Today, I begin a new theme for my posts on Thursdays. Travel. And it is also a Throwback Thursday this week as I talk about trips before 2018. Trips that continue to inspire me.
In 1998, I spent a month in Los Angeles taking part in a Shakespeare acting course with the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). It was a wonderful month of acting workshops and meeting instructors and fellow actors with a passion for The Bard.
While I was in LA, I rented a car one weekend to sightsee. I discovered there were 21 historical Spanish Missions in California. The mission I visited that weekend was Mission San Fernando Rey de Espana. I was in love; the architecture was amazing, and amid such a densely populated region, the quiet and peace were soothing. I spend a couple wonderful hours just walking and sitting in the grounds of the mission. When I returned home to Canada, I did a little research into the missions, but life intervened and they became a lovely memory.
Fast forward to 2007 when I was visiting California with a friend and whilst doing a driving tour one day with her parents, we drove past one, Mission San Juan Bautista, near Monterey, California. My hosts kindly indulged me and we stopped and had a brief walk around the grounds.
Here are a couple photo from that Mission San Juan Bautista:
It revived my memories of that trip. As we were going to Carmel that day, we also stopped by the San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission. Unfortunately, it was closed so we could only look in through the gates.
Here is a photo of me in front of the gates of San Carlos Borromeo:
This trip in 2007 revived my passion to see the rest of these missions. A day later, while spending a day in San Francisco my friend and I visited Mission San Francisco de Asis, also known as Mission Dolores.
Two photos of Mission Dolores: the oldest building in San Francisco on the left, the original Mission; and on the right, the Basilica next door built in 1918:
The following year, I attended a family wedding in Newport Beach, CA. The day after the wedding, I joined my niece and her son in their rental car. The goal to show us around the area, and they happily indulged my one desire, to visit San Juan Capistrano Mission south of where we were staying. There is a song written by Leon Rene When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano, and made famous first by the group The Inkspots and then Pat Boone. You can hear Pat Boone’s rendition here and the Inkspots here. Read more about the Legend of the Swallows here.
Here are a couple of photos: on the right, is a group of sparrow nests and on the left, the section of roof overhang where they are found:
This past Spring, I had plans to do a driving trip to visit as many of the 21 missions in one fell swoop as possible. Unfortunately, due to health reasons, I could not go on that trip. This past September, I managed an abbreviated trip to California. I spent a wonderful week with a friend who lives in Santa Cruz with whom I was to spend a weekend in the Spring. Beth and I first met through a Missions organization called Youth With A Mission (YWAM) in 1984. We prayed, worked and travelled together with that organization for a few years. Between 1987 and 2016 we lost touch, but at a 30-year reunion for the missions base in Turner Valley, Alberta, we were both a part of we reconnected.
At that reunion, I shared my decision to become a published author, and she told me about a Christian writer’s conference in her neighbourhood in California, The Mt Herman’s Christian Writer’s conference. This was not the first time I’d heard about the conference, but as it was in her neighbourhood, I looked into it further. It is now a hope I can one day attend. But I digress… back to the Missions.
While visiting Beth, I visited 4 of the missions. It was wonderful. The first one I visited on my own on a day Beth had to work, but she graciously indulged my passion and we visited three more together. One on the drive to the Central Coast Writer’s Conference (CCWC), was the Mission San Miguel Archangel in San Miguel. The second was in San Luis Obispo, near the conference venue. The third, was the mission in Carmel, that I wasn’t able to get in to in 2008.
Now I have given you the background to my passion for the Historic Spanish Missions in California, I will write a blog post each Thursday for the next few weeks about the ones I visited this past September.
Is there a travel passion you can tell me about? Leave a comment and inspire me. And please post a picture to pique my interest and inspire me to see and learn more of our world.