Sandwiched between the airport (nail-biting roof-top landings, anyone?) and the inner harbor, Harbor Drive can be a semi-quiet respite from the sun-drenched adrenaline that is a part of the everyday San Diego scene.
From sailboats to kayaks to aircraft carriers, the inner harbor has it all. Places to sit and read, picnic grounds as well as cozy corners to meditate. Hovering over the east side of the harbor is downtown San Diego with its ever growing bees-nest of high rise condos, apartments and office buildings. San Diego is California’s second largest city with well over a million three plus residents and growing.
Friends had invited us down to their new condo perched on one of the many hills surrounding the harbor basin. Unlike the tiny studio they had before, this was a larger unit which in turn was part of a much larger complex. It was typical California lifestyle with its volleyball sand pits, hot tubs, outdoor pools, and patio amenities.
Situated next to the complex was a wetlands park. The area encouraged easy discovery of the ecological habitats of many different types of birds and water fowl. In addition to a cornucopia of environmental landscapes, old world charm crowded alongside modern high rise capitalism. San Diego has a rich history of California exploration and entrepreneurism. The harbor collection of old ships is a great example of this.
First we drove up through the Point Loma Ecological Reserve to the Cabrillo National Monument. Point Loma is a hilly peninsula that is bordered on the west and the east by the Pacific Ocean. There we learned about the Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo who became the first European to set foot on land that later became the west coast of the United States. The lookout there had a splendid view of San Diego bay and Coronado Island.
Clipper ships ran up and down the California coast from San Diego to Fort Bragg, Northern California until the early nineteenth century.
|Old Point Loma|
|Star of India|
The history onboard those vintage ships is almost palatable. Salt air smells still permeated the rough-hue timbers and tiny cabins. It’s fertile ground for an imagination run amok of tall ships and the rough-cut men who sailed them.
History rules this part of the state and takes visitors back to the early frontier years when gold rush fever emptied whole town and cities of men on their way to Alaska.
La Jolla has always held a fascination with me. The theater was closed when we got there but a stroll along the park downtown still captured that west coast vibe the town and theater are so well known for.
|Old Man and the Sea|
Seven lanes of traffic are standard for most California freeways.
It still isn’t enough to contain all the traffic flowing from the San Diego area heading north. Two hours and a world away from the calm of desert living.