Amish in San Diego, postcards, and Mexico.

I learned something interesting yesterday.

I was downtown inside the Santa Fe Depot, waiting at the train station’s kiosk for my microwaved chicken burrito, when I noticed a stand containing postcards. I wondered, in this digital age of ubiquitous cell phone cameras, where anyone can instantly post photos to social media, who would buy postcards? I asked and received a surprising reply. Amish tourists love postcards!

Which makes sense. The Amish tend to live much more simple lives, remaining largely “in the past” and shunning many of the conveniences of modern technology. And it seems to me that in some respects this might be wise. Less distraction. More eye to eye human contact.

I’ve often wondered why I sometimes see Amish folk walking around downtown San Diego, gazing about in wonder at the tall buildings and hustle and bustle around them. It seems a very odd place for these people to be. One thinks of the Amish driving pony carts in the rural Midwest or Northeast, not walking about urban California in the extreme southwestern corner of the United States.

I was told by my friend at the kiosk that the Amish come to San Diego to seek medical treatments in Mexico. I did an internet search and found this page with some explanation.

I asked my friend what Amish “tourists” were like. He explained they tend to be very quiet, but if you initiate a conversation they are surprisingly friendly and open, and in many respects much like you or me.

Next time I see these plain-dressed folk walking about, I think I’ll smile and say hello.

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 from under the historic Cabrillo Bridge.

Few people admire Balboa Park’s historic Cabrillo Bridge from below–unless it’s a brief glimpse as they drive into or out of downtown San Diego along State Route 163.

Today I followed a dirt trail from Balboa Park’s West Mesa down to the base of the Cabrillo Bridge. I started at Nate’s Point Dog Park, descended quickly and soon found myself walking under the 40 feet wide, 120 feet high, 1,505 feet long marvel of engineering. (The dramatic main span is 450 feet.)

The very beautiful Cabrillo Bridge, which crosses Cabrillo Canyon, was finished in 1914 in time for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. The multiple-arched cantilever structure was the first bridge of its kind in California. According to Wikipedia: “An initial design for the bridge was developed by Bertram Goodhue that featured three large arches. The design was to be similar to Toledo, Spain’s Alcántara Bridge. However, Frank P. Allen, Jr. convinced Balboa Park commissioners to choose a cheaper design by Thomas B. Hunter of San Francisco that looked similar to other bridges in Mexico and Spain.”

The Cabrillo Bridge with its seven arches is made of reinforced concrete. 7,700 cubic yards of it! Inside the bridge there is 4,050 tons of steel. You might notice how the bridge’s graceful design resembles a Roman aqueduct. It has a simple, classic appearance that is both iconic and pleasing to the eye.

In 1975 the Cabrillo Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1986 it was designated a San Diego Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

In a couple of my early photos, which I took periodically as I walked down the trail, you can see Balboa Park’s distinctive California Tower rising just beyond the east end of the bridge.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Hidden art in alleys around San Diego!

Over the years, I’ve walked through a variety of “art alleys” around San Diego. Some of these art-filled alleys are well known to those who live in the community; others are not.

It’s exciting to stumble upon this “hidden” street art by pure chance!

Walking into an otherwise unremarkable alley, suddenly surrounded by murals, graffiti and other fantastic artwork, can be like entering a dazzling world of pure imagination! The degree of creativity and devoted artistry can really amaze.

Let’s revisit some of this very cool alley art!

To see lots of colorful photographs, click the following links. I’ve grouped these past blog posts by location in San Diego County:

Vista

Murals in and around Alley Art Man Way!

El Cajon

Step into El Cajon’s super cool Arts Alley!

Logan Heights

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles street art!

Bold urban art in a Logan Heights alley.

Barrio Logan

Cool street art in two alleys on National Avenue.

Cool street art: The Nest Murals near Chicano Park.

Another very colorful mural in Barrio Logan!

Mission Beach

Cool street art in a Mission Beach alley!

Normal Heights

The fantastic graffiti of Flash Alley!

North Park

Three cool murals in a North Park alley!

More fun photos of street murals in North Park.

La Mesa

Murals in urban park celebrate La Mesa volunteers.

Ocean Beach

Two cool murals in an Ocean Beach alley.

City Heights

San Diego’s drive-through art gallery expands!

Painting cool new murals in City Heights!

Old Town

Murals of San Diego history in an Old Town alley.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Sculptures near the Oceanside train underpass.

The Last Wave of the Day, 2004, by artist Steven L. Rieman. A sculpture in Oceanside, California, two blocks from the beach and pier.
The Last Wave of the Day, 2004, by artist Steven L. Rieman. A sculpture in Oceanside, California, two blocks from the beach and pier.

During my recent walk through Oceanside, I passed two large public sculptures. One stood at either end of the pedestrian railroad underpass at Pier View Way.

The sculpture on the west side of the train tracks, at Myers Street, was created by Steven L. Rieman in 2004 and is titled The Last Wave of the Day. Fashioned from stainless steel, corten steel, and cast concrete panels, the sculpture is an abstract depiction of a surfer.

Head west down Pier View Way and you’ll end up at the foot of the Oceanside Pier.

The artist’s website is here.

Looking west through the abstract surfer toward palm trees above the beach.
Looking west through the abstract surfer toward palm trees above the beach.

The kinetic sculpture east of the railroad underpass, and a bit to the north, at Cleveland Street, was created by Andrew Carson. The artist on his website describes a personal fascination with wind, whirligigs and weather vanes, and you can see it in many of his wind sculpture pieces.

I believe this Oceanside sculpture was created in 2019. Unfortunately, the glass “leaves” and other colorful bits were in the shadow of the SALT building when I took my photographs, so they weren’t shining in sunlight.

A tall, kinetic wind sculpture in Oceanside, California by artist Andrew Carson, in front of the SALT building.
A tall, kinetic wind sculpture in Oceanside, California by artist Andrew Carson. It stands in front of the SALT apartment building.

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!

Flying pigs and other cool Oceanside murals!

I spotted a bunch of street art during a recent walk down South Coast Highway, from Mission Avenue to Wisconsin Avenue. I already shared photos of the Cafe 101 mural in my previous blog post. The following photos are of the other cool murals I encountered.

I did my best to capture as much of the artwork near the roof of Skoolyard Records as possible. The long Oceanside mural is on the side of Flying Pig Pub and Kitchen.

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!

The cool Cruisin’ carhop mural at 101 Cafe!

If you love cool cars and nostalgia you’ll like this mural. It’s painted on the south side of 101 Cafe in Oceanside. The mural depicts a carhop outside wearing roller skates. She’s serving food to customers in a woodie, hot rod and several other classic cars.

101 Cafe dates back to 1928. The original twenty seat diner was built on US Highway 101, the main road back then from Los Angeles to San Diego.

The small restaurant has gone through many changes over the years. At one time it was a drive-in. It’s now a diner specializing in breakfast, and features 1950’s decor–including this great mural!

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!

Amazing mosaic wall at the Del Mar Library!

Walk down the sidewalk to the front of the Del Mar Library and you’ll suddenly stop in your tracks. That’s because your eyes will be captivated by the amazing Del Mar Mosaic Wall!

The mixed media mural, created by artists Betsy Schulz and Pat Welsh with the help of community volunteers, was finished in 2003. Found objects, brick and stone were combined with clay forms to produce beautiful images of coastal wildlife, including sea birds and fish. The low walls beside steps climbing to the public library’s front entrance depict dozens of Garibaldi fish, each with the name of a donor to the project.

If the artist Betsy Schulz sounds familiar, that’s because she has created some of the most amazing mosaics around San Diego. If you want to see more of her work, click here or here or here or here or 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!

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!

Cool photo memories from July 2015.

San Diego had an “ordinary” summer five years ago. There was no coronavirus pandemic to shut public events down. So, you might ask, what was going on in San Diego back in July 2015?

Well, for one thing, Comic-Con. And I took loads of photos!

But there were other unique San Diego events, too. By clicking the following links, you’ll notice I brought my camera to the Sun and Sea Festival in Imperial Beach, the Festival of the Bells at the historic Mission San Diego de Alcalá, and the Supergirl Pro surfing competition at the Oceanside Pier. I also by pure luck met a world-renowned artist while walking along the Embarcadero!

To revisit a few memories from five years ago, click the following links:

Some cool photos from Comic-Con Preview Night.

Cool cosplay and fun outside San Diego Comic-Con.

Super cool awesome cosplay at San Diego Comic-Con!

Insane Comic-Con: crowds, hype, fun and firemen!

Photos of cool sand sculptures at Sun and Sea Festival!

Celebrating San Diego history at Festival of the Bells.

Rivelino’s Our Silences sculptures head to San Francisco.

Fun, sun and extreme sports action at Supergirl Pro!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

You can help restore murals around San Diego!

Do you love art? Do you love San Diego’s unique history and culture? Do you want to beautify our city?

Your help is needed!

As you might have read in my previous blog post, local artists have formed a team that intends to restore many of San Diego’s neighborhood murals. Over time street murals can become faded, peeled, dirty or defaced, and need a little love to restore them to their full glory.

The growing Southeast Art Team, led by a super optimistic, smiling Kim Phillips-Pea, has plans to restore various murals in different San Diego communities. But, of course, buying paint and other supplies requires funds. That is where you come in!

You can help to restore beautiful murals around San Diego by visiting the Mural Restoration Project San Diego’s special GoFundMe page here.

Perhaps, like me, you don’t have much skill with a paintbrush, but you can provide a helping hand to mural-restoring artists who do!

Click here!

A fun idea for Fourth of July weekend!

Looking for something fun to do this Fourth of July weekend? Are you disappointed that most public events have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic? I’ve got a great idea!

Head downtown to the Embarcadero and enjoy an hour or two at the Maritime Museum of San Diego! You know, that cool attraction on the bay with the tall-masted ships, including world-famous Star of India. They’re going to be open all weekend long!

I visited the museum this afternoon (I’m a member) and learned they reopened yesterday. Given the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, they and other local museums might be ordered to close again as soon as next week if cases continue to rise in San Diego. So now might be your best chance to visit this year.

Much of your museum adventure will be spent in the healthy, sunny outdoors, exploring the Maritime Museum’s beautiful, historic ships. I noticed that plenty of measures have been taken to ensure everyone’s safety. Make sure to bring your face covering–it’s required.

Sadly, you will not be allowed to enter inside the two submarines, or step aboard the HMS Surprise, because of her ongoing redecking. But there’s plenty else to see and experience!

Those of you who follow my blog know that the Maritime Museum of San Diego is one of my favorite destinations. If you like history and the sea, and standing over the bright water, gazing up at white sails while imagining you’re on a journey across the wide blue ocean, you might love it, too!

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!