March 27, 2012

San Diego Sights

San Diego is one of my favorite cities, although I had only visited once before.  Yesterday, Tim’s sister Alice generously offered to give us a tour of the city, which made getting around so much easier.  What impressed us was how easily she negotiated the traffic and never lost her cool even when we seemed to be on a wild goose chase looking for a particular address.

Our first stop was Cabrillo National Monument.  Of course I was able to get my National Park passport stamp there, but we also enjoyed the park itself.  The views from the park, which is located on Point Loma, are breathtaking.  The entire city of San Diego and the bay lay before us, and we could see for miles.  We couldn’t seem to take our eyes from the view.  

The View Toward the San Diego Skyline Is Breathtaking
Alice and Tim
Sarah and Tim
The Ocean View Is also Spectacular
Cabrillo National Monument commemorates the sixteenth century exploration of the Pacific coastline, which became known as the “coast of New Spain.”  In 1542 Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo arrived in today’s San Diego Bay and became the first European to set foot on what is now the West Coast of the United States.  The park also preserves the picturesque Old Point Loma Lighthouse, which was lit for the first time in 1855.  Unfortunately, what was thought to be an ideal location on the headland turned out to be less than satisfactory.  The area’s frequent fog and low clouds often obscured the light, and the lighthouse was abandoned in 1891.
Statue of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo
Old Point Loma Lighthouse
We made our way downtown from there and enjoyed a seafood lunch at Anthony’s Fish Grotto, which is located along the harbor.  We passed the San Diego Maritime Museum on the way and gazed at the tall ships, and a submarine, that are anchored in the harbor.

The Star of India
We drove through downtown San Diego on our way to Mission San Diego de Alcala, the very first mission established in California.  The mission was founded in 1769 by Father Junipero Serra, a Franciscan priest, and was the first of a chain of twenty-one missions along the California coast.  I’ve always been fascinated by the California missions and especially wanted to visit this one.

Mission San Diego de Alcala
Interior of the Church

The Campanario
Father Serra in the Garden

Known as the Mother of the Missions, this church is a beautiful structure, and its history is fascinating. The mission was attacked and destroyed by Indians just one year after completion.  The church was rebuilt with an outer defense wall between 1776 and 1790, and the existing church was enlarged in 1813.  By the early twentieth century, only the façade of the church and the arcade were still standing, but the complex was rebuilt and fully restored in 1931.

The mission is especially noted for its tall campanario, or bell wall, which contains five bells.  A re-creation of Father Serra’s living quarters is also located on the property.  I especially loved the profusion of flowers that were blooming in the gardens.  The vibrant colors were a sight to behold.

The Arcade
Inside the Arcade
Flowers Carpet a Hill
Flowers Enliven the Courtyard

Flowers Decorate a Wall
Flowers Are Everywhere
We had a wonderful time in San Diego and couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day. We decided to just hang out today, and Chuck and Alice helped us with a few projects on the RV.  It was a relaxing day, yet we accomplished a lot of things we had wanted to do for quite some time.