Saturday, May 31, 2008

PLAYING TOURIST IN SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA

Before we began our fulltiming lives, Odel and I each lived in Sacramento for more than 20 years (Odel more than 30). As a result, we don't do much tourist-type exploring when we visit here twice a year.

The first items on the calendar are medical appointments. Around those we schedule family gatherings, meals and movies with friends... plus all the RV and Jeep maintenance we sorta' put off until we arrive in Sacramento, along with any major shopping that requires research and price comparisons. All that un-fun stuff (NOT the visits with friends and family) is much easier to do in a city you know your way around.

This visit, the "major shopping" was for a new digital camera. One day recently, I found myself with a free afternoon, wonderful weather, and the need to learn the differences between the new Canon and my old Olympus, so I headed to the California state capitol building and the beautiful, 40 acre Capitol Park grounds - tourist!

California's capitol building, listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, was built between 1860 and 1874 and completely restored in the 1970's. It is stunning. I'm sure every tourist goes away with this shot, of the inside of the dome - it is too beautiful to ignore.

The building was abuzz with kids on end-of-the-school year field trips, tourists like me taking photos, and power-suited, fast moving men and women presumably working. It was great to have no particular place to go and no one to supervise... I idled along the corridors and acted like a South Dakotan.

This shot looks down the Capitol Mall from the Capitol building to the Tower Bridge, a Sacramento landmark. This used to be the gateway to Sacramento. I am a native Californian, born in southern California, and I remember approaching the capitol by car as a kid on a family vacation up north, singing "California, Here We Come" at the top of my lungs with my two sisters. With the addition of I-5 and I-80, no one comes into Sacramento over the river across the Tower Bridge any longer, but it is still the prettiest approach.

I had forgotten another of Sacramento's most wonderful features: the trees. According to an NPR story, Sacramento claims to have more trees per capita than any other city in the world - including Paris, France. In the downtown and midtown area, many of the streets are completely covered with a leafy canopy, a saving grace in summer's sweltering heat and an absolute delight on a sunny spring day.

California, Here I Come
Right back where I started from
where bowers of flowers
bloom in the spring
each morning at dawning
birdies sing at everything
a sunkissed miss said, "Don't be late!"
that's why I can hardly wait
open up that golden gate
California, Here I Come

1 comment:

  1. Paws & HoovesJune 1, 2008 at 11:46 AM

    Ahhhhh -- spoken like a TRUE Native -- and appreciated by another true Native!!!! Donna and I used to sing that song at the tops of our voices, too!!!!

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