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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

September 6, 2011 at 7:08 PM

The question everyone asks on the first day of school

sandiegocampanario-m.jpg
Sketched Aug. 14, 4:02 p.m.
As my kids get their backpacks ready to go back to school tomorrow, I’m thinking about the highlights of our summer.
My trip to Lisbon in July was memorable in many ways, but it wasn’t a family vacation as the days we spent in San Diego in mid August. There, we relaxed at sandy beaches, introduced our kids to In-N-Out hamburgers, drove up to Legoland in Carlsbad, visited Mission San Diego de Alcalá and even went to a Padres game at Petco Park — my wife really knows how to organize a cool vacation.
Since I was born and raised in Spain, the visit to the Mission, which was founded by Spanish friars in the late 1700s, resonated with me. To think that California was once a province of Spain!
Inside the Mission, we looked at illustrations depicting the arrival of the Spanish friars and soldiers to San Diego and their battles with the Native Americans. The mission had to be rebuilt several times, following attacks by the Indians and several earthquakes. By the 1920s, according to the inscription on a plaque, only the “campanario” and a few other walls were still standing.
I got a kick of seeing my last name, which means “bell tower,” written in Spanish on the plaque. And the fact that the campanario has stood firm for more than 200 hundred years also filled me with a strange sense of pride — those Spaniards really know how to build things, I thought.
What did you do on your summer vacation? If someone asked me that tomorrow, on the first day of school, that’s the story I would tell. How about you?

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