Sublime San Diego

We lived in San Diego for several years. Leaving there was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It’s a beautiful city and there is no end to the terrific weather and outdoor entertainment opportunities. But, alas, economics speak louder than sunshine and when a promotion opportunity presented itself which required relocating, sadly, we jumped on it. No regrets. I think.

Thankfully, we still have family in San Diego so we have an excuse to visit once in a while. But we hadn’t been back in over three years so we were quite surprised at HOW MUCH WE LOVE THIS PLACE. Why on earth did we ever leave?? Lol

This visit we spent a day at Ocean Beach. Beach culture was in rare form as there was a surfing competition going on. I never saw so many hairy legs, bare feet and tattoos in my life. Or at least not in three years. Talk about keeping it real. Surfers and surfer lovers were everywhere. Many had vans backed up to the beach and were pretty much camping out in them. And little nearly naked kids were scampering about or sleeping in the back of the vans.

Ocean Beach- giant waves under the pier

It was a perfect day for surfing. The waves were the biggest I’ve ever seen in Southern California. They were hitting the bottom of the pier. I don’t know how waves are measured but they looked about 15 feet tall. My sister-in-law was telling us that the pier had been damaged recently by monster waves during a storm and part of it had to be replaced. Since then they’ve occasionally had to close the pier to visitors for safety’s sake. She was surprised it wasn’t closed that day. I have no idea why the waves are higher than usual. Do you?

Anyway we enjoyed the most amazing lunch at a little well known burger joint called Hodad’s. That was a terrific experience altogether- the place is super fun and beachy and the food is delicious.

We spent a day at Balboa Park. In all seriousness, it would probably take 2-3 days to see everything Balboa Park has to offer, so one full day isn’t saying much. But gosh, the weather was lovely and this is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Skip did some sketching while his sister and I wandered around and enjoyed the sunshine. It was nice to have someone to hang out with while he sketched!

Here are a couple of his sketches:

I’m so glad when he has the opportunity to sketch. It really enriches our travel experience!!

We visited the San Diego Museum of Art which is in the park. Very nice museum and a wonderful way to pass a couple hours while we were waiting to meet the rest of the family for dinner. Here are a couple of my favorite pieces:

The Madonna of the Roses – Bouguereau
The Crucifixion- Bernat

We also really enjoyed a ‘Digital Animation’ exhibit called Fates by artist Nick Roth. It was ten minutes long and completely fascinating. Set to music in a dark room, we found it nearly hypnotizing. Here’s a brief video. Sorry, the video doesn’t do it justice.

Our visit was much too short. We had to head back home to Oklahoma early to beat an impending winter storm. Man, was it a shock to walk out into the frigid air at the airport in OKC! The next morning we awoke to nearly five inches of snow on the ground. We chose wisely. There were lots of flight delays and cancellations.

There’s so much more to see and do in San Diego but that’s mostly what we managed to do in our few days there. If you are planning a visit to SD and have questions or need suggestions, we’re happy to help!

Perfect Porto

So, our six days in Portugal are nearly over. A day on a bus. A day in our room. A day on foot. A day of going separate ways and a dead phone which makes for great drama. A day at the airport. (We tried to fly standby home today, but the flight was full.) Poor us. Another day in paradise.

Fortunately, we left the airport by 1:00 pm and the Urban Sketcher Symposium is still going strong so Skip was able to rejoin his friends and is now blissfully sketching City Hall at the very top of Pra├ža da Liberdade.

I am sitting under cover at a nearby McDonald’s sipping a quite nice, albeit tiny, cafe latte. And writing this post.

Porto is probably the most beautiful city I have ever seen. I believe I can say this without hyperbole. It’s clean. It’s historic. It sits on a mountain near the ocean AND a river. It’s beautifully manicured and life is in order here. The climate allows for the abundant growth of pretty much every plant I can imagine.

There are no words to describe this place.

We toured a port wine cellar on Thursday. It was a very nice presentation of the history and process of wine making, the differences in types of wine, white, red, rose, and tawny (which I had never heard of) followed by a tasting. But I particularly enjoyed the cool cavelike rooms they store the casks of wine in.

This one is older than me.

We walked down a hill that was SO STEEP I was clinging to the walls. I am not kidding!

I don’t know if you can tell from this picture but that’s pretty much straight down. We prevailed. It was the only thing that was between us and Starbucks and we were not backing down.

So. Come to Porto. Try the food with an open mind. Bring your walking shoes. And sign up for Uber. Uber has saved me. Thank you, Uber. I love you.