Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Spanish Missions of California

Today we drove to lite town of Solvang to see one of the Spanish missions, Mission Santa Inés. This one is known as the hidden gem of missions. There are a total of 21 missions located along the California coast between San Diego and shortly north of San Francisco. The Spanish explorers arriving to the new world believed that it was God's will that they spread the gospel and convert as many of the natives as possible. These Missions therefore resulted as a cultural mix between the Hispanic and California Indian cultures. 

Some have been preserved very well preserved and in historic state and others have had to face some modifications and make overs. It was the Camino Real that linked these mission outposts.

They are all very beautiful built in adobe structures. The bell towers are probably one of the most beautiful parts.

Santa Ines was founded in 1804. It was damaged by two earth quakes, 1812 and 1925. The last restoration was completed in 1927 and today stands as one of the Franciscan contributions to history. It was father Junipero Serra that started the missions. The first one built in San Diego. This statue is a portrait of him.

For 5 dollars you get the self guided tour of the inside of the mission as well as the pretty gardens belonging to the Mission.

The gardens are particularly pretty and peaceful. Citrus trees with both oranges and lemons grew here. A small fountain in the center. A beautiful pergola with blooming Wisteria.

Farmland also belonged to each Mission and the they produced and grew what was needed to put on their table. The land around Santa Inez is as you see still very beautiful. Grape wines and other crops are still grown here even if the land dosen't belong to the mission any longer.

The Wisteria was at it's very peak and blooming. So pretty.

This is the court yard and gardens of Santa Inez.

We visted a second mission which was The Mission of Santa Barbara. This one is considered to be the Queen of the Missions, famous for it's twin bell towers, gorgeous gardens and collection of rare artworks. This is one of the most beautiful and most frequently photographed buildings of Coastal California. It was built in 1786. 

One of it's famous bell towers. I can't but agree it is very beautiful.

Candles lit in pretty glas jars.

I also instantly liked the city of Santa Barbara. Like a gem tucked in a coastal pocket. This surly is an oasis from the big city of LA. I sure could imagine living here. The Mission of Santa Barbara is located in beautiful area filled with neat white stone houses. Many built in nice old Spanish style with red brick roofs. Everything seems very well kept and neat here. You sense that it would not be cheap to get a house here. In the distance you can see the ocean from the Mission steps. 

Down here a long the Southern Coast the climate is great. Today we have driven the Mustang almost all day with the top down and it has been around 70 F or 20 C. I actually realized I had to put sun screen on as my arms were turning red. So maby I will come home with a little bit of a tan anyway after the cold start we had in the mountains and north it feels great to get some of the warm sunshine as well. 

Driving down one of the streets in Santa Barbara. Me and C had our lunch under the shade of one of the trees growing on the Mission grounds. A prefect little picknick spot.

Today we have made quite a drive leaving from Morro Bay driving the last part of Hwy 1 past Santa Barbara and Ventura following the gorgeous shore line of the Pacific ocean. We passed the hectic and very busy outskirts of LA and continued East to Riverside where we are staying tonight. We left the coast for the Inland Empire. Again in the heart of the mountain region with great citrus fields stretching out on the plains. This is a rich agricultural part where both wine, apples and citrus fruits are grown. This area also holds a number of Spas. 

The plan for tomorrow is to drive on to the desert and to the Joshua Tree National Park. So after all I could not leave without a visit to the desert. 


Marie said...

Vilken fantastisk resa ni gör, verkligen!

Saltistjejen said...

Å underbara bilder! Och wisterian blommar även här nu! Fast då klänger den längs husväggarna. :-)
Njut nu Desiree! Er resa är verkligen helt fantastisk!
Kramar och Glad Påsk (även om ni knappast lär fira den nu.)

Desiree said...

Marie, tack. Jag tycker den har varit så fantastisk.
Så mycket som vi hunnit med på denna tiden.

Saltis, Wisterian är himla fin. Den heter visst Blåregn hemma i Sverige och finns där också men den blommar inte förräns juni/juli hemma. Ja Glad Påsk till dig.

Anne said...

Jag känner precis som du vad gäller Santa Barbara, tyckte direkt om stan och blev rätt överraskad. Vet inte hur det är med dig men jag förväntade mig absolut ingenting av Santa Barbara men det är ett charmigt ställe. Säger som du, skulle nog kunna tänka mig bo där. Har förstått det är mycket dyrt dock...så man skulle väl bara ha råd att bo i nån liten etta långt från havet... Borde vara rätt skönt klimat året om, blir väl knappast sådär superhett sommartid pga närheten till havet, tänker jag mig.
Solvang har jag aldrig besökt men tänker direkt på filmen Sideways då jag hör det namnet. Tror det var Solvang de besökte i alla fall. Förresten, det är ju en himla bra film som dessutom utspelar sig i södra Californien då de åker på road trip. Se den när du kommer hem om du inte sett den förut.
Hur många miles tror du ni kommer att ha kört då ni lämnar tillbaka hyrbilen? Vilken fantastisk resa ni haft i alla fall.