Tours, travels, hikes and journeys!

Archive for March, 2015

Balboa Park Flowers March 2015

Spring has come to San Diego and Balboa Park. I love walking by all the flowers and smelling the ones that have a scent.

Last Sat. evening I attended an art opening at Studio 21, in Spanish Village. The exhibition was entitled “Art…it’s elemental”. This was an all members show. Each member was given the same size board and one of four elements…earth, air, fire, water. That was the starting point and from there inspiration and creativity sprung forth. There were a variety of techniques from sculptures, watercolor, mixed media, papers, tiles, photographs and others. I didn’t want to take pictures of the art work due to copyright. I did however wander outside to take pictures of some flowers in the planter boxes in the Spanish Village. 4 of them are Freesia…my favorite scent and 1 of an Amaryllis. If you have the time, go check out the art show. It will be there until April 13th.

4. more multi color freesia

3 various color freesia

5 more white freesia

2 white freesia

1 amarylis

Then on Tuesday, I met a friend at the park and we wandered through the rose garden and the succulent garden. Here are some photos of the roses.







Then we wandered over to the Botanical Building to see the various orchids displayed throughout the building.





Thanks for joining me on this flower journey. If you are in San Diego, please check out the Spanish Village and all its art studios. There are artists at work, many mediums, lovely pieces for sale. Also, check out the Rose garden and succulent gardens on the east side of Park Ave. across the street from the big fountain and the Fleet Science Center. The Botanical building is always fun to walk through, and there are often musicians set up outside, between the building and the pretty long pool in front of the building.

Happy Spring everyone!

Japanese Friendship Garden, Balboa Park, San Diego, CA

On March 17th, I visited the Japanese Friendship Garden. I had been there once before but it had been 1 1/2 years ago and there have been several expansions and improvements since I was there last time.

The Japanese Friendship Garden started in 1915 for the Panama-California Exposition, as a Tea house. It has now expanded to 11 acres, still under development. It has a tea house with food and teas, an exhibition building, a koi pond, a Wisteria arbor, a Camilla and Azalea garden, a meditation garden, cherry tree orchards, a stream, bridges, a bonsai display and other features. A new multipurpose building is almost complete and work continues on the canyon area with walkways, a stream, some bridges, meditation areas and a waterfall that is not complete yet. Another building in the works is to be a restaurant and traditional tea house. The plan is to have a pavilion for up to 300 patrons, an amphitheater, and a tea and herb garden.

Here is the entrance to the Japanese Friendship garden:


Here is a sculpture that is near the entrance:


Here is the side of the exhibition building and some of the Bonsai display:


The koi pond is a very popular spot:


This is near the beginning of the trails that lead down into the canyon. I’m glad that I visited while the cherry blossom trees were in bloom. You can see the new multipurpose room down below:


There are many meandering paths throughout the garden, both at the top and into the canyon, with many benches, boulders and places to stop and take in the beauty and peacefulness of this garden:



Here is the stream:


The multipurpose room is almost complete. Here is a view from higher up on the trail and then at the bottom:



This building is further out for completion and will house the restaurant and other features:


You can see the areas that are still under development to create the waterfall and add to the canyon area pond, stream and further gardens:



The Garden has a gift shop and various classes. You can check out their website at:

All in all this is a lovely and peaceful place to visit! Come check it out!

Maple Canyon Trail, San Diego, CA

Last Tuesday, I went on a short trail called the Maple Canyon Trail. It is just past downtown, west of Balboa park. There are two trailheads, one across an old wood trestle bridge built in 1905, near Quince St. and 3rd. Parking on the east side of the trail is paid parking on the street but on the west side of the trail there are a few parking places on the side. It is a somewhat steep little hike down to begin the trail from there. The trail head at the other end is near Maple and Dove St. and is a more gradual level onto the trail, with neighborhood parking. I only saw one other person walking on the trail. It is short, only 15-20 min. one way, but a lovely walk with lots of green, trees and wild flowers. You also pass under the 1st. Ave.steel bridge built in 1931.

I heard about the trail via a blog I follow, so wanted to check it out. Here is the blog with a more detailed description and a link to a topo map of the trail.

Here is the wood trestle bridge you cross, the Quince Street Trestle, if you are on the east side of the trail. There is a small free book case at the beginning, as you can see in the photos on the Cool San Diego Sights blog.


Here is the beginning of the trail as you head down into the canyon, before getting to the wood bridge.


This is a view of the wood beams of the trestle bridge.


There’s a dry creek bed that runs along side of the trail. I don’t know if it ever has water in it.


Here’s another view of that creek bed. You can also see the 1st Street Bridge at the top.


The hills were so green and lush. Being a country girl and feeling lost in the city, it was nice to be able to get away, and in some place so close by. Although on the sides there were various houses in view and apartment complexes, if you cast your eyes on the nature views, you can pretend you are far from the city.


This is a particularly lush view.


These are some luscious poppies I passed along the way.


I just got a new phone a few weeks ago and am still getting used to using the editing app on the phone and then figuring out how to upload the pictures and have them turn out right side up. But I’m impressed with the photo quality.

Hope you have enjoyed this short stroll and get-a-way in the midst of the city.

March 10, 2015 Museum Day

Last Tuesday I headed over to Balboa Park to go to the San Diego History Museum and the Photographic Arts Museum. It was the first time using my new phone and its camera, a Samsung Galaxy 5. My old phone, a Samsung Texting phone model I had used for years and loved, decided to commit suicide by first falling out of my pocket onto the ground and getting chipped for the first time and then, after that, in spite of me putting my hand on my pocket to protect it, jumped out into the toilet…I”M OUT OF HERE!!!

I have resisted the whole big fancy complicated smart phone switch for a long time and I’m still getting used to it, bugging t-mobile salespeople to show me how to do things. During my museum day, I ended up getting 10 or more pictures of each picture, unused to what the camera sounds like when it takes a photo. I’m still figuring out how to deal with the photos once I take them. In my old phone, I’d take out the memory card, put it in my card reader, plug it into my computer, upload them and edit them using the windows software. After an hour yesterday at the t-mobile store, it was finally set up for my pictures to end up on my memory card but unless I go through the whole taking the card out of the camera process, I couldn’t get the windows photo editing option to show up just uploading the photos using the USB cord. So if anyone knows how to do that or has any suggestions, please let me know. Even the photos I did edit and save after using my old card reader solution and the windows software, still ending up turned clockwise instead of upright like how I saved them, so I’m not sure what is going on. I know this phone will take me awhile to just learn the basics. I was used to a small phone I could just stash in my pocket and go out for a walk or hike, without any concern or disaster until last Sunday.

Ok…on to the museums. I had seen a showing of Dr. Seuss’s original lithographs and more unknown paintings months ago at a small gallery in La Jolla. There were wonderful lithographs in that show that weren’t at this show at the History Museum. This show though is wonderful for those Dr. Seuss fans who missed that show. It is definitely set up for children with hands on activities in each section and invites participation. The cost of the museum is normally $10. On the second Tues. of the month it is free to “residents” and the cost of the Dr. Seuss exhibit is $5 extra.

The first photo is the entrance to the museum:

1 Entrance to San Diego History Museum

Here are some photos of this exhibit:

Dr. Seuss was introduced to taxidermy early on and came up with very whimsical displays:

2 Dr. Seuss taxidermy

This was the environmental section dedicated to the book “The Lorax” :

3 Dr. Seuss The Lorax

This painting of “The Prayer for the Child” is well known and has the prayer posted below it:

4 Dr. Seuss prayer for the child

The art work from “The Cat in the Hat” was part of the literacy section:

5 Dr. Seuss Cat in a hat

“Horton Hears a Who” was part of the community section:

6 Dr. Seuss Horton hears a Who

“The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” was in another section with children’s activities7 Dr. Seuss The Grinch Who Stole Christmas:

There was a display of art done during his art deco period:

8 Dr. Seuss Art Deco Period

There was a display of art showing the cat behind the cat in the hat:

9 Dr Seuss The Cat behind the hat

All over Balboa park this year are exhibitions focused on celebrating the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. There were huge wall murals, photo below, a build your own block activity for children, many old photos of that exposition, maps and other displays.

10 100 year exposition history

Other exhibits were “Masterworks: Art of the Exposition Era” ( I took one photo there but was told I wasn’t allowed to do so); “Place of Promise: The Story of San Diego new and improved” which has displays and information of San Diego’s history from 10,000 BCE until just before the 1915 exposition; “Presidio to Pacific Powerhouse”, a display about how San Diego has been a military town since 1774. This display gave me an intense headache and cut my museum day short; and a section showcasing art from local artists, and now for sale. I instinctively new that an artist I know personally had art in the display and yep, here it is, paintings by Paul Strahm:

11 Paul Strahm paintings

In spite of my increasing headache, I stayed to watch the 30 minute film ” Balboa park: The Jewel of San Diego:”, a very interesting film about it’s inception and history.

I briefly went into the Photographic Arts Museum just west of the History museum:

12 Museum of Photographic Arts

I didn’t take pictures as I wasn’t sure anymore what I was allowed to take pictures of and what I wasn’t supposed to photograph. There was an interesting room with various displays. One of them was like a mirror, so you could see myself in it, but also imposed on it was thousands of tiny 1 by 1 inch photos of others, informing me that 99% of our genetics is the same as everyone else, so in truth, we really are all One. The main exhibit is titled “7 billion Others” a multimedia exhibit containing over 6000 individual interviews from people in 84 countries by nearly 20 directors. There was a main viewing room and several smaller rooms where you can sit and watch and listen. I watched the Martin Sheen interview. You can also become part of the exhibit and put in your story.

Another display was a beautiful gathering of photographs taken by Hendrick Kerstens of his daughter, taken over 20 years. His photographs are set up to look like traditional paintings not only in the lighting but the pose and costume but done with day to day objects. For example, to make a collar like the old time collars, he used a large stack of white paper dollies around his daughter’s neck. In another photo, to make it look like the old time hats, he used aluminum foil and in another a white plastic bag. But his daughter, with big beautiful eyes and her serious facial expressions looks just like old time traditional painting subjects.

I briefly walked through the Botanical Garden building, with a special display of various orchids, adding to their large collection, hoping to undo the headache so I could extend my Balboa park visit but it didn’t work, so I headed home.

But…there are always other days!!! Hope you enjoyed walking with me today. If you are in San Diego, come check it out. lists the activities scheduled for each day and much more information.


March 3, 2015 Museum Day, Balboa park, San Diego, CA

I was very low energy this museum day so I wasn’t as engaged and energetic as I usually am during these walks/tours. Today I visited the San Diego Natural History Museum and the Railroad Museum. I walked into and quickly out of the Fleet Science Museum as I knew my foggy brain that day was in no way ready to engage in hands on science displays 🙂

I did enjoy the Railroad museum as it was filled with both interested adults and squealing excited children. I love miniature houses and buildings, enthralled by the details put into the smaller replications. The Railroad museum has displays of various railroad cars in different scales, plus several display rooms with realistic landscapes including mountains and canyons. There is one room that is multi-tiered with steam engines and various viewing places spaced throughout. The other displays have benches to sit on for viewing and raised walkways for children to stand on.

Here is the photo of the stairway that goes down to the Railroad museum:

h stairway to railroad museum

Here are some photos of the various displays. I loved the buildings made to look like drive in’s, old stores with neon signs, an old diner. One street has cars stopped at the red light forever. The black engines were actually blowing steam. I thought the carnival was cute. I wish the photo had turned out more clear but the museum lights made the picture quality challenging.

b multi tiered display

c more multi tiered display

e carnival by the railroad

f historic train station

g railroad display

Here’s the cars stopped at the red light forever:

d cars stopped forever

And here’s the old diner with the poor person who looks like he/she got hit by the car backing up into his/her bike:

a diner in railroad museum

Here’s the pretty front of the San Diego Natural History Museum:

7 natural history museum

This museum was also filled with children. There are many learning stations throughout the museum and you could spend a lot of time here. The King Tut exhibit is there into April, for an extra fee. It is requested that you buy tickets for that ahead of time and call to set up your desired viewing time. There are three movies showing there now…one on Walking with the Dinosaurs 3D, one on Mummies; Secrets of the Pharaohs 3D and the other, Ocean Oasis. These films are included in the price of admission or at a reduced rate on the residence Free Tuesday, the first Tuesday of the month.

I only took a few pictures in this museum.

A dinosaur skeleton:

2 dinosaru skeleton

A very large and wonderful hunk of Jade (so nice to feel, as I love stones):

3 hunk of jade

A California Sonora King Snake. There were three lives snakes that I saw and all three were in small box displays, so sad, just as the gecko below was also in a small space:

4 California Sonorian King snake


6. gecko

And lastly, a view from the third floor looking down. There is a wonderful photo display right now on the third floor, of birds around the world:

1 inside the natural history museum

If you’d like more information about Balboa park you can go to their website:

There is so much to see there in the museums, puppet theater, various other theaters, restaurants, stores, a zoo, the Spanish Village artist galleries and shops, trails to walk, various gardens, classes, displays, dances, organ concerts, weekly Sunday concerts at the International houses, and so much more throughout the park. You can be involved as you want or just take a book and a picnic and hang out on the grass and relax! On different weekends there are often special events on some of the lawns as well.

Thanks for joining me today on my walk!


Feb 24, 2015 Museum Day at Balboa Park, San Diego, CA

Ok….thanks to lovely WordPress, this is take two. I was 1/2 way into writing this post and uploading pictures when the picture wasn’t loading and I couldn’t stop and get back to my post, so closed the screen, which normally saves a draft of the post and this time didn’t.

So this is the shortened version!

I went to 3 museums on this day and liked the Automotive Museum the best. I grew up loving road trips, with a family who loved cars of all kinds and took lots of local and long distance trips.

So most of the photos will be of the Automotive museum. I wasn’t happy with the photo quality but the light was bright and I was using my phone camera. But you can get an idea of the wonderful exhibits.

1 1931 Cadillac 452 roadster v 16
1931 Cadillac 452 Roadster V-16

2 1929 L 29 cord brougham
1929 L-29 Cord Brougham

3 1977 sachsenring trabont 601
1977 Sachsenring Trabant 601. Body made of recycled plastic, in East Germany. These cars were only sold in communist countries, including Cuba.

4 1914 ford modelo T
1914 Ford Modelo T

5 1966 bizzarrini P538 lamborghini V 12  1 of 3
1966 Bizzarrini P538 Lamborghini V-12 engine. One of three built.

6 Lamborthini and 1973 Dino GTS Ferrari
Lamborghini in foreground. 1973 Dino GTS Ferrari. The engine was designed by Dino Ferrari before he died at age 24 of muscular dystrophy.

7 1960 Alfa Romeo Sprint
1960 Alfa Romeo Sprint. Alfa Romeo was an employee owned factory.

8 1981 Delorean
1981 Delorian with a stainless steel body.

11 Tango electric car one seatter
Tango electric car. This car is designed for one person, built with reinforcement up to 4X that of normal cars and designed to only take up 1/2 of a lane.

13 1929 Ford Model A coupe
1929 Ford Model A Coupe, similar to the one my Father owned.

9 1926 Harley Davidson motorcycle
1926 Harley Davidson motorcycle.

10 1928 Guzzi motorcycle
1928 Guizzi motorcycle.

12 1916 Harley davidson motorcycle
1916 Harley Davidson motorcycle.

15 Steve McQueen display poster

14 Steve McQueen display
Display honoring actor Steve McQueen for his car and motorcycle racing careers.

There were several Indian Chief motorcycles, some with side cars but my photos didn’t turn out well.

16 Automotive museum
Front of the Automotive Museum. It presently has a special display, too, featuring San Diego vehicles and displays for the 100th anniversary.

17 Museum of Flight original Ford Pavillion building
The Air and Space museum. This is the only building left of the original Ford Pavillion, built for the 1915 Balboa park exposition. The pavillion was built to display cars and also had roads around it so people could test drive the cars before purchasing them.

22 Apollo 9
Capsule of Apollo 9

23 Fleet model 2 1929
Fleet Model 2 1929

24 lincoln standard J T barnstorming plane
Lincoln standard J-T barnstorming plane

25 lockheed vega 5 B replica for movie Amelia
Replica of the Lockheed Vega 5 B, made for the movie “Amelia”. This is a replica of the one Amelia Earhart flew to win many records.

26 Bowlus SP 1 Albatross Glider
Bowlus SP-1 Albatross glider that set many records.

27 pitts Special S 15 aerobotic plane
Pitts Special aerobotic plane used for aerobotic trick flying.

18 San Diego hall of champions sports museum
San Diego Hall of Champions Sports Museum.

20 Marcus Allen
This museum honors San Diego athletes in High School, College and Professional, as well as the local professional sports teams. I’m a Raiders fan so the only display that caught my eye was the one for the great Marcus Allen, who played for the Raiders when they were based in Los Angeles.

21 Balboa park club
I also wandered past the Balboa Park club, which was originally built in 1915 for the Panama-California exposition as the New Mexico Building. It was inspired by a 300 year old Acoma Pueblo mission church. In 1935 it was remodeled for the California Pacific International Exposition.

I hope you have enjoyed our walk for today. If you are in the area, please take the time to come visit Balboa park!!!

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: