One of my favorite places in Balboa Park is the reflecting pool, or lily pond, as some call it. This tranquil body of water lies between El Prado and the enormous wood lath structure which is the Botanical Building.
Flower beds, green grass and families enjoying picnics surround the pond, and colorful lotus flowers grace the surface. All sorts of interesting creatures call it home. In addition of numerous large koi (two can be seen in this photo), and floating turtles craning their heads to gaze at tourists, there are crawdads and a variety of fish that people have dumped into the pond. Years ago a small shark was spotted in the serene water!
An interesting historical fact: during World War II, when Balboa Park was utilized to mobilize American soldiers, the Navy used the reflecting pool to train sailors! You can still see old black-and-white photos of men rowing on the pool when you visit the San Diego History Center, a bit further to the east down El Prado.
These photographs are of the small pond-like section right next to the Botanical Building. This is the best place to watch brightly colored Koi swimming about.
I snapped this pic of the San Diego Trolley Yard at the 12th and Imperial Transit Center from the bridge above Harbor Drive. This new pedestrian bridge is a great spot for views of gleaming downtown skyscrapers, the Convention Center, Petco Park, the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, and the trolley and train yards.
This cool photograph was taken through a fence, giving the image a cluttered, layered, weirdly tangled appearance. The red trolleys seem to snake their way through a gray complex jumble of curving rails, vertical electrical poles and the grid of the blurred fence. It’s an image that fascinates the eye!
Here’s a less fascinating photo taken another day…
This photo turned out pretty good! Wish I could say it was the result of incredible photographic skill! But I must admit to being lucky once in a while…
This dazzling downtown skyscraper, not far from the Santa Fe Depot, reflects the deep blue summer sky and broken white clouds in a truly spectacular way! Look closely, and you can also see the reflection of the One America Plaza building which stands directly across Broadway.
I love that most of the newer skyscrapers in San Diego are a shiny silver or blue or green–like gleaming ocean waves rising above the sandy tan-colored buildings at their feet. The color scheme gives the skyline a watery cool, light and inviting appearance.
Here come two fun pics I took of the same building on a later date…
Here’s another photo of the fantastic mural shown in my previous post. It provides a wider view. This outstanding example of super cool street art can be found on the outside wall of Pokez, an artsy vegetarian Mexican restaurant in downtown San Diego.
The mural’s design is jam-packed with brilliant color, urban style and symbolism, and feels both organic and futuristic. It reminds me somewhat of the spray-painted “space art” you see occasionally being created by street performers in Seaport Village, the Gaslamp, or Balboa Park.
This might be the most awesome street art in downtown San Diego…at least, that I’ve seen. This fantastic, super vibrant mural adorns the east wall of Pokez, a popular vegetarian Mexican restaurant on E Street at 10th Avenue. The riot of neon bright colors is so crisp and exciting one just stands transfixed on the sidewalk, immersed in the rampant creativity.
As I photographed the spray-painted mural, a young lady walked by and commented that she really liked it, too!
Here’s the right side of a tile bench painted by San Diego school kids. Check out my previous post for the left side and a brief explanation.
I love to sit on these fun tile benches near the Maritime Museum of San Diego and gaze out at the water. I have a weakness for this sort of inexcusable, lazy inactivity. Oh, well. Loafing wide-eyed on a sunshiny day is my personal definition of exciting urban living!
Here are more photos of the colorful benches along this stretch of the Embarcadero…
Along the Embarcadero near the Maritime Museum of San Diego you’ll discover a great walkway at the edge of the bay.
One can look straight down at gentle water lapping wood pilings, see small fish darting below like silver points of light, watch lesser terns wheeling in the sky and diving, see black cormorants hunting underwater like feathered submarines…and gracefully soaring pelicans, and sailboats racing, and a blue sky, and huge ships coming in carrying cars from Asia, and airplanes landing at Lindbergh Field, and a glittering downtown skyline nearby, and the distant lighthouse on Point Loma…
You get the idea. It’s an extremely interesting stroll at any time of the year!
Along the walkway, twelve colorfully tiled benches await those who’d like to sit. The tiles were painted by many local K-6 student artists in 2004, Celebrating the Big Bay, in partnership with the Port of San Diego and the San Diego Children’s Museum.
The benches contain pictures of the ocean, fish, fantastic sea creatures, gulls, whales, ships, mermaids, palm trees, and happy, smiling stick figure people, as envisioned by artistic children with a paint brush.
The above photograph shows the left end of one bench.
Here’s the oft-photographed figurehead of San Diego’s famous tall ship Star of India. I learned from a Maritime Museum of San Diego docent that the figurehead represents Euterpe, one of the Muses from Greek mythology. Euterpe was the muse of music. Euterpe was also the original name of the Star of India, when it was built at Ramsey in the Isle of Man in 1863. Her name was changed from Euterpe to Star of India in 1906 by the Alaska Packers’ Association, which had purchased the ship in 1901.
During today’s morning walk I took a couple other photographs which I will share. Here’s a pic of San Diego’s beloved tall ship Star of India! Many visitors don’t realize that this iron-hulled three-masted bark is the oldest active sailing ship in the entire world! If you ever swing by America’s Finest City, you can go onboard and enjoy a memorable glimpse of maritime history.
With clouds of white sails fluttering in the breeze, she remains the queen of The Big Bay! She’s 150 years old and still appears to be in great condition!