Dear Mr Postman – thank you for delivering this .. and I’m sorry the weather’s a little colder now .. still at least the sun is out today! Enjoy your round ..
Old San Diego
Ships, Saints and San Diego .. ties it all together .. Hamburg has such an amazing waterfront built on the River Elbe, intertwining with the old part of the city and its canals, the long smugglers’ road through old parkland towards the North Sea, while San Diego has this incredible rich Pacific Ocean front, with islands, lagoons, long beaches and ocean walkways.
Hamburg has its Cap San Diego a freighter ship .. but only as old as the Beatles’ story, starting her life in 1962 before she ‘retired’ being overtaken by the rise in container shipping. The “Rikmers Rikmer” a three masted barque from the late 1800s, is moored as a museum and restaurant next door, was of the type ‘Windjammer’ – one of the first iron ships to sail the oceans.
San Diego has its own ‘Windjammer’ called the “Star of India” having been built on the Isle of Man in 1863. Iron ships in those days were experiments of sorts, with most vessels still being built of wood. She was rescued from being scrapped and moored up in San Diego in 1926, restored in the 1960s and finally started sailing again in the 1976 .. and each year she puts forth into the Pacific Ocean – making her the world’s oldest active ship.
Help! applies here .. those days of transportation in the belly of an iron ship must have been too terrible ... to read more please visit the San Diego Maritime Museum.
Hamburg commenced its settled existence in about 808AD when Emporer Charlemagne ordered the building of a fortress as a defence against the marauding Slavic (eastern) and Viking (Scandinavia) intruders – Hamburg so named because Burg meant fortress and Ham meant meadow or pasture by a river. The Charter in 1189 by Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor granted Hamburg the status of an Imperial Free City and tax-free access up the Lower Elbe into the North Sea, the right to fish, to cut trees and the freedom of military service – so opening the doors to economic growth.
Hamburg in 1150
Hamburg 1572 - 1618
St Didacus (1400 – 1463), San Diego as he is more usually known in Spanish, after a very humble upbringing in the care of a hermit entered the Franciscan Order, served in the Canary Islands establishing a Franciscan community and due to his sanctity visited and was recognized in Rome; his many pious acts miraculously healed many. After his death he was canonized in 1588.
Saint Didacus is the saint to whom the Franciscan mission that developed into San Diego, California was dedicated. Previously San Diego had long been inhabited by the Kumeyaay Indians before the arrival of Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo in 1542, the Portuguese born explorer sailing under the Spanish flag – he originally named the town San Miguel.
However in 1602, Sebastián Vizcaíno , arrived in his flagship San Diego, having been sent to map the California coast. Vizcaíno surveyed the harbor and what are now Mission Bay and Point Loma and named the area for the Catholic Saint Didacus, a Spaniard more commonly known as San Diego.
In demographic terms .. the two cities are interesting – Hamburg had a settlement of 500 people in 950 AD, while San Diego did not attain a population of 500 until 1850 – by which time Hamburg was at 150,000. By 1900 – Hamburg had over 700,000 peoples, while San Diego had grown to 17,500; in the next forty years (1940) Hamburg’s population had increased by over a million peoples to 1,710,000 – while that of San Diego had grown to over 200,000. Hamburg’s population has stayed relatively static ever since, while that of San Diego has just simply grown to over 1,300,00 - while also now in recent years seems to have reached a relative stability.
I am really looking forward to having some time to spare in San Diego and having a good look round the city and its surrounding area, to see La Jolla, Balbao Park, the Botanical Museum, the Star of India, Seaport village, the Sprechels Organ (the largest outdoor pipe organ in the world – seems pretty interesting), the old town and all the heritage sites .. and then there’s the hinterland – with its canyons, mesas ..and all the flower fields, which I just missed this year. It looks a wonderful modern city, with some well preserved history.
So there we have Saint Didacus, known as San Diego, Hamburg with its Cap San Diego freighter and Windjammer ‘Rikmer Rikmers’ and San Diego with its Windjammer iron hulled ship, the Star of India ... and Help! so little time so much to see in these two cities alone ..
Thank you Mr Postman for letting us have this letter – it is always so nice to see you and makes my mother happier to remain in touch with the outside world.