We've pretty much scraped the closer-by areas clean of things to see, and are having to go farther afield. A few weeks ago we went to Stockton to a very nice art museum there, The Haggin Museum, and to Sacramento, to the California State Railroad Museum. We've about reached our limit for day trips: four to five hours one way makes for a very long day.
A while back I saw a Spanish mission on the map and asked HH if he wanted to go; it's on the outer limits of day-trip miles. True to form, he said, Why not? and off we went a couple of weekends ago. Following Alta California's Spanish mission trail, El Camino Real (The Royal Road, or The King's Road) is a bucket list item for me as well as following the mission trails through Mexico and Arizona. I'd hoped to follow it sequentially but hit-or-miss is all right, too.
San Juan Bautista is in the town of the same name, northeast of Salinas. Founded in 1797, it is the 15th Spanish mission established by Franciscan Father President Francisco de Laseún. The church's brochure says it's the largest of the mission churches, but I don't know if it means just those in Alta California or all of them. It sits astride the eastern edge of the Pacific Plate and San Andreas Fault and has suffered earthquake damage over the years. In fact, there's a warning sign outside the complex about the buildings not being earthquake-proof. The remains of El Camino Real can be seen from the fault line. El Camino Real connected a 600-mile circuit of California missions, presidios, and pueblos of the day.
Here is the entrance to the museum, gift shop, garden courtyard, and church.
In the museum that precedes the visit to the church is this Himnario, maybe two feet tall.
Vestments on display in the museum. Some are from China, Russia, and Venice, and were used here until the 1930s.
One of the entrances to the church from the garden. The church was secularized in 1835 when the Mexican government seized much of the Mission property. In 1859, the present mission buildings and 55 acres were given back to the Church by US federal decree.
One of many doors that once led to the Padre's living quarters and workrooms for Native people. The space is now used for the Museum and Archives.
San Juan Bautista was the setting for Alfred Hitchcock's 1957 movie, Vertigo. The 1865 Victorian-era bell tower seen in the movie no longer exists and didn't even exist when the movie was filmed. The original tower was demolished in 1949 due to dry rot and structural damage, so Hitchcock used Hollywood magic to recreate it for the film. We tried to stream the movie on Netflix the other night but it's not available. I do not understand licensing. This three-bell campanario, or "bell wall," located by the church entrance, was fully restored in 2010.
The pulpit is reached via a stairway on the other side of the wall. Stations of the Cross in this church are in the form of paintings, but I'd say not the originals because of the painted curlicues that can be seen peeking out behind them.
A cat door in the bottom of the people door allowed cats access to the church at all times for mouse-catching duties.
In 1997, the site of the original chapel was restored and dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe. This is the altar used for daily Mass.
Front and center, below, is the candle I lit in front of the altar, along with buying a statue of St. Joseph from Amazon to be buried in my yard, in an effort to direct cosmic energy toward the sale of the house Voldemort and I still own. When I told the volunteer in the gift shop why I was buying the candle, she said, "Sometimes it's good to ask mom for help."
Two days later, after the house had sat stagnant on the market for four months and before the candle had time to burn down or St. Joe got planted, we had an offer on the house. We're losing money by the bucketful but it will soon be gone and I won't have to listen to him about that topic any more.
This is the main door at the back of the church. That's another Station of the Cross to the left, number VII.
The baptistry features the original fonts.
A holy water niche at one of the doors.
I shot everything handheld because I was too lazy and it was too hot to go back to the truck for the tripod. None of these is as sharp as I'd like, but you get the idea.
Every December 21st, the light of the midwinter solstice illuminates the main altar tabernacle. I would like to see that.
The sanctuary and reredos were painted by Boston sailor Thomas Doak in 1818 in exchange for room and board (and maybe sanctuary?) after he jumped ship in Monterey.
There's another mission near Carmel, which we intended to stop at on our way home, but traffic was a nightmare. Instead of battling it and getting mad, I elected to come on home. It will have to wait for another day when we can get on the road early.
Thought of the day:
If you never change your mind, why have one? - Edward de Bono