Early winter color in a Japanese garden.

It’s early winter here in Southern California. Most trees are shedding their leaves at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park, but many colorful branches still show a vivid beauty.

I took a slow walk through the Lower Garden this afternoon. Bright yellows and oranges attracted my camera. Here are some photos of early winter beauty in one of San Diego’s most amazing places, the Japanese Friendship Garden.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

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Walking through beauty in Palm Canyon.

Balboa Park’s shady Palm Canyon contains several dirt trails. Select one, then descend into beauty.

Sunlight shines mysteriously through translucent green palm fronds and leaves. Magical light touches your path in unexpected places.

Walk slowly. Look up and all around…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

A few odd photos in late December.

Here are a few odd photos that I took today as I walked about Balboa Park–and some of these are indeed odd!

December Nights is over and people are busy getting ready for Christmas, so fewer visitors are milling about the park.

We are entering that winter season when Balboa Park is a bit quieter, a bit more peaceful. I’m looking forward to it.

I’ve already posted several blogs over on Cool San Diego Sights, and I’m just about blogged out today, but I wanted to share a few more photos.

I’m leaving out captions. Insert your own!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Shadow magic at Natural History Museum.

I was walking through Balboa Park this evening shortly before sundown, just letting my eyes wander at random, when I noticed all sorts of complex shadows around and upon the San Diego Natural History Museum.

The fantastic shadows and effects of light appeared to me like strange magic. So I took a few photographs…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

House of Hospitality courtyard garden replanted!

Some say the House of Hospitality is the heart of Balboa Park. I can understand why. Visitors who pass through the courtyard colonnade might feel they’ve wandered into a beautiful dream.

The House of Hospitality’s fantastic architecture, interior garden and iconic sculpture by Donal Hord appear like a painting of paradise. An eternal canvas into which the living step–if only for a moment.

With the recent refreshing of the historic garden’s four corner planters, the Spanish Colonial courtyard is more alive and welcoming than ever.

Originally created for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, the House of Hospitality was rebuilt by architect Richard Requa for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition. In 1997 the building was recreated as accurately as possible from historical documents.

Before sunset today I walked about the courtyard, read a sign which described the garden’s revitalization, then climbed stairs to the second floor balcony.

Sunlight was slanting into the outdoor courtyard, turning many of its trees and plants bright green. And high above it all, up in the blue sky, shined that eternally amazing tower…

Sign explains how aging plants in the House of Hospitality's courtyard garden were replanted and refreshed, with the help of Urban Corps of San Diego.
Sign explains how aging plants in the House of Hospitality’s courtyard garden were replanted and refreshed, with the help of Urban Corps of San Diego.

At the center of the House of Hospitality courtyard is Woman of Tehuantepec, a 1935 sculpture and fountain by Donal Hord.
At the center of the House of Hospitality’s courtyard is Woman of Tehuantepec, a 1935 sculpture and fountain by Donal Hord.

In one of the four planters is a time capsule placed on September 13, 1997, to be opened May 29, 2035, the centennial of the California Pacific International Exposition.
In one of the four planters is a time capsule placed on September 13, 1997, to be opened May 29, 2035, the centennial of the California Pacific International Exposition.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

A colorful celebration of Hungary’s culture!

Hungarian folk dance on stage at the House of Hungary lawn program in Balboa Park.
Hungarian folk dance on stage at the House of Hungary lawn program in Balboa Park.

This afternoon I caught a bit of the House of Hungary’s lawn program at the International Cottages in Balboa Park.

While I didn’t sample any of the Hungarian food (having previously eaten a big lunch), I did feast my eyes and ears on Hungarian culture, including traditional music, singing, dance, costume, and even a short but fascinating talk about fashion, for which Hungary is historically famous.

This annual celebration takes place on or about August 20, a national holiday in Hungary that memorializes the first King of Hungary, King Stephen I. Stephen was canonized by the Catholic Church, and his feast day is celebrated on the same day.

The Karpatok Hungarian Dance Ensemble entertains the audience with a traditional bottle dance.
The Kárpátok Hungarian Dance Ensemble entertains the audience with a traditional bottle dance.
The proud flag of Hungary could be spotted here and there in the crowd.
The proud flag of Hungary could be spotted here and there in the crowd.
A fashion designer and beauty queens await their turn on stage as a young man sings a Hungarian folk song.
A fashion designer and beauty queens await their turn on stage as a young man sings a Hungarian folk song.
Hungarian food at the program included sausage sandwiches, crepes (palacsinta), fried dough (lángos) and authentic Hungarian pastries.
Hungarian food at the program included sausage sandwiches, crepes (palacsinta), fried dough (lángos) and authentic Hungarian pastries.
People enjoyed eating sweet Kürtőskalács, which is also known as chimney cake.
People enjoyed eating sweet Kürtőskalács, which is also referred to as chimney cake.
San Diego Continuing Education fashion instructor Tammie Pontsler talks about an award-winning dress she made for the Salk design challenge.
San Diego Continuing Education fashion instructor Tammie Pontsler talks about an award-winning dress she made for the Salk design challenge.
Violinist from the Lux Ensemble entertains everybody with happy Hungarian music.
Violinist from the Lux Ensemble entertains everybody with happy Hungarian music.
The culture of Hungary is celebrated in Balboa Park at the International Cottages!
The culture of Hungary is celebrated in Balboa Park at the International Cottages!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Balboa Park artwork near Santa Fe Depot.

Tile mosaic artwork in downtown San Diego near the Santa Fe Depot depicts Balboa Park's iconic California Building and Kate Sessions.
Tile mosaic artwork in downtown San Diego near the Santa Fe Depot depicts Balboa Park’s iconic California Building and Kate Sessions.

The Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego was built to welcome visitors arriving by train for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park. So it’s appropriate that public art near the historic depot contains several historical representations of Balboa Park.

The tile artwork, titled The Tracks We Leave Behind, is a visual timeline of San Diego’s history. The beautiful mosaics were created by Betsy K. Schulz in 2008.

I’ve posted more photos of these amazing mosaics on my Cool San Diego Sights website here and here.

Bea Evenson, founder of The Committee of 100, at Casa del Prado 1971.
Bea Evenson, founder of The Committee of 100, at Casa del Prado in 1971.
First Emperor Penguin born in captivity at the San Diego Zoo.
First Emperor Penguin born in captivity at the San Diego Zoo.
Harry Wegeforth, founder of the San Diego Zoo, doffs his hat while riding an elephant.
Harry Wegeforth, founder of the San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, doffs his hat while riding an elephant.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!