Monday, June 7, 2010

Balboa Park

On our way to Australia, we stayed with a cousin of Marianne's who live in Carlsbad just north of San Diego. They took us down to Balboa Park which is one of San Diego's major attractions and deservedly so. I've been to San Diego several times but had never been there before.

Most of the buildings are constructed in the Spanish / Mexican style of the area with thick walls and covered verandas. It is much cooler out of the hot sun.
A balcony.

Elegant columns.
There are extensive gardens everywhere.
As an Aussie, I love going to California because there are oodles of gum (eucalyptus) trees. They don't grow on the east coast and I really miss them.

The plants and flowers in this place are simply spectacular. My mother would have really enjoyed it and it's almost enough to inspire me to become a gardener.

Hibiscus. My mother used to grow them in the front yard of our house when we lived in Maryborough.

The jacaranda trees were in bloom. We also have them in Australia and they are one of my favourite trees.
A Morton Bay Fig. So much of what grows in San Diego can also be seen in the Brisbane area of Australia, though San Diego is somewhat drier.

The Morton Bay Figs are essentially banyan trees and have this curious root structure.

We wandered into this center and even though it's full of the arty shops that I usually loathe and despise, I must admit this was really worth seeing.

What really makes this market spectacular is the pavement which is painted in multiple colours.

We wandered into a small shop which sold painted gourds and spoke to the lady who made them. She seemed to be glad to talk about how they were made.

Here are her tools which included a nifty jig saw.

Marianne and a yellow door.

So you are wondering what this is?

It was a kaleidoscope that was focused on a bowl of flowers. You could rotate the bowl and see wonderful patterns. Really imaginative.

More shops.

Roof tiles.

Paper cranes for sale.

I couldn't resist taking a photo of this sign.

Off to another area where there were plants for sale. Obviously, business was good.

We both liked this fern.

Next, the latticed botanical building.

Detail of the lattice.

The wall from the inside.

The roof.

The dome roof

You just have to love signs like this.

And now for a bunch of photos of flowers.

Shadows of the roof on the floor.

Take the time to click on this image and then click on the image again to get a closeup look at the detail.

This was not inside the botanical building, but I couldn't resist this container.

The pool with floating gardens.

One of the floating gardens. The water was very clear.

I just liked the arrangement and weird angles.

This sculpture was a favourite with children. The park was very well patronized but not particularly crowded, even though it was a Saturday.

Interestingly shaped arrangements of the common abound.

The roof of the restaurant.

Sculpture garden, with fence.

One of the entrances to the park is via this bridge.

A major freeway runs under the bridge. The traffic authorities would like to widen the freeway but can't because the bridge was built with narrow arches that are only wide enough to accommodate two lanes. The issue apparently comes alive every few years and is fortunately voted down because the citizens of San Diego are aware of the jewel they own in Balboa Park and include the bridge as part of the treasure.

View of the city skyline from the bridge. San Diego seems to be about the same size as Brisbane and has a similar feel about it.

All over the park you get glimpses of this tower but usually, its difficult to get a clear shot for a photo.

The main entrance to the park from the bridge.

A very Spanish looking covered walkway. It was nice and cool out of the sun and the constant gentle breeze helped to make it a very pleasant walk. Later the afternoon June mist rolled in and it became much more humid and gloomy. Go to the park in the morning in June.

After a while we needed a good rest from walking and spent a quiet half hour in this pavilion. The park is on top of a hill but fortunately, most of the buildings are on the same level so walking is easy.

View from the pavilion. Incidentally, the park was spotlessly clean throughout.

Lattice roof of the pavilion.

Later we noticed that a wedding was being held here.

There was a constant stream of wedding parties and stretch limos. The 'in' colour was obviously purple to go with the jacaranda blooms.

Jacaranda up close.

Another Morton Bay Fig tree.

The trunks of these fig trees attract graffiti artists both in the US and in Australia. Over time, the tree gradually grows and the marks disappear to be replaced by the next declaration of love or whatever.

At the bottom of the hill when we entered the park there was an old car show. Since we had some time to fill in, we walked down to the show and along the way, passed this Plymouth with tail fins.

Our new Bentley from 1951 as I remember.

A pre WWII Bentley tourer. You don't see too many of these.

The step into the car. How cool.

A Lagonda racing machine.

View from the back.

Of course there were loads of the famous American cars, but still quite a few of the British cars I grew up with, including this mini.

And so we end on a final flower. Balboa Park also houses quite a few museums and we only managed to find time to go into one of them. If you plan to go to the museums, allow at least two days because there is just so much to see here. Thoroughly recommended.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like some lovely days in Australia!

    she'll be Apples! - this guy stole your idea!