A Tale of Two Missions

Achievement: #97. California Mission Photography

In keeping with our ‘catching up on old posts’ theme (and just slightly past Throwback Thursday), here’s an Achievement we crossed off back on our April trip to California.

We’ve always been big fans of the old missions in California, and at one point before we moved back from LA, we had a goal to try to visit all of them. Well, even though we’re across the country now, that goal is still present in my mind, so we decided to check off two of the missions in San Luis Obispo County.

California Missions
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa is literally right in the middle of downtown San Luis Obispo (better known as SLO). You’re walking along, shops, restaurants, a handful of bars, a tasting room or two, and then bam: mission.

California Missions
It stretches basically across a full city block.

California Missions
It also features these super cute little outdoor areas where you can sit and reflect.

California Missions
But my favorite part of this mission is the bear fountain! Los osos are a big deal in California, and in SLO in particular, and this bear fountain is just the cutest thing ever. (Bear made a whole album of his vacation adventures, and this was part of it.)

California Missions
We’ve strolled around the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa quite a few times, but while in Solvang, we visited a new-to-us mission, the Old Mission Santa Ines.

California Missions
While the building itself doesn’t feel as big as the mission in SLO, the property is enormous.

California Missions
There is a beautiful Stations of the Cross walkthrough.

California Missions
The stations have lights under them, so I definitely want to go back in the evening next year and see them lit up!

California Missions
Such a gorgeous property.

California Missions
Also on the grounds is this lovely Virgin Mary shrine (built in the 1970s).

California Missions
They have retained an original lavanderia that was used by the Chumash Indians at the mission for bathing, laundry, and drinking water.

California Missions
Inside the building are artifacts and art, including this map of the California missions. There are 21 California missions (Santa Ines was the 19th one to be built).

California Missions
And once you walk through the gift shop and museum, you come to their beautiful garden! You could easily spend an entire afternoon strolling the grounds, reflecting, meditating, or just relaxing.

California Missions
I’m quite partial to St. Francis statues (having been born on his feast day), and this one represents the story of St. Francis and the wolf of Gubbio. The story goes, the wolf was very hungry and was subsequently terrorizing the town of Gubbio by basically eating everyone. So, St. Francis made a deal with the wolf and promised to always feed him if he would become a tame and docile pet and stop eating the townspeople. Then (this is my favorite part!!!!) the wolf put his paw in St. Francis’ hand and they shook on the deal! And the wolf went back to the town with St. Francis and trotted alongside like a tame little dog, and he apologized for eating the townspeople and everyone became the best of buds. BEST WOLF STORY EVER.

(Ahem. Sorry for getting carried away there. Love me some St. Francis stories!)

California Missions
The final section of the mission that we toured was the graveyard. It is a quiet, tranquil section of land on the other side of the mission from the garden.

So, that’s 2 missions down for us, 19 to go in California! If you find yourself in a Californian town that has a mission, we really recommend stopping by for a visit. The staff is always so great, ready to answer questions and give you more information about the sites. And there is so much great history to explore at the missions, it’s truly like stepping back in time.

California Missions
And of course, you really can’t beat the gorgeous views!!

2 Comments

Filed under #97, #97-14, california, church, missions, photoblog, photos, tour

2 Responses to A Tale of Two Missions

  1. Woubbie

    Is it my imagination or does Bear look inordinately pleased?

    • steelcityfox

      He does, doesn’t he?? I didn’t realize that until after I’d taken the picture and was going through to do edits. I swear he’s smiling more!

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