Thursday, July 31, 2008
Running in Balboa Park - San Diego, CA...
I know, I know...you're probably all sick of me reporting about San Diego. But I've been here three times in the past three weeks. This latest trip brought me out Monday morning. Times like this I really do live in three cities: San Diego, Miami and DC. Anyway, on Wednesday I was able to get out and run one of the City's most famous cultural icons, Balboa Park. Peter Silverman has some fond memories of this park so this report goes out to him.
Balboa Park is the nation's largest urban cultural park and is spread over 1,200 acres in the heart of San Diego. It's labeled a "cultural park" because of the sheer volume of intellectual institutions that call the park home: 15 major museums, numerous performing arts amphitheaters, urban gardens, the world renowned San Diego zoo and various fields, lawns and courts, for most customary sports (they also have a Velodrome for cycling).
The park dates back to 1868, when civic leaders dedicated a 1,400 acre parcel of land that awkwardly sat atop a shrub filled mesa parallel to where the City's downtown area is today. Back then it was known simply as "City Park." The name was changed to "Balboa Park" in 1910 when a contest was held. The winner chose the name in honor of the explorer "Vasco Nunez de Balboa" who was the first European to see the Pacific Ocean (from Panama). Since the Park had splendid views of the ocean (now mostly obscured by urban development), this name made perfect sense.
The park is a quirky jumble of soft trails, hard cement, concrete and paths. Everyone and anyone can be found here weeknights enjoying San Diego's famous sunsets, playing sports or frolicking in the idyllic romantic setting.
Miles run July 30th: 10. A very, very easy recovery run.