Saturday, December 14, 2013

Escondido, California

We are now sort of in our winter mode, which means parking in one area for two to three months and doing less touring around.  Christmas activities are also claiming some of our time.  We have mailed out Christmas cards, and done some Christmas shopping.  And I suddenly got inspired to bake Christmas cookies.  I have the molds for springerle ( a German cookie which my mom use to make).  It takes a bit of skill to create that cookie and so I make them every Christmas to insure that I will not forget.  We are also volunteering at a homeless shelter.
Last Sunday our son Mike and John went golfing at Welk Resort.  It is on land which Lawrence Welk once used as his summer home and is still owned by his family.  John wanted to return to the resort on Thursday to look at the Welk museum which is in the lobby of the resort's music theater.
The above picture should give you a good idea of the scenery which we saw on our drive to the resort, as well as to how picturesque the town of Escondido is.  The area, located in North San Diego County, lies in the foot hills of the San Marcos and Merriam Mountains.  In Spanish the word Escondido means "hidden".  as it lies in a valley surrounded by hills.  Our first stop in the town was at the Escondido History Center where we learned that the town was once part of a large land grant- the Rimcon del Diablo, in English it is known as "corner of the devil".  Despite the ominous name given to the land, it is an area rich in natural resources favored by Indians, Spanish, Anglos and Californios over the years.  Five local historic buildings were moved into the history center of Escondido.  We found them all open for tours and docents available to explain their historic significance.  Of special interest to us was the 1890 Victorian country house which was lived in for 50 years by the family of a Lutheran pastor.  We were told by our guide that he and his wife had eight children, and that Pastor Hoffman was more a farmer than pastor.
The house is fully furnished with items from the time period.  No bathroom was ever built into the home.  From the historic park we drove to Kit Carson Park to find Queen Califia's Magical Circle.  Before I move on to that, I first want to explain Carson's presence in this part of California.  It was in 1846, at the battle of Mule Hill ( America was fighting Mexico for possession of California) when Carson traveled 20 miles over rocky terrain barefooted to obtain needed supplies and reinforcements.  He was successful in his mission.

We found Queen Califia, which was exciting because we were told that the artist, Niki De Saint Phalle, purposely wanted her hidden in the park.  Unfortunately the gates to the garden were locked, as it is currently being renovated.  However, we did find a few high spots outside the garden from which we could view it and take pictures.  The queen is a fictional warrior who ruled over a kingdom of Black women living on the mythical island of California.  In the picture above the queen stands on the back of a five-legged eagle mythical eagle.  Surrounding her is an ornamentation of colorful mosaic snakes.  An interpretive sign near the garden explains that the artist's central themes of her work are "joy, color, aggressive humor and fantasy". 

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