La Jolla, California—A Jewel of a City

Mt Soledad Veterans Memorial 20160404_133915My husband and I were fortunate to spend a recent weekend in San Diego, California. One afternoon we drove through La Jolla, a suburb to the north of the city. According to the La Jolla visitor’s website, the origin of La Jolla’s name is not clear. It either derives from the Spanish “la joya”, which means “the jewel” or from the Native American “woholle” meaning “hole in the mountains”. It is a jewel, so I prefer the Spanish interpretation.

Our first stop was the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, a monument to veterans from all branches of the military over the last several decades. The monument is owned by the nonprofit Mt. Soledad Memorial Association. Over 4000 families have honored their veterans with black granite plaques on walls around the memorial. I was moved by the sight of these plaques, each of which is a story in miniature—a picture and an epitaph describing the sacrifice of the veteran and the love motivating each family to so honor their veteran.

As I walked around the memorial, a group of teenagers got out of their car and raced up the steps. “Where’s Grandpa?” they called out loudly. Perhaps they weren’t very reverent, but their desire to find their veteran was obvious and they soon were laughing and telling stories about their ancestor.

The views from Mt. Soledad were beautiful in all directions.

Downtown San Diego, where we were staying:

SD downtown view 20160404_133506

Mission Bay, where we watched our daughter row in the San Diego Crew Classic (a rowing regatta):

SD Mission Bay view 20160404_133511

Out to the canyons and valleys and hills behind the city:

SD Valley view 20160404_133609

And the Pacific Ocean:

SD Pacific view 20160404_133701

These veterans will be remembered in one of the loveliest settings in America.

From Mt. Soledad, we descended into La Jolla itself. We parked, then walked along the ocean front above the rocks and beaches.

I saw the ice plant that always reminds me of similar walks with my grandmother when I visited her in Pacific Grove:

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A ground squirrel that I captured on my camera just before he darted away:

La Jolla ground squirrel 20160404_145337

The sea lions, basking in the sun without a care:

La Jolla sea lions 20160404_150213

And people, more daring than I, who shared a beach with the sea lions:

La Jolla sea lions on beach 20160404_150151

And once again, the Pacific Ocean, more beautiful around every curve, and more powerful and long-lasting than any of the flora or fauna that line its shores:

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What memorable vacations have you been on?

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