Star of India sail crew prepares for history!

The Star of India, built in 1863, the oldest active sailing ship in the world and oldest iron-hulled merchant ship afloat, will once again take to the Pacific Ocean in November!

History will be made as she embarks on her first sail in five years. The short voyage upon the ocean off Point Loma and up the coast will be guided by a new captain, and made possible with the heart, muscle and skill of volunteer crew members.

This afternoon the Star of India’s sail crew was high up in the rigging practicing. From the deck below I watched as they set sails, squared yards, and performed some of the acrobatics aloft that are necessary to perform their duty with coordinated precision.

As members of the sail crew rehearsed their ballet in the sky, others were meeting in the Star of India’s saloon, charting the historic ship’s voyage into the future. An exciting future!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Photos of Vista’s Annual Viking Festival!

Ready for combat, warriors file through the 16th Annual Viking Festival in Vista, California.
Ready for combat, warriors file through the 16th Annual Viking Festival in Vista, California.

Today I headed up to Vista to enjoy the 16th Annual Viking Festival, which is being held this weekend in and around Norway Hall.

This very popular festival features everything Norse, including costumes, crafts, cultural demonstrations, live music on two stages, and a wide variety of spirited competitions. There’s a Viking Beard Competition, a Viking Horn Blowing contest, a Kids Fish Fling, a Guardians of Midgard Chest Game, and an epic All Weapons Tournament. Although I didn’t stay to watch, I learned that Saturday evening concludes with spectacular flaming axe throwing!

I arrived shortly after the gate opened, then wandered about taking it all in before the festival became extremely crowded.

Here come a bunch of photos!

The Vista Viking Festival continues on Sunday. If you’re in the area, you might want to head on over yourself! If you don’t care for big crowds, come early!

The very popular Vista Viking Festival attracts thousands of visitors every year.
The very popular Vista Viking Festival attracts thousands of visitors every year.
I was given a hearty welcome by these noble members of The Norwegian Fish Club, who meet in Vista's Norway Hall and put on the festival.
I was given a hearty welcome by these noble members of The Norwegian Fish Club, who meet in Vista’s Norway Hall and put on the festival.
The Norwegian Fish Club serves as a forum for persons attached to Norway, its history or mythology. Officers and various members dress in Viking attire!
The Norwegian Fish Club serves as a forum for persons attached to Norway, its history or mythology. Officers and various members dress in Viking attire!
Shortly after I entered the Viking Festival, I spotted this rather unusual longship!
Shortly after I entered the Viking Festival, I spotted this rather unusual longship!
It appears I've entered Viking territory!
It appears I’ve entered Vikings territory!
In addition to crafts and artwork, some of the vendors sell swords, axes and other weapons used by Norsemen long ago.
In addition to crafts and artwork, some of the vendors sell swords, axes and other weapons used by fierce Norsemen long ago.
A basket full of plastic two-horned Viking helmets.
A basket full of plastic two-horned Viking helmets.
Norway Hall in Vista is where locals gather to share unique culture and history from old Scandinavia.
Norway Hall in Vista is where locals gather to share unique culture and history from old Scandinavia.
Food and entertainment are plentiful at the Annual Viking Festival.
Food and entertainment are plentiful at the Annual Viking Festival.
I hadn't realized that Vikings ate hot dogs!
I hadn’t realized that Vikings ate hot dogs!
The festival's Northern Territory is where the Viking clans camp. Demonstrations and reenactments can be enjoyed by curious visitors.
The festival’s Northern Territory is where the Viking clans camp. Demonstrations and reenactments can be enjoyed by curious visitors.
These folk show what life might have been like in parts of northern Europe during the Viking Age.
These folk show what life might have been like in parts of northern Europe during the Viking Age.
A lady at work making Viking crafts.
A lady at work making Viking crafts.
This friendly Viking welcomed me to his camp. Various groups actually camp in the park-like setting around Norway Hall during the weekend of the festival.
This friendly Viking gent welcomed me to his camp. Various groups actually camp in the park-like setting around Norway Hall during the weekend of the festival.
Signs explained different aspect of Norse mythology, including Valhalla, a great hall in Asgard, where fallen heroes assemble, ruled over by Odin.
Signs explained different aspects of Norse mythology, including Valhalla, a great hall in Asgard, where fallen heroes assemble and are ruled over by Odin.
The singing group Damekor performs on the Loke Stage during the Viking Festival.
The singing group Damekor performs on the Loke Stage during the Viking Festival.
Hair braiding could be observed everywhere. I was told the length of a Viking's hair was often proportionate to their social status. Elaborate braids would be tended by servants.
Hair braiding could be observed everywhere. I was told the length of a Viking’s hair was often representative of their social status. Long, elaborate braids would be “sewn together” and tended by servants.
Every sort of Viking armor, costume and dress could be found throughout the festival.
Every sort of Viking armor, costume and dress could be found throughout the festival.
One vendor created these very cool stained glass dragons.
One vendor was showing these very cool stained glass dragons.
Another vendor had magic runes for sale.
Another vendor had magic runes for sale.
Another sold lots of colorful mugs.
Another had a big inventory of very colorful mugs.
These bearded mugs resemble thirsty Viking warriors!
These funny bearded mugs resemble thirsty Viking warriors!
A metalsmith was at work in the festival's Northern Territory.
A metalsmith was at work in the festival’s Northern Territory.
So was a woodcarver. This guy was fashioning a Viking bowl, or skål, based on actual archaeological findings.
So was a woodcarver. This guy was fashioning a Viking bowl, or skål, based on actual archaeological findings.
More armor and weaponry that might have been used by warring Norsemen.
More armor and weaponry that might have been used by marauding Norsemen.
Bread was being baked in two large outdoor earthen ovens.
Bread was being baked in two large outdoor earthen ovens.
Visitors to the Viking Festival can purchase fresh bread, crumpets, scones and other goodies.
Visitors to the Viking Festival can purchase fresh bread, crumpets, scones and other goodies.
This funny warrior was guarding a Staff Only festival entry.
This funny fellow was guarding a Staff Only festival entry.
I believe this guy was making collectible Viking charms by pouring molten metal into small molds.
I believe this guy was making collectible Viking charms by pouring molten metal into small molds.
One vendor had all sorts of fantastic figurines on display. I see a couple of dragons perched on geodes.
One vendor had all sorts of fantastic, glittering figurines on display. I see a couple of dragons perched on geodes.
Visitors to the 16th Annual Viking Festival in Vista walk through the Southern Territory.
Visitors to the 16th Annual Viking Festival in Vista walk through the Southern Territory.
A Viking combat demonstration had just ended, and some festival visitors were talking to one of the participants.
A Viking combat demonstration had just ended, and some festival visitors were talking to one of the participants.
I enjoyed viewing an ongoing blacksmith demonstration at Odin's Forge.
I enjoyed viewing an ongoing blacksmith demonstration at Odin’s Forge.
Kids pose in a Viking longship for a fun photo.
Kids pose in a Viking longship for a fun photo.
At the Weapons Range, visitors to the Viking Festival can try their hand at archery, spear and axe throwing.
At the Weapons Range, visitors to the Viking Festival try their hand at archery, spear and axe throwing.
Aiming for the dragon!
Aiming for the dragon!
Cheers!
And there’s a large beer garden, too. Cheers!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A breezy bird begins a new box!

Brise Birdsong poses for a photo by a utility box in downtown San Diego. She had just finished putting on a base coat of paint.
Brise Birdsong poses for a photo by a utility box in downtown San Diego. She had just finished putting on a base coat of paint.

I was walking through downtown San Diego this morning when I spied someone painting a utility box at the corner of Seventh Avenue and B Street. It turns out the artist is Brise Birdsong, whose often humorous street art has appeared in a few of my past blog posts! For example here and here!

Brise, also known as @breezy_bird, is a muralist and illustrator, whose work gives life to the children’s book The Lonely Little Bumbershoot.

She also creates pet portraits in her own unique style, and donates 10% of what she makes to animal shelters! For more info, check out her website here!

Very cool!

The same box in the afternoon, when I walked past again. Cool new street art is materializing in downtown San Diego!
The same box in the afternoon, when I walked past again. Cool new street art is materializing in downtown San Diego!
And here's the other side of Brise Birdsong's cool new street art! I can't wait to see it finished!
And here’s the other side of Brise Birdsong’s cool new street art! I can’t wait to see it finished!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Murals by Hugo Crosthwaite at Liberty Station.

A series of columns at Liberty Station have recently been painted with expressive murals by Mexican-born artist Hugo Crosthwaite, who works in both Mexico and the United States. The murals, which are located next to Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens and Liberty Public Market, are titled In Memoriam: Column A and Column B. I took some photographs during a recent walk around Liberty Station.

The murals touch one’s heart. A variety of emotions are depicted in the faces of people who live and move through our border city. There is happiness and pain, sadness and pride. There is fear and hope. These emotions are powerfully familiar, because at one time or another we all experience them.

A series of columns at Liberty Station have been painted by artist Hugo Crosthwaite.
A series of columns at Liberty Station have been painted by artist Hugo Crosthwaite.
Hugo Crosthwaite, Column A and Column B, 2018.
Hugo Crosthwaite, Column A and Column B, 2018.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

SMILE, you’re in San Diego!

SMILE, you're in San Diego. A colorful new downtown mural has been painted by artist Phoebe Cornog, one of the creative directors of PANDR Design Co.
A new downtown mural reads: SMILE, you’re in San Diego. This happy message was painted by Phoebe Cornog, one of the creative directors of PANDR Design Co.

There’s a brand new, very colorful mural in downtown San Diego! It had me smiling today!

This public art was painted just days ago, on a high parking lot wall next to First Avenue, north of Broadway. It’s the same wall that features another mural concerning humility and nobility that I blogged about two years ago here.

The muralist is Phoebe Cornog, an artist who is also one of the creative directors of PANDR Design Co.

Very cool!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Creepy clowns, ghosts and demons in a park!

Legions of creepy clowns, ghosts, demons and undead are slowly gathering in a popular city park. I photographed them lurking among shadowy trees and spooky buildings, waiting to terrify nice, innocent, completely unsuspecting people who happened to be walking down the park trail!

IMG_0076z

As you might have guessed, this morning I took a stroll around the perimeter of The Haunted Trail, which is being built once again in the southwest corner of Balboa Park for Halloween!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Even more colorful street art in City Heights!

Here’s even more colorful street art in City Heights!

I took these photographs before, during and after my recent walking tour of San Diego’s rapidly growing outdoor art gallery. I spotted this artwork along University Avenue, between I-80 and I-15. It’s an extremely diverse neighborhood, where many languages are spoken and many life experiences move together down shared streets.

If you’re unaware that San Diego has a drive-through art gallery, I urge you to check it out here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!