, and is most talented, esteemed busy doctor, whom I have known since our teen years, when I visited the US, for the first time (1968) and was so kindly hosted by his loving family.
Paul's late father Al, who was also an amazing human being and most esteemed Doctor, had treated Aliza Begin (wife of Menachem Begin - 6th Prime minister of Israel) who was a heavy chain smoker, when she was especially hospitalized at the Pulmonary unit which Dr. Al was heading, at Mt. Sinai NYC
I was thrilled when Paul responded, and was thoroughly amazed when he immediately called on Sunday afternoon (his day off) and insisted on taking our Leo for a real plane ride over Legoland and San Diego.
After apologizing for not able to take us all for a ride, as his larger private plane was in treatment, Paul flew from La-Jolla to the McClellan-Palomar airport in Carlsbad, showing up 20 minutes later, with his shiny quint 2 sitter plane
When I asked Leo if he wants to go on a ride in a real private plane, with someone he never met before, Leo really took his time to think this unexpected unusual offer over.
So I nudged him a little...
I was in a real dilemma if to call his parents for getting permission, or just risk the decision of letting Leo fly away. It was after 2:00am at night in Israel, and I didn't have the heart to wake up Leo's parents, nor start negotiations about this marvelous offer coming from Paul, who especially made the time, to take Leo on one of a kind adventure.
So we let the pilot and his little brave assistant to take off on this 25 minutes short flight, which seemed to us, waiting down for their return, at the airport, as a long endless hour.
Leo probably will never forget this special flight experience, which will become more amazing along with his maturation and understanding the uniqueness of the adventure and of meeting Paul.
After the plane safely returned with the excited Leo, we thoroughly enjoyed catching up, at the airport, with Paul and his unusual professional life,
So Thank you, again, Paul, for your kindness and for making the time, on the spare of the moment, for a kid you met by extension, for the first time, just because he is close to our hearts.
2 days in Legoland was definitely plenty, even for our Leo, so the plan was venturing onto a Whale watching tour, which was offered by a recommended operator in the area :
Ocean Side adventures - Luxury Cruises
+1 888.507. 1130 , +1 760 722 4977 firstname.lastname@example.org
Departing from 256 Harbor Drive South,Oceanside, by the old LightHouse
We stocked up for a picnic on the bought, on fantastic Fish and Chips from the old and famous establishment at the harbor :
and boarded our tour at noon.
2 hours long cruise on a beautiful fast Catamaran, with a very dedicated informed staff, took us way into the open ocean, where we encountered huge schools of mainly Dolphins, some whales, sea lions, and definitely many sea birds ...
Sea World Theme Park
What was missed in nature, at the open ocean, we caught up with , at Sea World
500 Sea World Drive, San Diego, +1 (619) 222-4732.
It is one of the largest amusement parks, offering extreme roller coaster rides, up-close animal encounters, animals presentations shows, and exhibits.
The visit took place on our last day in San Diego, which was also one of the hottest day.
As Leo's appetite for roller coaster rides was satiated at Legoland, it was easy for him to give up the belly wrenching rides, which were offered at Sea World, and which are more gratifying especially to masochists...
Instead we concentrated on exhibits and animal shows.
At the Dolphin and Sea lion Shows
Visiting the San Diego Harbor
Last hours at he San Diego Harbor
And not too happy about this popular Italian restaurant:
Officine Buona Forchetta 619 5485770
2867 Sims Road- at an Historic neighborhood of Liberty Station - a mixed-use development on the waterfront in Point Loma, grounded in military tradition, dating back to the 1920s.
The former Naval Training Center is now a quaint urban village, fun to visit. It is a home to a dynamic ARTS DISTRICT, Liberty Public Market, restaurants, and shops,
Leo reunited with his mother and sister upon returning to North Ca, and continued his travel to Mexico for a 3 days visit of his other set of Grand Parents, Then he continued to Washington DC, for his aunt's Jewish wedding, until finally he returned to Israel, with his parents, right at the end of this summer memorable vacation, and on time for the opening of the new school year, ready for his first day
at First Grade.