Military recruits jog through Balboa Park.

military recruits jog through Balboa Park

During my morning walks, I often see military personnel jogging through Balboa Park. Sometimes they can number in the hundreds. They wear distinctive yellow t-shirts marked “NAVY” and lustily chant military cadences as they proceed. I’m not sure whether they are sailors from one of the several nearby naval bases or marines from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot. Usually one or two men will be holding a flag, and a few men in front will lead the way, suddenly changing direction at a moment’s notice.

My camera’s flash in this photo reflected brightly off safety tape on the joggers, making the energetic scene appear kinetic and dazzling.

Plaque remembers San Diego’s first sheriff.

plaque of san diego's first sheriff

A large plaque affixed to a boulder near the House of Hungary in Balboa Park’s International Cottages remembers San Diego’s first sheriff, Agoston Haraszthy.

Haraszthy, born in 1812, was the first Hungarian to settle permanently in the United States. Before coming to San Diego, he founded the oldest incorporated village in Wisconsin and operated the first commercial steamboat on the upper Mississippi River.

After moving to San Diego, he formed a partnership with Juan Bandini and began many business and agricultural projects. He planted fruit orchards, operated a livery stable and stagecoach line, and opened a butcher shop. He was instrumental in organizing a large portion of San Diego called Middletown, which many called Haraszthyville. He imported grape vines and planted a vineyard near the San Diego River.

In 1850 he was elected first sheriff of San Diego County.

House of Hungary in Balboa Park's International Cottages.
House of Hungary in Balboa Park’s International Cottages.

Man walks dog past Casa del Prado.

man walks dog by casa del prado

I took this photo while strolling down El Prado, Balboa Park’s breathtakingly beautiful central promenade. Lined with fountains, fine museums and Spanish Colonial Revival buildings designed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, it is one of the most scenic walks in San Diego.

I caught this man taking a stroll with his dog in front of Casa del Prado, one of the spectacular buildings along El Prado.

This closeup photo was taken on a different day:

Ornate plaster designs on Spanish Colonial Revival buildings.
Ornate plaster elements add elegance to the Spanish Colonial Revival building.

And here’s one more pic!

Casa del Prado facade photographed as evening approaches and lights turn on.
Casa del Prado facade photographed as evening approaches and lights turn on.

Quiet morning walk into Balboa Park.

morning walk into balboa park

Here we are strolling eastward across the Cabrillo Bridge into Balboa Park as the sun rises. To the left we see the California Tower, directly adjacent to the domed Museum of Man. During the day, the tower’s carrilon can be heard throughout the park marking time every 15 minutes. At noon the electronic chimes play a medley of beautiful music.

Many walkers and joggers love the peaceful morning atmosphere of wonderful Balboa Park.

Here's the same view during the day.
Here’s the same view during the day.

Chalk evidence of stickball in Little Italy.

chalk evidence of stickball in little italy

Several days ago while out on a walk I took this photo of chalk writing on Columbia Street. It appears games of stickball have recently taken place.

Occasionally over the years I’ve wandered into people in Little Italy playing this classic American game. While the game is most popular in the Northeastern United States, organized games are played in San Diego, with a handful of teams and a few laid-back spectators on lawn chairs.

UPDATE!

I caught some live stickball action on a Saturday morning in late summer, and here are a couple pics!

Players gather for some fun on a Saturday in downtown's Little Italy.
Players gather for some fun on a Saturday in downtown’s Little Italy.
Stickball action in front of the San Diego Firehouse Museum.
Stickball action in front of the San Diego Firehouse Museum.

Freakishly gigantic flowers in San Diego!

freakishly gigantic flowers in city

Flowers that are several feet across are growing in downtown San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood. They’ve grown out of an artist’s paintbrush and onto a wall!

Check out another photo from the amazing, colorful mural I recently walked past and enjoyed. It’s a shame this public art is set back a bit from First Avenue and not immediately obvious to those driving past. To experience it best, you have to pull into a gas station’s parking lot.

This dolphin is swimming right next to those flowers!
This dolphin is swimming right next to those flowers!

Colorful fish survive out of water!

colorful fish survive out of water

Here are more photographs of that cool mural from the previous blog post. There’s a whole school of colorful fish in full view beside that gas station!

More exotic fish on a parking lot wall.
More brightly painted fish on a parking lot wall.
The nearby gas station must be underwater.
The nearby gas station must be underwater!
A bright orange fish swims through the city.
A bright orange fish swims through downtown San Diego.