Tours, travels, hikes and journeys!

Posts tagged ‘tours’

Fun Day At Balboa Park

I had to drop a friend off to catch the train so decided to grab a scone and coffee and then head over early yesterday to Balboa Park  Come join me on my day!!!

I’d never taken a tour so decided to take the 11:00 am Ranger led tour.  I had some time before that, so drove to the park behind the Fleet Science Center. I was amazed at how empty the parking lot was as I usually get there in the afternoon.  Later when I was leaving, cars were circling the parking lot waiting for a space to open up.

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I pulled out my beach towel and sat underneath a nice big tree, and spent some time doing spiritual work.

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There was a nice view of the California Building Tower off in the distance.

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When it was getting closer to the tour start time, I decided to walk over early so I’d have some time to explore.  On my way between the building housing the Railroad museum and Zorro Butterfly garden, I saw this amazing tree that hadn’t grown up but rather sideways, almost lying on the ground.

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I met a woman from LA before the tour started, and later met her friend and we shared time together. So that was a nice surprise. I really enjoyed the tour. Although I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Balboa park and watched a video about its history,  in the History museum, the tour added some interesting information. The tour guide was warm and informative. These tours are held at 11:00 on Sunday and Tuesday, meeting at the Visitors Center, in the Hospitality building. They also lead a botanical tour at 11:00 am on Sat. and an architectural tour on the first Friday, at 10:00 am.

Before we left on the tour, I noticed this great bench in the newly redone Central Plaza.

bench

Here we are, heading out on the tour.

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The tour guide explained that some of the present day buildings were built for the 1915 exposition and the 1930″s exposition and only built with temporary use in mind. So these buildings had to be torn down and rebuilt. The building housing the Railroad museum and other museums is hollow inside, and she explained that if you tap on the structure, you will hear it.

1 Entrance to San Diego History Museum

She also explained that the busts near the top of the building have men’s heads and women’s bodies. I thought I had a picture of them but I couldn’t find it. Sorry.

The building across the street from this one, the El Prado building that houses many offices and a great gathering of sculptures, is made of concrete, so it is more solid sounding if you tap it.  On our walk I noticed the wonderful statues on the east side of the building.  There are a couple figures that look like Native Americans.

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The park started as undeveloped land and the first plans drawn up were to leave it mostly that way, as an open park. It is larger than Central Park in NY.  On the West side of Freeway 163, there are parks and stands of great trees.  On the east side, east of Florida Street, is Florida Canyon. The guide relayed several interesting stories about its various uses before all the development of the park. There are many trails there now and various habitats to explore and east of that are more developed recreational facilities.

Kate Sessions is responsible for helping expand the variety of vegetation and trees in the park, and especially for bringing in specimens from other countries.

When we walked past the botanical building, I noticed lotus plants growing.  The guide told of a few disasters from the past, with others not respecting the delicate balance of the ponds. She shared that they’ve had people dump in catfish and other fish as well, which isn’t a great idea.  Here are some pictures of a tall growing lotus and some lotus on the pond. The lattice work on top of the Botanical Building is made of redwood.

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And some ducks wandering around.

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After the tour, the two women went with me to explore the hospitality houses. They were celebrating Columbia so there was a line up outside the food booth….

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People waiting for the performances to start at 2:00, relaxing and listening to the Colombian music…

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And a couple booths set up selling various products….

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I bought some Arroz con Leche (rice pudding), from a Colombian booth and an almond cake slice from the German Hospitality house….

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I left before the performances as it was too hot and sticky for me. On the walk back, I passed this guy who is dressed up like a bronzed Shakespearean day performer. People pay to get their picture taken with him.

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And that concludes my walk. Hope you enjoyed it, especially since you got to stay cool while viewing it on your screen!

Thanks for joining me. Thanks for reading and supporting my blog.

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Old Town, San Diego, CA

I grew up coming to San Diego almost every summer. We mostly stayed at the beach, which was fine with me as I spent most of my time fearlessly out on my heavy canvas raft, out beyond the waves. At night I’d sit next to the sea wall and listen to the waves. Occasionally we’d go shopping in Mission Valley, go shopping in La Jolla (Mom loved to shop), go to Balboa park and the zoo, or go to Old Town to eat and look around.

This time I’ve spent in San Diego has taken me all over the county, north and south, east and west, into many neighborhoods and outlying areas. It’s been interesting to delve deeper into this county. I realized early on that it wasn’t my home, I wasn’t here to settle, like I had spent much of my life dreaming about, but rather, I was here for some reason, still undefined.

So, as part of my ongoing exploration of this place, I went to Old Town on Oct. 31st and back again on Nov. 3, to explore the history there. Yes, the area is filled with many restaurants and shops, tourist sites gone crazy, but it is also filled with much history. It provides a place to look into the past and imagine San Diego before tall buildings, shopping malls, freeways, and to see the hopes and dreams of the pioneers that saw the potential here and committed to making it happen.

So……come walk with me through Old Town and let me share with you some of the wonderful old buildings and sights:

Let’s start with the Mormon Battalion. It is on the NW corner of Juan and Harney Streets. This is a very delightful interactive museum staffed with Mormon Missionaries, old artifacts and new technology to give you a visceral experience of the story told. It is like mini-Disneyland. The story tells you of 500 men and 32 Mormon women who joined with the US troops, to travel 2000 miles on foot, the longest march in US Military history, from Council bluffs, Iowa to San Diego. They started on July 16,1846 and arrived in Jan. 1847, without having to engage in any battles, although the mission had been to fight the Mexican/American War.

1 Mormon Battalion

Next, we head over to the Denby-Pendleton House, walking south on Harney Street. It is a prefabricated wood house, shipped from Maine, around the Horn of South America, to be built in San Diego in 1853. It is one of the oldest wooden homes in San Diego. It is next to a Creole Restaurant I’d like to try, and behind the Whaley house.

2 Denby Pendleton House 1850

Traveling south and turning left at the corner, heading east on San Diego Ave., we walk by the Whaley house, built in 1856, considered the oldest brick building in San Diego. This house is considered haunted and is open for tours. Price is $6 per adult. All the rest of the places I visited are free.

3 Whaley House

Next we travel east past the intersection of Conde Street and onto the diagonal path of San Diego Ave. to the El Campo Santo Cemetary. This was used in 1850-1880. Many of the graves ended up under San Diego Ave. during it’s paving. Identification of those buried there is still underway. In the pictures you see the plaque at it’s entrance, then the graves. You’ll notice the marigold flower petals left on the graves from the Dio de los Muertos ceremony that took place over the weekend, celebrating the dead.

4 Campo Santo Cemetary 2

4 El Campo Santo Cemetary

Crossing the street and heading west on San Diego Ave. we walk past some stores and restaurants and this wonderful old fashioned Zoltar game. Since I loved the movie “Big”, I couldn’t help but take a picture of this. Just standing there, Zoltar invited me to step forward and have my fortune read 🙂 Maybe next time when I go back and tour the Whaley house 🙂

5 Zoltar

We cross Conde street, heading west and pass the stores and Whaley house again, and now pass the pretty Immaculate Conception Church, which began construction in 1868 and was dedicated in 1919.

6 Immaculate conception church

Passing the corner of San Diego Ave. and Twiggs street, we enter into the area with more historic buildings, some museums now, some stores. We pass this colorful Dio de los Muertos altar, set up in front of the El Patio restaurant.

7 Dio de los muertos altar and skeletons in front of El Patio restaurant

Next, as we near the Old Town San Diego Historic Park, we see the Sessions, Building, built in 1929 for Milton P. Sessions, a well known San Diego landscape architect. This is now a candle shop.

8 Sessions building Candle shop

May’s Saddle and Harness shop building is next, built in 1869 by Charles E. May. It was moved to New San Diego and another one was built here in 1872. It is a candy shop now.

9 Mays Saddle and Harness Candy shop

Still heading west, we come to the Colorado house, now the Wells Fargo Museum, with a stage coach, and other banking and mail artifacts. It was built in 1851 by Cave Couts and used originally as a hotel.

10 Colorado House and Wells Fargo Museum

Behind the Colorado house is the La Casa de Machado y Stewart house, built in 1835, considered the oldest adobe home in San Diego. I took two photos of the inside and one of the south side of the home.

11 La Casa de Machado y Stewart

11 Inside La Casa de Machado 2

11 Inside La Casa de Machado

Two buildings down from the Colorado House we come to the Machado de Silvas Building built in 1830. One picture is of the home, another is of the Restaurante casa Commercial and another Dio de los Muertos altar that was in the back.

12 The Machado de Silvas Building 1893

12 Dio de los muertos altar inside Resaurante casa Comercial The Machado de Silva bulding

12 Restauante casa comercial The Machado de Silvas Building

Next is the US house, built in 1850 and used as a general store. It burned in 1872 in a big fire and was restored. It is now a shop filled with various tin items.

13 US house

We now round the corner, heading north on Wallace Street, passing the Robinson Rose House which is now used as a visitor center, and pass by two more dressed up skeleton mannequins in front of the Barra Barra Saloon.

14 More skeletons in front of rBarra Barra Saloon

We round the corner again, heading east on Calhoun Street and come to Casa de Bandina, built in 1829 by Juan Bandina, sold to Alfred Seely in 1869. He added a second story and turned it into the Cosmopolitan Hotel. There are still a few rooms there to rent and a restaurant.

15  Cosmopolitan Hotel

Next to the hotel is the Seely Stables. The photo shows a Concord Stagecoach on the left and a Wells Fargo mud wagon on the right, used to take mail and passengers from San Diego to Julian. It is an Abbot-Downing Celerity Wagon.

17 Coaches in Seely Stables

And lastly, as we cross the street, we come to La Casa de Estudillo, built in 1827 by Captain Jose Maria de Estudillo. This is the most famous Old Town adobe. This was mistakenly known as “Ramona’s Wedding Place”, from Helen Hunt Jackson’s novel. I loved the lay out of this house with the courtyard in the middle. I suppose I’d get tired of having to walk through various rooms though, to get from one to the other 🙂 One photo is of another Dio de los Muertos altar and the other is of the home.

16 La Casa de Estudillo

16 Dio de los muertos altar at La Casa de Estudillo

Well, that concludes our walk and tour. I hope you enjoyed it. You might enjoy reading my other post with various photos of other costumed skeletons and sculptures https://katelontjeffereys.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/colorful-characters-in-old-town-san-diego/. Thanks for joining me today.

Favorite places in Seattle, WA

I lived in Seattle, WA for 13 years. Since I grew up in the desert with sunshine most every day, the climate felt challenging. I also grew up in a small town and so being in a city was different for me, too. I eventually left Seattle, but in conversations since leaving, and even while I lived there, I am still able to recognize delightful places that I enjoy there. I am going to share a few in this post and also post some separate photo albums of  places I love there and trips I took near there.

The places that I loved to take people to were the Fremont Troll, underneath the Aurora Bridge in Fremont; The Lenin statue, also in Fremont, brought over from Russia; the waiting for Interurban statue, also in Fremont, featured in the movie “Say Anything”; the duck tour which takes you past Gasworks park, and old gasworks (featured in the movie “10 things I hate about you”) and the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat, along with driving you by the Space needle and the Experience Music Project; Jimi Hendrick’s grave; the conservatory at Volunteer Park; the arboretum; Kubota gardens; Kerry Park; Lincoln park and the yearly Rhythm festival which hosts teachers from all over the world.

Troll Jan. 23, 10

This is the famous Fremont Troll, under the Aurora Bridge.  Fremont is known for it’s Solstice Parade and Nude bicyclists.  It is quite the colorful neighborhood.

Lenin Statute, May 2011 Seattle

This is the Lenin Statue, also in Fremont, purchased by an individual and shipped to Seattle to be placed in Fremont.

Waiting for interurban. close up

The “Waiting for Interurban” scuplture, also in Fremont, seen in the movie “Say Anything”.

View from Kerry park Jan. 23, 10

This is the view of downtown Seattle at night, taken from Kerry Park, north of downtown. This is a great viewing spot.

Seattle Center 1

The famous Space Needle, built in 1962 for the World’s Fair.

Rhythm festival

The annual World Rhythm Festival, held at the Seattle Center, consists of 3 days of free dance and drumming performances and classes.  They have events for both adults and children, featuring teachers  and performers from all around the world.  It is my favorite Seattle Festival and is free.

Gasworks parkGasworks park

This is a photo of the duck tour which takes people to famous places via land and water. Here it is going by Gasworks park, an old gasworks, turned into a wonderful park. “Ten Things I Hate About You” was filmed at Gas works park.  It is a great place for kite flying, with beautiful views. The duck tour is great fun and I went on it for my birthday in 2011.

Sleepless house 3

This is the Sleepless in Seattle House made famous in the movie of the same name.

Memorial memorial 8 memorial 7

This is the Jimi Hendrix Memorial, dedicated in 2003, containing burial plots for 24 members of the Hendrix family. It is in Greenwood cemetery in Renton, WA.

Japenese pond Kubato gardens

Kubota Garden is a 30 acre Japanese garden in the Rainier Beach neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. A public park since 1987, it was started in 1927 by Fujitaro Kubota, a Japanese emigrant. The city of Seattle purchased it and it is run by the parks and recreation department.

Kayak under 520 bridge Flowering view Yellow landscape

The arboretum near the Madison neighborhood, across the bridge from the University of WA. is a wonderful place to walk and I spent many afternoons there just walking around and a few times walking from one tip to the other. You can also rent canoes near the U of WA stadium and boat the waters of Lake Washington.

row of beauty outside conservatory

The conservatory at Volunteer park is wonderful. It has a few permanent collections as well as collections that vary with the season. Volunteer park hosts plays in the park, and the next door cemetery is the resting place for Bruce and Brandon Lee.

Lincoln park path to fall Lincoln park fallT

This is Lincoln Park. From first coming to Seattle and looking for a place to be in nature and a feeling of being away from the city, this was my refuge.  It is located near the south end of the West Seattle neighborhood. You can walk along the southern and western path next to the Puget Sound and the Fauntleroy ferry dock, or you can head up the paths to the park above, with woods, playgrounds, baseball fields and a small wading pool.  There are picnic areas scattered throughout.

EMP

This is a view of the Experience Music Project, also at the Seattle Center.

Hope you enjoyed this little tour of Seattle. What are your favorite places in this city?

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