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Monday, September 14, 2009

The Drive Home - San Juan Bautista Mission

Diane and I were in no hurry to get back up to Sacramento I can tell you. So, on our way up we dropped in for leisurely tour of San Juan Bautista Mission, California's largest mission, just off the coastal HWY 101, and directly on our route from 101 inland. San Juan Bautista is a small town, which Diane recalled visiting decades ago when she grew up in California. She said it really hasn't changed much. The Mission within the town, of course was there a century or two before the town. It was a part of the Missions, which having heard the Native American side of things, wasn't all that wonderful a thing in it's day. Nowadays however, it is one of the oldest of structures in North America and is steeped in history.

San Juan Bautista Corridor

I was surprised - no idea why - that the church is still active after all these centuries. There are four masses every Sunday, and I caught a glimpse of mass. There was a choir practicing at the back. Here - have a listen.

We took a walk through the Mission museum the strolled around the grounds.

When you consider how old the place is, the walls alone were amazing.

Circa 1800 Dining Area

Huge model of the original Mission shaped like
a huge square donut on its side - sort of.

Ancient Vestments (Priests robes) on display

Scary Baby Doll Saint & Skull

El Camino Real

Fray Junipera Serra

The good Father stood near the Mission Cemetery, which I'd guess is full of some fairly pissed off Indians. Wouldn't want to hang out there on Halloween.

Mission Cemetery

We liked this statue, which I've since discovered is John the Baptist. I had thought he was Jesus in the wilderness. When this statue was dedicated there was a full ceremony and the spot was smudged with white sage, the whole nine yards. The face of the saint is a composite of faces of Native American Mutsen band of Ohlones who inhabited the Mission 200 years ago.

San Juan Bautista AKA John the Baptist
The critters that rest at the Saint's feet were of great interest to me. A bison, mountain lion and Eagle, all decked out with angelic wings. Here is what is said of the unusual animal figures: The base of the statue bears the Native American equivalent of the symbols of the four evangelists. The face of a mountain lion represents Mark, a bison for Luke, a golden eagle for John... Cool.

The Mountain Lion is St. Mark

An Angelic Eagle is St. John

The Bison, represents St. Luke

Stations of the Cross

Close up of a Station

At the end of the lane by the stations, I saw a cute little flock of chickens composed of a hen and her 3/4 grown chicks. Ought to have taken photos!

I think this is the good Father Serra again, in a wood carving
this time: he rather looks like St. Francis of Assisi here

A little side garden, complete with a saint

There are loads of little things to see as you stroll through the Mission; I was tickled by a stone livestock watering trough. And don't get me started on the flowers - there were umpteen rose beds with roses of every description and color and other flowers besides. Here are a select few that caught my eye.

Enormous Cactus Flower

A Peace rose: I have one at home and LOVE it

This is a famous rose I've seen before and must get for the Gulag Garden

I think putting together this segment of the blog probably took as long, or longer than it took to tour the Mission. However, I sincerely think you would enjoy the Mission better.


  1. grandma Millers cacti always flowered.

  2. Yes, I still think of her cactus flowers, so big and colorful! She'd take gawdawful little out of focus photos of them - still have a bunch of her pics.