We all have travel bucket lists. But how many of us choose to look at our home territory with the eyes of an explorer? We set out from home in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose to see what we could find by bike.
Exploring local: Willow Glen
Lincoln Ave. is the main street in this San Jose neighborhood. It's undergoing a Renaissance of sorts with new bike racks, new bike lanes and traffic calming measures in place -- just the thing for getting out and exploring by bike. Because this is December and we are getting some of our annual rain back, we chose a short ride: We ventured out to take a look at some of the newly painted murals along Lincoln Ave.
Flowers of summer
Our first stop at the corner of Lincoln and Lester Aves. was at a garden of exotic flowers and a pond full of lily pads on the side of a building at 1065 Lincoln Ave. On a gray day the yellows and purples pop with the promise of spring and summer.
Four and a half blocks away on the side of a building housing a bike shop at 1180 Lincoln Ave., the mural reminds viewers that there's no excuse for staying indoors in our little area of the world. The outdoors beckon cyclists and explorers to experience surfing and picnicking: It's all doable!
Just two buildings over, a wheel of brie, fresh fruit, a couple of glasses of wine, a plate of freshly sliced tomatoes and flowers adorn the side of a newly opened restaurant at 1202 Lincoln Ave. The picture within the mural of a black sheep serving a table gives you all the information you'll need about the name of the restaurant.
Wayside signs to Europe
Further down the block and around the corner at Minnesota Ave., street signs point the way from Willow Glen to Italy. Who knows if this mural will stay up; the cafe owner who commissioned it is no longer in business.
Although our mural-viewing journey was short, on the way back we stopped into a local cafe for a pot of mint tea. We toasted our short, relaxing bike ride and the artists who beautified some blank walls.
Why not get out and explore your neighborhood? What can you find?