San Diego Dreaming

13 May

My first visit to San Diego was more than 25 years ago, on my honeymoon.  (Who knew we’d be living in California only nine years later!)  It’s always an interesting place to visit, so I took the opportunity to tag along on hubby’s business trip last week.

The walk along the waterfront is lovely, from the touristy but fun Seaport Village to the fleet of fishing boats.  A word of warning: don’t forget the sunscreen! Just a couple of hours (that started off cloudy) were enough to give me a sunburn.  9P2A1727

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I love the face on this huge Sea Dragon sculpture!

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The Jacaranda trees in bloom

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Seaport Village is touristy but fun to explore.

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The Upstart Crow in Seaport Village serves excellent coffee and advertises Shakespeare readings and live music too!

A wonderful surprise on the waterfront was an art installation called “Our Silences” by the Mexican artist Rivelino. These bronze statues have been displayed all over Europe and in Mexico.  They are “invitation to emotively reflect–or get excited with intelligence–about one of the fundamental human rights: the freedom of expression.”  There’s also a touch box for people who are visually impaired.

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I squeezed my camera up to one of the openings in the touch box; they’re intended for reaching your hand in and touching the miniature versions of the large sculptures.

 

There’s also a series of artworks collectively  called “The Greatest Generation Walk,” commemorating American military heritage.

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This 25-foot sculpture, overlooking the harbor and next to the USS Midway, is called “Unconditional Surrender”

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The soldiers in the Bob Hope tribute are surprisingly lifelike. The Japanese tourists were pretty entertaining too.

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Part of the USS San Diego memorial.

The highlight of our trip was the four and a half hours we spent visiting the aircraft carrier USS Midway. This alone is worth a trip to San Diego. I never enjoyed studying history in school, finding the books and dates dry and difficult to remember. From the short video about the battle of Midway (that brought me to tears as I imagined my own son and his friends in place of the young men pictured), to meeting a World War II veteran, this really brought history alive for me.

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1001 feet long and 282 feet wide, she carried a crew of 4500, with an average age of 19.

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The docents, who all seem to be retired Navy pilots, are superb.

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The flight deck is huge. There are at least a dozen airplanes parked at the far end, and from here you can barely see them!

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Tight quarters. I tried to imagine the bunks, walkways and mess hall full of sweaty young men and lots of dirty socks! They do a great job with the audio tour as well as piped in sounds and even smells, which help bring this floating city to life.

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These HUGE chains hold the anchors. Each link weighs 150lbs!

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My favorite photograph and a highlight of the trip. World War II veteran King Splitt flew planes like the one behind him for twenty years. I later found out (thank you internet!) that he is a Pearl Harbor survivor. An honor to meet him and to shake his hand.

No trip to San Diego is complete without a visit to the 1200 acre Balboa Park. We skipped the multitude of museums and just enjoyed wandering.

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The Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park features dozens of art studios around colorful courtyards, from blown glass to paintings to jewelry to the sculptures below.

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I didn’t take a picture of our last activity in San Diego… I must get some good brownie points for spending our last evening there, on our wedding anniversary, watching Stanley Cup playoffs in a local pub.  I have to admit, though, it was great fun and the Habs (aka the Montreal Canadiens, our original home team) won!