Train trip to San Diego

Thursday we joined Leo and Lisa for a trip to San Diego. Randy drove us 2 miles to the transit station, where we thought we could get some helpful hints from the person in the office. But she didn't know anything and didn't want to talk to us anyway. Fortunately a nearby guard felt otherwise. He was more than glad to give us information (all of it useful) and share his plans to move to Philadelphia soon. He was a nice guy, and gave us a good start to our day. We took the Sprinter train to Oceanside, where we took the Coaster train to San Diego. Amtrak comes in to the San Diego depot, also. The depot building used to belong to the Santa Fe Railway, and it still has a beautiful "Santa Fe" sign. 
We started out by walking to nearby Seaport Village, a shopping center full of local flavor. I thoroughly enjoyed the pirate shop (it's called Captain's Cove, but it's really a pirate shop), and still can't believe I didn't buy anything there. They have a Looff Carousel on the grounds here. Charles Looff is a famous name in carousel carving. He started in Coney Island and branched out into creating complete amusement parks. This beauty is everything a carousel should be.
We enjoyed the sights in the Village, then went to find somewhere to eat. A lot of walking was involved; there are restaurants everywhere, but we were looking for something special. At one point we decided to go to Hodad's, where Randy and I ate in May. But we didn't have any luck getting there, it was the first time we used the directional app and we didn't use it right. So we went to the East Village Tavern and Bowl. Yes, bowling. The restaurant is on one side of the building and the bowling alley is on the other side. They share a restroom and I got a kick out of the restroom signs - they look like they are carrying their little heads!
Randy ordered wings while I got the mac-and-cheese with pulled pork. Pretty darn good.
Then we needed to walk off some of that. We headed back west, towards the shoreline. Along the way we stopped at the Goorin Brothers "Bold Hatmakers" shop. This hatmaker started in 1895 and now has shops across the country; we visited one in New Orleans
Loved their hats and their decor; they used Victrola horns as light fixtures.
Still walking off lunch, but we decided to stop at the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop for ice cream cones. Some things you just gotta do. 

Like looking at cars we won't buy. Exotic Classic USA has a bunch of those, from the silver Aston Martin in front to the yellow Rolls Royce in back. Really, really nice, but not going home with us.
So we went on, to the Westfield Horton Plaza. Lots of cool shops here but what caught my eye was the beautiful Jessop's clock. 
It's 80 years old and it's inside works, which are visible behind glass, are magical. 
Enough looking at shops, time to look at ships. In San Diego that means the beautiful Star of India. She's still docked there at the Maritime Museum, just as she was back in 1980 when we first visited this area. She is the world's oldest active sailing vessel, from 1853. Amazing!
Docked next to her is the HMS Surprise, which looks like a great pirate ship. That's probably because it was built in 1970 as a replica of a 1757 frigate. This one is a movie star, used in "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides".
A little way away from the ships is a 25 foot statue of the famous kiss at the end of WWII. The plaque calls it "Embracing Peace" but it seems to be known as it's former name, "Unconditional Surrender". Every group that came up to see it included couples who recreated the pose for their friends to photograph.
Another new memorial is "A National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military". It's a pretty good likeness of Bob, performing in front of a cross-section of military men and women. A compilation of Bob's monologues plays in the background.
I looked up these two statues online and learned that a bunch of art critics are upset; apparently it's poor taste nowadays to create a statue that actually looks like someone, it must always be artsy-fartsy. But I like these just fine, and so did the crowds.

By then it was time to head back to the depot and ride the trains home. We got home after dark, but it gets dark at 5 pm, so it wasn't really very late.

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