Some friends planned a day trip to San Diego’s Balboa Park on Sunday, June 15 to view The Natural World: Photographs by Thomas D. Mangelsen so what choice did I have but to tag along?
The photo above gives you an idea of the architectural styles of the buildings at the park.
My alarm went off at 3:30am so I could leave the house at 5:00am. Yes, it takes me a while to make coffee, feed the cats and get my brain in gear.
I rather enjoyed walking through the dark streets of Culver City with only a few people about, knowing most sane people were still tucked up in their beds snoring away.
I caught the 5:25am Metro bus #733 (the first bus of the day as it turns out) for a direct trip to Union Station. I was surprised to see the bus so packed, presumably with people going to work, even though it was a “bendy” bus with an extended section on the back.
I arrived at Union Station around 6:10am which gave me plenty of time to eat breakfast (a sandwich sitting outside in the peaceful North Patio) while I waited to meet my friends at 7:00am. I always like to be early wherever I go instead of stressing out about being late.
The above photo of the North Patio was taken in 2010 with my Olympus SP-350 point and shoot. It was, and still is, a great camera.
We boarded the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner train at 7:25am. We found four-person seating facing each other with plenty of leg room and lovely views from the large windows.
I love traveling by train and I was in heaven.
We arrived in San Diego (at the Santa Fe station) at 10:10am. I have driven to San Diego many times and this stress-free way of traveling is certainly a million times better than driving! It was fun looking out the window to see all the cars on the road while I was sitting back enjoying the views from my vantage point.
San Diego is 130 miles south of Culver City. The senior fare on Amtrak is $62. I calculated the cost of gasoline and wear and tear on the car just about balances out with Amtrak being a little cheaper. Now with four people traveling, of course driving is less expensive. But just not as much fun!
One other person was supposed to come with us but she missed the train and decided to drive down on her own. So when we arrived in San Diego she picked us up at the station to drive us to Balboa Park. She said even though she felt bad that her decision to drive on her own was not very eco-friendly, she felt her purpose was to drive us all to our destination so we didn’t have to take two buses and waste our time getting to the Natural History Museum!
I can accept that!
Photo above are some ducks having a lovely day at the park.
I had never heard of Thomas Mangelsen before this but I am definitely a fan now.
From his website at http://mangelsen.com: Legendary nature photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen has traveled throughout the natural world for nearly 40 years observing and photographing the Earth’s last great wild places… One of the most prolific nature photographers of our time, Mangelsen is as much an artist as he is a conservationist.
The displayed photos, taken with a Fuji 617 panoramic camera, are printed several feet wide. They seem to be sandwiched in plexiglass but I’m not really sure of the mounting process. All I can say is they pop… really magnificent.
After viewing the exhibit we were all hungry. We ate lunch at the Prado Restaurant. The wait in the main room was an hour so we found a table in the bar area. I chose the Spicy Calamari with Korean chili sauce and napa cabbage slaw which turned out to be an excellent choice.
For whatever reason I just wasn’t in photo-taking mode on this trip but I managed to take a few. Above is the Botanical Building.
I am coming back to San Diego in September for a writing workshop and intend to add on a couple of days to take a million photos. I plan to spend a whole day at Balboa Park.
To end our day we all took a ride on the 1910 carousel. M and I chose a “boat” with bench seats as we thought that would not be going up and down like the horses and other animals. Well, guess what… it started rocking violently up and down like we were in a storm with 20 ft waves!!! A couple of times I thought I was going to be thrown out head first as there were no seat belts and nothing to really hold on to…. and I felt my lunch coming up! Oh my… I survived to tell the story. And when the carousel stopped I wanted to go around again!
The train ride back to LA was not as comfortable as the ride down. We were on an older train with a single level. The windows were small and our four-seater had us knocking knees. Maybe they were short of trains for the return journey as it was pretty much packed with travelers returning home. But I would still rather do the trip by train and when I return in September Amtrak will be my means of travel, no contest!
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