This is the mission that the swallows come back to every year in March. We haven't had the opportunity to witness that yet, but maybe this next year. We did see swallows last month on our way down to San Diego, but not at the mission.
We visited this mission way back in 2012, but we still counted it for our total. For this summer, that still leaves us with 20 to go.
We took a day trip down to San Diego and visited the two down south - the first mission in the California mission chain, Mission San Diego de Alcala.
Beautiful garden, and of course, those iconic bells. At each mission, we're taking the tours, picking up a few souvenirs and taking lots of pictures. I have an art project in mind that I'm going to work on....
Next up was Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, which is in Oceanside. This mission was pretty massive, with an extensive cemetery which was pretty cool.
One of things that caught our eye was the cemetery gate, in the picture above, just to the right of the church. Here's a closeup -- a cool skull and cross bones above the arch.
At this mission, there was a lot of historical sites - original adobe barracks and the lavendaria (washing site) down by the river.
We also took a day to go see the two missions in the Los Angeles area -- Mission San Fernando Rey de España in LA (mission hills). This one had two weddings going on, so we didnt get a lot of pictures. This mission also doesn't have some of the more classic looks ---
There were various outer buildings to look at, and this shot shows off the difference in size of people in this region -- Dale is 6'2" and clearly he doesn't fit under the doorway arch!
The strangest (to me) aspect of this mission is that Bob Hope was a big financial supporter of the restoration. He and his wife are buried on the grounds, as are other members of his family. There's a little Bob Hope Garden, which was just so odd to us.
That's their grave on the right.
The other LA area mission is Mission San Gabriel Arcángel.
This one looks a little imposing from the outside, kind of jail-like, but it was calm and cool inside.
Saint Gabriel the Arcangel is in the center top over the altar, with his wings holding him aloft. The carvings in this church were in great shape.
The thing that fascinated us, for some reason, was the opening/closing system of the windows. The windows are high up for a couple reasons - security and because the adobe walls are incredibly heavy and thick at the base, so the window openings have to be high so the wall remains supported. So the windows are kind of unreachable, but they have glass frames that are on a pivot - they can pull one side of the chain and it pivots open, pull the other way, and it closes. The adobe buildings are really cool and usually a little dark inside, but this church felt light because it's extra tall.
The other mission we've visited so far is Mission Santa Barbara. Every year, this mission is the site of a sidewalk drawing competition/exhibition/fundraiser for the locals arts groups, and we went during that event. There were big crowds, and we got to see not only the mission, which is beautiful, but a lot of really cool art, listen to some live music, and eat some yummy pasta.
The gardens were really beautiful, and peaceful.
These are just a couple of the chalk drawings - it was really fun to watch the artists drawing. The one above is on it's way to being one of those cool 3-D looking things - there's a certain place you stand to get the full effect. There were several of these in progress, and some of them had a tape X or footsteps drawn in where you should stand to take a picture.
So that's where we are so far -- we have 6 visited, 15 to go. They extend up as far as just above San Francisco, (mission San Rafael) so we'll have to go on a multi-day trip later this month to check out those. I'll share what I'm doing with all these later!