Tag Archive | festival

Little Italy, San Diego

Okay, so I have to give you a break from my posts on London, but just a tiny break mind you!  Today, me and my kids went to Little Italy in San Diego.  It was time to be a tourist in our own city!  I love seeing San Diego, and I love Italy, so naturally Little Italy is also a place I love.

Little Italy, San Diego

Little Italy, San Diego

As you can see, there’s going to be a big “Festa” or festival in Little Italy tomorrow.  It’s going to be fun.  I have been to one of these before, and would love to go tomorrow.  However, with work, kids and just a two day weekend, I can’t make it tomorrow.  However, I did get quite a flavor of Little Italy today.  We were celebrating today and what better place to celebrate than Filippi’s Pizza Grotto on India Street?  Here’s some spumoni ice-cream, tiramisu and a cappuccino – yummy!

Filippi's Pizza Grotto, Little Italy

Filippi’s Pizza Grotto, Little Italy

Filippi's Pizza Grotto, Little Italy

Filippi’s Pizza Grotto, Little Italy

We also had pizza, spaghetti, and lasagna, but I don’t have any good pictures to share of that – let’s say we devoured it before I thought about taking some pictures!

There was another room we could have sat in that is a little darker, and doesn’t have the windows and light that our room had, however, it has a very nice ambiance.

Filippi's Pizza Grotto, Little Italy

Filippi’s Pizza Grotto, Little Italy

As I said, our room had windows and more light

Filippi's Pizza Grotto, Little Italy

Filippi’s Pizza Grotto, Little Italy

Filippi's Pizza Grotto, Little Italy

Filippi’s Pizza Grotto, Little Italy

We really enjoyed our little trip to Filippi’s.  I have been here once before a long time ago, and it was certainly time for another visit.  We really liked the pizza a lot, and the spaghetti.  Let’s say it reminded us of another place in Encinitas – Giovanni’s.  The lasagna was okay, but could have been a bit better.  The spumoni was good, but I have had better tiramisu.

Little Italy, San Diego

Little Italy, San Diego

Little Italy, San Diego

Little Italy, San Diego

Little Italy, San Diego

Little Italy, San Diego

Little Italy, San Diego

Little Italy, San Diego

We went on a little walk after all that food, and saw some artists preparing their street art for tomorrow – they did this with chalk, and it is so beautiful!

Little Italy, San Diego

Little Italy, San Diego

Little Italy, San Diego

Little Italy, San Diego

Want a bit of vino, and some formaggio?  Here’s a chalk art creation in 3D and you can pose in front of it, as Chandi did.

Little Italy, San Diego

Little Italy, San Diego

Little Italy, San Diego

Little Italy, San Diego

Of course, I have to get a picture of a British pub!

Little Italy, San Diego

Little Italy, San Diego

Cafe Zucchero is one of my favorite’s and I have been here on numerous occasions.  My favorite is their cannoli, gelato and cassata – an out-of-this world Sicilian cake.  I really wanted to go there tonight after Filippi’s, but then we decided to just have dessert there.

Little Italy, San Diego

Little Italy, San Diego

And now, for a spectacular sunset.  Ciao, Little Italy until next time!

Little Italy, San Diego

Little Italy, San Diego

Happy Diwali 2013 from Balboa Park

I could not miss going to Balboa Park after the wonderful experience last year.  I looked forward to another Diwali spectacular, and I was not disappointed.  Here’s a video that I made:

October 26th, 2013 was the date set for the Festival of Lights Celebration to take place in Balboa Park, and it started at 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm for activities leading up to the big show.  These preliminary activities included stalls from various regions of India that displayed their region in all it’s splendor, including displaying arts and crafts, and putting on some pretty amazing dances.  Then at 6pm, the “big show” was performed on the stage at the Organ Pavilion. The weather was cooperative, and unlike last year, there wasn’t any rain, and it was a beautiful San Diego day!

Here are some pictures showing you some of the preliminary activities that took place prior to the big show.

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Sometimes, you will see the banners that display the region, and sorry if I don’t always show them

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Here’s my little Indian Princess (she’s also seen dancing at the end of the video).

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

So, now I will show you some scenes from the “big show” that started at 6pm and went on until 7:45 pm or so.

First, there was the introduction, and the Mayor Elect of San Diego was present and also talked to the audience

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

Then the show began

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Festival Of Lights – Balboa Park

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Festival Of Lights – Balboa Park

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Festival Of Lights – Balboa Park

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Festival Of Lights – Balboa Park

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Festival Of Lights – Balboa Park

Here’s the display of lights on the stage towards the end of the show, you can’t really see it very well, but this is where many participants paraded around the stage and the surrounding area with tiny little lamps – it was truly beautiful!

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Of course, there’s nothing like a Bhangra Finale at the end of the show!  The crowd joined in and danced to Bhangra!

Festival Of Lights, Balboa Park

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In the next post, I am going to show you a few pictures of Balboa Park.  In the meantime, Happy Diwali, 2013!  I hope it will be a joyful and wonderful time for you, your family and friends.

The Magic of December Nights in San Diego

I knew December Nights at Balboa Park was going to be magical.  There’s not a better way to kick-start the holidays than going to Balboa Park, and experiencing December Nights.  What is/are December Nights?  I wrote about it in my previous post, just click here to see More Info on December Nights (that post contains some external links with more information too).

Now that December Nights (which occurred on December 7 & 8, 2012) are over, there’s still plenty of reasons to visit the Park.  The magical tree is still there, and so are the lights and the great atmosphere, and at least you won’t have the crowds to deal with.  Here’s some pictures:

First the magical tree:

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

It gets even more magical – it opens up!

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

It changes color!

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

It changed color again!

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

This one is more fuzzier, because my camera’s battery died and I had to use my I-phone.

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

This one’s fuzzy too, but I’m including it because I want you to see the spectacle of color that was so beautiful during the December Nights concert.

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

Here’s the same color for background, but the tree has closed up

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

Now for a lighter shade of blue

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

And the last two of the tree at least!

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

Now for some pictures of the Park in the dark.  Me and my family went to December Nights on both December 7 and December 8.  Why miss out on the magic?

I believe this church now houses the Museum of Man

St. Francis Chapel, Balboa Park, San Diego

St. Francis Chapel, Balboa Park, San Diego

Museum of Man & St. Francis Chapel, Balboa Park, San Diego

Museum of Man & St. Francis Chapel, Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Museum of Man & St. Francis Chapel, Balboa Park, San Diego

Today, I suddenly stumbled on a second picture that I took of the Church at Balboa Park, I thought I only had one like the one above.

The Museum of Man, December Nights, Balboa Park

The Museum of Man, December Nights, Balboa Park

Are you ready for more Christmas trees?  Here’s another one at the Park, closer to the church shown above

Christmas Tree, near Museum of Man, Balboa Park

Christmas Tree, near Museum of Man, Balboa Park

Oh, my gosh!  The Grinch was here, but Chandi didn’t want to have her picture taken with him, so I had to take it of someone else instead!

The Grinch at Balboa Park

The Grinch at Balboa Park

Even dogs like December Nights, this picture was taken with no flash, but it wasn’t very good, however, it will give you an idea of what the lights were like and how it really looked in the dark

Dog in a Car with Christmas Lights at Balboa Park

Dog in a Car with Christmas Lights at Balboa Park

Dog in a Car with Christmas Lights at Balboa Park

Dog in a Car with Christmas Lights at Balboa Park

The dog also has glasses, more clearly seen in the picture below.

Dog in a Car with Christmas Lights at Balboa Park

Dog in a Car with Christmas Lights at Balboa Park

It’s just so nice strolling through the Park, even in the dark!

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park was nicely lit up for the holidays

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

There were so many people there, you wouldn’t believe it.  I think I read somewhere that there were at least 300,000 people.

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Here’s the Botanical Gardens Building at night time bathed in a beautiful blue light

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

Balboa Park, December Nights, San Diego

You can’t tell from these pictures just how many people there were in Balboa Park during these two very busy nights.

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

Of course, there were a lot of delicious choices for food, but I didn’t get to take too many pictures of the different vendors.  Here’s one at least.

Food Options, December Nights, Balboa Park

Food Options, December Nights, Balboa Park

This fountain is near one of the many museums at the park, and is closest to the path to the San Diego Zoo.

Fountain, Balboa Park, San Diego

Fountain, Balboa Park, San Diego

The words “Happy Holidays” lit up one of the museums

Happy Holidays, Balboa Park, San Diego

Happy Holidays, Balboa Park, San Diego

Happy Holidays, Balboa Park, San Diego

Happy Holidays, Balboa Park, San Diego

The Natural History Museum, Balboa Park, San Diego

The Natural History Museum, Balboa Park, San Diego

Here’s a clearer picture of some people at December Nights

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

For some reason, I like this picture

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

I couldn’t stop taking pictures of Balboa Park at night, it is beautiful both at night and day

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

I didn’t quite get the picture above centralized, see how it looks below, still not right.  It would have been perfect if I could have got both “Season’s Greetings” and the lighting on the wall on the right in just one picture balanced out better.  Oh, well.  I’ll have to make do with two pictures.

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

Now for where the reindeers are with presents laden on the sleigh

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

A different angle of the reindeers

Reindeers, December Nights at Balboa Park

Reindeers, December Nights at Balboa Park

Now, there’s the presents at the back (I guess on the sleigh).

Reindeers, December Nights at Balboa Park

Reindeers, December Nights at Balboa Park

Some more lights

December Nights at Balboa Park

December Nights at Balboa Park

Now, some more pictures of the amazing tree from a different angle.

December Nights at Balboa Park

December Nights at Balboa Park

December Nights at Balboa Park

December Nights at Balboa Park

December Nights at Balboa Park

December Nights at Balboa Park

And lastly, some pictures of the performers who entertained us at the site of the magical tree.

Performers at December Nights, Balboa Park

Performers at December Nights, Balboa Park

Performers at December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

Performers at December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

Performers at December Nights, Balboa Park

Performers at December Nights, Balboa Park

Performers at December Nights, Balboa Park

Performers at December Nights, Balboa Park

Just incase you don’t get the full flavor of what it’s like at Balboa Park during December Nights, I made this video especially for you.

I still haven’t had the chance to take more daytime pictures of Balboa Park, so in the meantime, you can look at these pictures taken by someone who linked to my post previously, so now I will link to his – so you can see his amazing pictures of Balboa Park: http://onecoolthingeveryweekend.com/2012/11/21/picture-tour-of-the-san-diego-balboa-park/

Oh, by the way, I went to the International Houses on the 8th of December and saw various cultural dances there, including Indian dances, but only managed to get a few pictures.  Perhaps, I will put those in another post.  Anyway, I hope you can see that Balboa Park is so magical when it’s the holidays.  If you celebrate Christmas, Merry Christmas to you, and if you don’t – Happy Holidays!

Happy Diwali and Happy Holidays from Balboa Park!

Happy Diwali, and Happy Holidays from Balboa Park!  The holidays are just around the corner, and this is surely a happy time for everyone!  I love the holidays, and I especially love Christmas (the picture below was actually taken in San Diego Zoo, which is adjacent to Balboa Park).

Christmas in San Diego – San Diego Zoo

I also love Diwali, which is the Indian Festival of Lights celebrated by Indians of all different faiths, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, and many others.  Diwali falls on a different day each year, but that day will be either in October or November of the year.  This year, Diwali will be on November 13th, but it was celebrated on October 21st at Balboa Park.

Diwali is a colorful festival, and it’s significance is rooted in several epics and stories. The festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil, and is celebrated with lights, especially candles and diyas.  People rejoice in the occasion, and have parties, and there is definitely a lot of Indian sweets being sold and consumed at this time.  If you would like to know more about Diwali, you can read this article: http://festivals.iloveindia.com/diwali/diwali-significance.html or http://www.diwaliinlondon.com/whatisdiwali.html.  To read more about this year’s Diwali Celebration and an article where San Diego Mayor Proclaims “Festival Of Lights” Day, click here: http://www.indiajournal.com/archives/30604

Here is a picture of the Indian sweets (they are delicious).

Ambala Sweets and Snacks, Artesia

Here’s some pictures taken at the 5th Annual Diwali Celebration at Balboa Park.  All the performances were held at the beautiful Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park.

Diwali Celebration, Balboa Park, San Diego

The night begin with the Indian National Anthem, and I have enclosed my video of this – now you will get to see a little more of the Organ Pavilion too.

Here is my video that shows a variety of performances that depict the many regions of India, therefore, you will see dances from Kerala, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Rajasthan, etc.  You may be amazed to see there are so many variations of dance styles according to the region of India that the dance is from.

Here is my video of just one performance to show you a dance in its entirety, and this is the Rajasthan Dance.

These are some pictures of the performances

Diwali Celebration, Balboa Park, San Diego

Diwali Celebration, Balboa Park, San Diego

Diwali Celebration, Balboa Park, San Diego

This picture doesn’t really do it justice, but this is when the Diwali Lights were on display, and it was a beautiful scene.  All the women on the stage were holding trays with candles – Balboa Park was truly lit up!

Diwali Lights Ceremony, Balboa Park, San Diego

In addition to the Annual Diwali Celebration where many Indian dances were performed, Indian dances are also performed during the December Nights outside the Houses of Hospitality at the International Cottages.

December Nights, Indian Dance, San Diego

Here’s some pictures taken at December Nights, 2011.  I will of course be taking more pictures at this year’s December Nights (I wouldn’t miss it)!

December Nights - Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights – Balboa Park, San Diego

December Nights, Balboa Park, San Diego

It does get a little chilly in the evening during the December Nights celebration, so you will definitely want to wear a sweater or a jacket.  There is plenty of food on sale, including stalls selling food from all around the world, close to the Houses of Hospitality, and practically all over the park.  If you are in the mood for fine dining, then you might want to check out the Prado on the Park Restaurant.

Prado On The Park, Balboa Park, San Diego

Here are more pictures of Balboa Park (all three pictures were taken a number of years ago, and were scanned in).  It will definitely be time to take more pictures soon of Balboa Park!

Balboa Park, San Diego

Balboa Park, San Diego

This one was taken at the Botanical Gardens in Balboa Park

You may know or have heard of Balboa Park in beautiful San Diego…..if not, you need to visit it soon as it is a fantastic place to visit.  This park is adjacent to the world famous San Diego Zoo, and Balboa Park is so much more…..it is highly cultural.  It houses the International Cottages where you can visit the House of Scotland, the House of England, the House of Russia, etc., and try a sample of food that comes from that region.  However, when it comes to the holidays, such as Diwali (Indian Festival of Lights) and Christmas (now called December Nights instead of Christmas on the Prado) – there is no better place than Balboa Park to celebrate in style!  Not only can you enjoy a world class park in a world class city, but you can enjoy world class cultural arts and entertainment.

You can read much more about December Nights at http://www.sandiego.org/events/balboa-park-december-nights.aspx and at http://sandiego.about.com/cs/familyfun/a/dec_nights.htm

Looking for something fun to do this holiday?  Why not come to San Diego, and come to our December Nights….it will be hosted on two different days: Friday, December 7 and Saturday, December 8, 2012.  This is a fun event for all the family, and highly entertaining!  Kick off the holidays in style!