7705 Eads

Living in La Jolla

When I moved to the U.S. in October 1998 I chose the community of La Jolla as my domicile. La Jolla is within the city limits of San Diego but has a very special atmosphere. It has beautiful beaches (which are famous for surfing), exquisite shops, both cozy and elegant pubs, gorgeous parks, great vistas from the cliffs surrounding the city, famous coves, and - last but not least - friendly people.

The picture shows my apartment in La Jolla. I live in the second floor. The window on the right, next to the balcony, belongs to my living room. Behind the left window, which is partly hidden by the tree, is my sleeping room. My flat is next to the center of the village, both close to the beaches and to the shopping mall. So I don't have to drive when I need a bread or want to see the sunset.

Sunset at home
Evening view from my balcony on the Presbyterian Church of La Jolla.
La Jolla Presbyterian Church is just on the opposite site of street, surrounded by some palm trees. And 50 yards behind my flat is The Cottage, my favored place for breakfast. You can sit outside (this is for some reason not very common in the U.S.) while enjoying some cinnamon rolls or omelets.

A little further away is another highlight of La Jolla: The museum of contemporary art. Every couple of weeks a new exhibitions starts and I usually go the artist's reception. Once I met Herman Munster's grandfather there (He is meanwhile 93 years old but dancing as if he were only 35; click on the picture). Check out also the cool interactive tour through the museum!

Ellen Browning Scripps Park
Hotel Valencia behind an old "Torrey Pine" tree growing in the Ellen Browning Scripps Park.
From the museum, there is a gorgeous view on La Jolla's shores and children's pool, a sanctuary for seals and sea lions. Not far away is the Ellen Browning Scripps Park, a grassy park with old pine trees and beautiful vistas. Behind the park is another attraction: the La Jolla cave. The grotto is accessible via an underground passage and provides a breathtaking view towards the Torrey Pines Glider Port, a launching place for hang- and para-gliders.

When I come back from work I sometimes go to my favored Italian restaurant "La Taverna", which is only 200 yards away from my apartment. It's pretty small but the food is good and there are also some cozy tables outside on the sidewalk.

La Jolla is also a place for tourists and has therefore lots of pretty shops and art galleries. I most like Thomas Mangelsen's photo gallery "Images of Nature". It is must for everyone who likes animal photography.

Tourmaline Surf Park
Evening atmosphere at Tourmaline Surf Park
A description of La Jolla would be rather incomplete without introducing the famous beaches and surf spots. The picture on the right shows tourmaline Surf Park, which, on rare occasions, also provides good conditions for windsurfing. Check out more about Tourmaline!

A compilation of the most important beaches of La Jolla and San Diego is here.

If you want to go surfing, check the tide table first! Also the global pattern of current wave heights might be interesting.

La Jolla is also home of the historic Windansea Surf Club, which was founded in the early 1960's and named after the Windansea beach at the end of Nautilus street. The palm-frond-thatched beach hut is famous under surfers. If you want to become a club member you "must be of outstanding character and advanced surfing ability" and "must then be sponsored by 3 existing members in good standing". So it's quite a honor getting accepted!

At Dusk in Allen Browning Scripps Park
Dusk at Allen Browning Scripps Park
The best way to complete a great surf day is by watching the sunset. In particular in winter, when the air is clear and no inversion layer is disturbing, sunsets can be awesome: first the sun becomes elliptic and then it gradually disappears while the part, which is above the horizon, is still keeping a smooth shape. About once a week even a Green Flash can be observed, which is a very rare atmospheric phenomenon at other locations. Don't miss to have a look on my best sunset pictures!

If you want to know after so much information about La Jolla's highlights how it looks like just in this moment, check out the live-cam, which is mounted on top of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography . This research facility is located in the north part of La Jolla and is probably the most important institute in the world for investigations of marine life. The life-picture shows the "Scripps Pier" in the foreground and downtown La Jolla (where I live) in the background.

Christmas in La Jolla is celebrated with a large parade. It's more street carneval than the rememberance of Christ's birth, though. But it's a great time for kids and also much fun for their parents as you can see here.

If you still want to have more information about La Jolla here is a large list of related links.

After this short introduction of my close neighborhood let's have a look on my further surroundings: San Diego to the south, the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to the east and the famous Mount Palomar observatory to the north.

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San Diego

About 13 miles south-west of La Jolla is downtown San Diego. It is the oldest city and one of the most historic places in California. San Diego Bay was discovered in 1542 by the Spanish sailor Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo. At Point Loma, 12 miles south of La Jolla, a 14-foot sandstone statue of Cabrillo is erected honoring his achievements.

San Diego The picture on the left is taken from Point Loma towards the Peninsula of San Diego, which divides San Diego Bay from the open ocean. On the right margin of the photo is the famous Hotel del Coronado where Marilyn Monroe frolicked on the beach with Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in Billy Wilder's 1959 movie Some Like it Hot. If you want to see how San Diego Bay looks like just in this moment, check out the live-cam (don't forget to click on "latest" right from the live-cam picture).

San Diego has plenty of sites that are worth visiting: The main attractions are the famous zoo, where only recently a Panda bear was born, SeaWorld, which is a huge adventure park with dolphin and killer-whale shows, and Balboa Park, which accommodates 13 museums and serves also as the "green lung" of the city. The park was established in 1868 and its buildings in fantasy Spanish Colonial architecture were erected mainly in 1915 for the Panama-California Exposition and also for the California-Pacific International Exposition, which took place in 1935-36. Don't miss my best shots from Balboa Park!

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San Diego County and Beyond

The southern border of San Diego is also the border between the United States and Mexico. Immediately across the border begins Tijuana, a city with more than one million people. I have been to Tijuana only once attending the 25th wedding anniversary of a colleague. So Mexico is still rather white on my travel map and I hope that this will change in the next year.

Desert Overlook
View from the desert overlook where I stayed over night watching a meteor shower. The picture was taken shortly after sunrise.
About 60 miles east of San Diego is the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. Occupying over 600,000 acres, it is the largest state park in the contiguous United States. If you want to take a rest from the loud and busy town, this is the place to go. The complete absence of civilization and exposition to unaltered nature is fascinating to me. However, it is also a heaven for testing your offroad-vehicle. I've been two times to the desert. Once with a colleague and his Jeep and once in a starry night watching meteor showers. It is amazing how crisp the Milky Way looks without the scattered light from a city! The best time to go to the desert is in spring after some rainfall. Then the vast land explodes with color from the blooms of millions of wildflowers. The spectacular show lasts only a few weeks and may not appear at all in dry years. Check out my best photos from Anza Borrego!

Forty Miles north-east of San Diego is a further highlight: The Wild Animal Park, where you can watch antelopes and lions (carefully separated) in a spacious habitats. A one-hour tour on an electric train gives an impressive glance on native African wildlife. Shame on me, I haven't been there yet but I plan for the near future. Look forward for some great shots!

From Wild Animal Park 30 miles further north is the famous Mount Palomar Observatory, which is the largest telescope in the United States. The 5 meter telescope's and the mechanics to move it weigh 530 tons. But this is not the last superlative: The big dome protecting the telescope has a weight of 1000 tons. By the way: "Palomar" is Spanish for pigeon roost - it's a rather large house for a pigeon! I have visited the observatory in May 1999. See my pictures from the huge dome and from the telescope inside!

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