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USA

San Diego

Home?

sunny 70 °F

We've been in San Diego for just two months and we've made three small trips already, two to LA to see my Mom and one to San Francisco to see friends, so we are closer to being tourists in San Diego than we are to feeling like residents. That will pass, of course, and we are in the process of changing our condo to make it feel more like home, but meanwhile I can talk about San Diego as if I was visiting.
To begin with, downtown San Diego is quite small, about one and a quarter miles square. You can easily walk from any corner to any other, which means that if you are staying anywhere in town, park your car and forget it. And like any city, you'll see a lot more and get more of the flavor of the town if you walk. By the way, I call it a town because that is the feeling downtown has. Only 35,000 people live in the area bordered by Interstate 5 even though the total population of the city is 1.2 million.
When you visit, you will want to walk down 5th street and experience the Gas Lamp District. While interesting during the day, night time is best as that's when the place comes alive. The restaurants are a bit more expensive than the rest of the city and the meals we have had have been pretty ordinary, but the atmosphere is something you'll want to enjoy.
The other night time area is Little Italy, a stretch of about six blocks on India Street not too far from the airport. As the name implies, you will find most things Italian including many restaurants. The food is better here but the selection is limited. Be in the mood for pasta.
During the day, our favorite stretch of downtown is the Marina area from Waterfront Park to Seaport Village. The village has a dozen small restaurants where you can grab lunch and almost always eat outside. San Diego has over 330 days of sunshine a year and even winter days are usually in the 60's. Unfortunately, Seaport Village is going to be torn down and replaced by a "resort". Chances are the charm will vanish with the wrecking ball.
If you enjoy ships, the waterfront has two ship museums: the Midway - a World War II aircraft carrier, and the Maritime Museum of San Diego, which has half a dozen different ships to tour including two submarines, a Spanish Galleon, and the Star of India, a three masted sailing ship. Either museum will take you at least four hours to see, and both are worth the time.
Downtown has an array of museums, shops, some interesting old buildings, and a set of new skyscrapers along the waterfront. The convention center is also located downtown, famous for its Comic-con.
You could easily spend two or three days without leaving the heart of the city, but most people are going to want to visit Balboa Park just a mile to the north. The park is large, famous for the San Diego Zoo, but also filled with museums, gardens, a lovely municipal golf course, and the Old Globe Theater: far too much to see in a day.
And there is more: Old Town San Diego, the birthplace of California; Coronado Island and the Hotel Del Coronado; Point Loma with its beautiful views, lighthouse, and early settlements; and many other places all still withing San Diego. Certainly more than we've been able to see even having been here 50 days.

Posted by randjb 12:49 Archived in USA Tagged san diego downtown Comments (0)

Boston: Off to college

A month in Boston

sunny 77 °F
View 2017 Summer on randjb's travel map.

We arrived in Boston Aug. 19 having taken a Norwegian Airline flight from Venice via Oslo. For those unaware, the reason for Boston is that Chesirae is going to Emerson College, moving into the dorm on Aug. 28. We booked an Airbnb, one bedroom apartment in Back Bay for a month to give us plenty of time to get settled, see Boston, move her in and make the transition. Back Bay is a great place to see Boston from - highly recommend it for its location but even more because it is a great place to live.
To our delight, Mark and Mary visited Boston for four days during the first week we were here, helping to make up for their not being able to join us in Granada. That was a busy and delightful time, though they had weather adventures both getting into Boston and back out again. All worked out fine, we are glad to say, though they did have to spend one night sleeping on the floor of the Kansas City airport.
The following Monday we woke up excited knowing this was the big move day. Chesirae to the "T" from our place to Emerson. We are staying only a mile away but with suitcase in hand, the T is a lot easier. Debbie and I stayed back until she gave us the word that she was ready for the rest of her stuff: four suitcases and two boxes. We managed to fit that all in a single Lift car but only room for one of us to ride. Debbie is always looking for a reason to walk, so I took the ride.
We pulled next to the curb in front of Emerson and a crew of Emerson students helped unload the car, putting everything on a cart which they wheeled into the dorm and up the elevator. Emerson College is on Boylston Street directly across from the Commons, on one of its busiest corners. With roughly 500 students moving in that Monday, most of whom arrived by car, the logistics for handling the traffic should have been daunting, but obviously Emerson has done this before. The Lift car was in and out in less than five minutes.
We helped Chesirae with her initial unpacking and then did some critical shopping for her new digs. Lunch was at Intermission Tavern, half a block from the college, across from the Majestic Theatre on Tremont Street. Highly recommend this tavern for an authentic Boston experience though they do over air condition.
Chesirae sent us off that evening and, though we did drop by the next day, she was pretty clear that parents needed to move on and let their kids go. We have seen her roughly once a week since, particularly when she's in need of a better than average meal, but we have no doubt about her independence. We are now in the "only when needed" stage of parenting, and I get the feeling her needing us will decrease fairly quickly in the next year.
Of course, this is what we have been aiming at ever since we got her in China, and we are proud parents. At the same time, waking up without her in the house has required an adjustment, and I'm still working out just how our new relationship needs to adjust. In the first two weeks of school, we've had one minor crisis that needed hugs but otherwise she has set her own sail. We will watch her course with interest and love.
Meanwhile, Debbie and I are also adjusting to having just the two of us around with no set schedule or "must" things to do. We've had a lot of fun in Boston enjoying a wide variety of experiences including theatre and comedy clubs, two river cruises, the science museum, walking tours, lots of history, house tours, and even a Red Sox game. Now, we have a couple of events remaining but are ready to move onto San Diego and start settling into our new home. (We think Dan and Kim have been there more than we have! :-)
When we leave next Monday, we think that finishes the big changes we've experienced in 2017, but who knows what's in store.
We do know we will be in the Bay Area the last week of October and are taking a 15 day cruise with Doug and Debbie through the Panama Canal in December - so the travels will continue...

Posted by randjb 13:15 Archived in USA Tagged bay back college boston emerson chesirae Comments (0)

Yellowstone

Three days in the park

all seasons in one day
View 2017 Summer on randjb's travel map.

Yellowstone tries hard to keep the experience of the park as close to nature as it can, a tradition that dates back at least to the early 20th century when the superintendent wanted to prohibit cars in favor of keeping stagecoaches. Today, the hotel rooms have indoor bathrooms and heat, but TVs and the internet are still not available so the only time you tend to spend in the room is for sleeping.
Consequently, in three days we covered a lot of the park: the three geyser basins, the lake, the Grand Loop Road, Mammoth Springs, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. We saw numerous bison and mule tail deer, a couple of bears, and Debbie and Chesirae saw a big horn sheep while I was driving.
My favorite spots were Minerva Terrace and the waterfalls at the top of the Grand Canyon, the first a unique natural structure, nothing like it in my experience; the second dramatic action in a spectacular setting.
Wedged in-between the family gathering and parties in Jackson and our trip to Paris, Yellowstone was a quiet oasis, oddly away from people even though tens of thousands of people visit the park each day.

Posted by randjb 05:49 Archived in USA Tagged park national yellowstone Comments (0)

Jackson Hole

Living in the now

all seasons in one day 60 °F
View 2017 Summer on randjb's travel map.

We have finally begun our summer trip, our graduation present to Chesirae.
The first stop was my sister's 70th birthday celebration in Jackson Hole, WY. Details would include parties, trips up the mountain, meals and shopping in Jackson, but frankly I don't think that's of much interest to anyone who wasn't there.
Instead, I want to share an insight Debbie and I had as we realized we would be on the road for over three months and not returning to the Bay Area and our home except as visitors.
We discovered that "home" is now wherever we happen to be at the moment. We have no place we have to go, no place we have to return to, no schedule we have to meet, and no one we have to answer to. We are, perhaps for the first time, truly living in the here and now. Each day is its own experience with the choices about what we want to do today. Tomorrow will take care of itself when we get there.
I think we are going to need a few months to get used to this new reality. Being travelers along a road we cannot predict but that we can choose each day is going to be special, an experience I wish for all of you, if not for years of your life, at least for some time. The feeling of freedom is unparalleled, living in the moment exhilarating.
We hope each of you will choose to join us for parts of this journey.
Rand

Posted by randjb 09:38 Archived in USA Tagged the in living now Comments (0)

Moving to San Diego

Via Yosemite

sunny 65 °F
View Moving to San Diego via Yosemite & Wedding and move from Cabot Court on randjb's travel map.

Having a place to live in San Diego before we left for Europe was unexpected and brought about more changes. We had already planned to see Yosemite in May given that they turned the falls on this year, but that trip now needed to be part of our move to San Diego. We drove up on Tuesday, May 16, had a wonderful day of sightseeing on Wednesday, including breakfast at the Ahwahnee (don't ask me to call if the Majestic), and finished the day with dinner at the Wawona Hotel. Our room in the hotel was a visit to the past, perhaps a little too authentic as we had no bathroom. I guess the good news was that we had a short stay, waking up at 3 a.m. to begin the drive to San Diego.
Turned out that though I wanted the movers to come Friday, the best they could do was Thursday. I negotiated a starting time of noon, so we needed to get from Yosemite to San Diego before lunch. Not too many cars on the road at 3:30 a.m. but, surprisingly, we were not completely alone even while driving in the Sierras. We ended up in the LA basin just in time for rush hour and therefore turned east until we reached Ontario. From there, we took I-15 into San Diego, arriving at 11 a.m.
The movers worked hard an got all our furniture and boxes into the condo and storage area that afternoon. Debbie and I spent the next week getting most of the boxes unpacked and the furniture arranged, altogether making considerably more progress than I thought we would, especially as our contractor, Ray, needed us to make some decisions we hadn't planned on such as selecting the lighting fixtures and mirrors we wanted installed.
We got most everything done in the next week and flew to the Bay Area just long enough to pickup Chesirae and fly back to LA for Sharry's sushi party, which also provided us a chance to give Chesirae a surprise graduation party. Mom, Dan and Kim, Lysa and Todd, and Tyler all were also there, as well as Kasey and her girls.
Debbie and Chesirae returned to the Bay Area on Sunday while I took a train on Memorial Day back to San Diego. I spent the week continuing the unpacking and organizing of the condo. Dan became our first guest as he came down for an overnight visit. On Friday, I moved all the furniture into whatever spaces I could find that were out of the way, as construction starts Monday, June 5. With that, I flew back to the Bay Area, one more week before we begin our summer trip to Europe.

Posted by randjb 11:14 Archived in USA Tagged san diego yosemite moving Comments (0)

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