This morning we found an Episcopal church nearby, and were amused when the GPS took us on the freeway and Interstate to get to it, but through a peaceful residential neighbourhood – and in much less time – to get us back to the KOA!
Our afternoon brought us on a two-hour tour through all the highlights of the city, from top to bottom. Hatch was the name of our driver and guide, and what a lively fellow he was! His descriptions of buildings and streets, parks and personalities, history and anecdotes kept us listening with rapt attention from start to finish. And whenever he found an appropriate moment, he’d switch on a sound track and get us to sing – “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” as we passed the ballpark where the San Diego Padres play; “Anchors Aweigh” when we passed the naval base – you get the idea!
The tour began in Old Town which has been designated as a state park. Historic buildings, such as the school, newspaper office and courthouse, have been restored, while some have resumed their previous roles as candy stores and other mercantiles, with extensive inventories and lots of clients.
The harbour was familiar territory for us from yesterday, but we learned, as we passed some long white buildings next to the waterfront, that the woman who became known as Rosie the Riveter worked inside them in the mid-1940s building airplanes for the war effort. Hatch also told us that bananas from Central America and cars from Asia were the number one and two commodities arriving at the local ports.
We were pleased to cross the San Diego Coronado Bridge to see the town on the other side of the bay – as well as get a bird’s eye view of the harbour from the bridge’s highest point. There were lots of beautiful gardens and parks in Coronado, and with the warm sun and flowers everywhere, it was a delight to the eye. At the magnificent Hotel Del Coronado, we learned, the future King Edward met and fell for Mrs. Simpson, and Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon filmed “Some Like it Hot”.
The Gaslamp Quarter and Little Italy (a bit of a misnomer for a very large part of town) came next, after crossing back over the bridge, and then we went to Balboa Park, a huge sector where museums, cultural centers, gardens and even the San Diego Zoo are laid out for an appreciative public. Since it was Sunday afternoon, and a sunny one at that, lots of families and little ones were out and about, enjoying the day.
After a great tour, we headed back to the car and set the GPS for the seafood restaurant. We were pleased to find a parking space right near Anthony’s, and to learn that on Sundays, parking is free! It made our dinner all the more pleasant, as we enjoyed clam chowder, fresh warm buns, and a medley of shrimp, salmon and crab cakes, and watched the golden sun set on what is known as America’s finest city.