Our week's agenda would be to check out Ensenada's great seafood, explore Rosarito up the coast, tour the Guadalupe Valley wineries, watch some amazing sunsets...and celebrate my birthday!
Since we traveled and arrived on my birthday, as soon as we got the RVs parked and leveled, Hans and Ursula asked where I'd like to go celebrate. The rain clouds were rolling in and it became noticeably cooler. So what comfort food does a Chicago girl crave when it's cold and dreary? PIZZA!
Fortunately, Ensenada had a great little pizza place right downtown-- Geppetto's. I was treated to a great pizza (even for Mexico), and a big pitcher of sangria (because, this IS Mexico). No pictures of the evening, though-- we were too busy stuffing our faces and then trying to dodge the pouring rain! But here's a shot from the web of someone else's trip to Geppetto's....
Sunshine returned the next day-- a perfect day for a walking trip to explore the downtown area more thoroughly. Ensenada is a popular cruise ship port, and on this day, a thousand-or-so passengers from this cruise ship were also flooding the town with Gringos.
But, no worries-- plenty for all to enjoy. Kids and parents were having a great time at the city park...
while we enjoyed some window-shopping...
I got a chuckle out of a few of the businesses in town-- the Cactus Liquor Store's donkey...
and these 2 stores amusingly side by side-- of course, chocolate is better than sex, so it's a much bigger store!
For lunch, we decided to try one of Ensenada's best food carts, Mariscos El Güero.
I wanted to try their famous seafood ceviche (served on a crunchy tostada), but as we were waiting to order, and noticing numerous locals eating their seafood out of a cup, one of them convinced us to try the seafood cocktail instead. After a few minutes of navigating El Güero's "unique" system of ordering and paying (no signs-- you just ask one of the other patrons which employee to stand behind for what you want to get!), we watched the fresh shrimp, fish, clams, and mussels being prepared for our lunches.
It all looked and tasted extremely fresh. But I have to admit, that I've never been a fan of tomato juice, so this particular concoction was not as enjoyable as the tostada's would have likely been. Oh well, at least I tried!
Our next day, we decided to take a day trip to Rosarito, about 45 minutes north of Ensenada. We took the inland libre (free) 2-lane road going there and it was a gorgeous drive through the lush, green coastal hills. We spotted this curious sight at one of the vineyards-- 2 old boats? or the makings of an Arc?
Rosarito's beach is lined with condo high-rises and it's downtown seemed just like one long strip of tourist shops and restaurants. We checked out one of the downtown beaches that was buzzing with activity on this busy Sunday afternoon, but the black sand and mass of humanity was a bit of a turn-off.
Luckily, our noses led us to a jam-packed side street to discover Rosarito's one redeeming asset-- Tacos El Yacqui. I'm not a big meat-eater, but I do occasionally make exceptions and this was the time and place to do so. The smell from the carne asada and peppers being roasted on an open air wood-fired grill was simply impossible to resist!
Especially considering that you must stand in a (long) line right next to this grill waiting to place your order!
Finally, it was our turn at the front of the line to watch the guys prepare our "perrones"-- fresh flour tortillas lined with melted cheese, pinto beans, onions, cilantro, guacamole and delicious carne asada. I doubt anyone can stay a vegetarian in this town!
We drove back to Ensenada along the Cuota (toll) road hugging the rugged coastline. This section of road has been washed away and rebuilt a couple of times now-- Mother Nature, apparently, doesn't like the Mexican highway system paving her masterpiece!
One weekday, Ursula and I did a quick trip up Highway 3 towards Tecate to the Guadalupe Valley. This is "Baja's Napa Valley" and has dozens of vineyards making some great wines.
We checked out the largest of the bunch, L.A. Cetto, near the town of Guadalupe. They had a gorgeous tasting room, both inside and out!
I'd love to report more exciting outings from our week, but I unfortunately caught a humdinger of a head cold and spent most of the rest of the week inside my RV. Thankfully, the views were quite healing and spectacular!
As much as we would have liked to stay longer, Hans, Ursula, and I had financial obligations to attend to back in the U.S. so we bid our little Ramona Beach farewell at the end of our week, and headed back to the border. Hasta Luego Baja! Thanks for a month of warm and wonderful beaches!