This blog is to share information, photos, and thoughts that I have gathered on the “Alta” California Missions after having the opportunity to visit all 21 since moving to Los Angeles in the 1990’s.
For anyone who does not have a clear understanding of Spanish, myself included, the word “alta” refers to “upper” … so Alta California refers to the United States, while “baja” refers to “lower” California which is actually Mexico; the state of Baja, Mexico to be specific. I bring this up because Baja California has 33 missions that I will not be addressing in this blog!
I first began visiting the missions out of pure convenience. Many are located in cities that I frequently visit and being a fan of visiting popular attractions seeing the ‘local’ mission was simple. The second reason I started seeing so many missions was because I used to work for a tour company and sometimes I lead tours in California. It was always great when visiting a mission would be a part of my planned itinerary. Lastly, while working on a previous blog I found myself writing about the missions from time to time. Somewhere along the way I realized that I had been to 11 or 12 of California’s missions without even putting in any effort! That was about the time I made a conscious decision to visit the remaining ones. And I must tell you it has to be a conscious effort to visit them as a few of the missions are not located in the most frequented visited spots in the state.
It has been fun seeing them all, comparing them, and enjoying the adventure of planning visits to them. And I have to tell you that even though I have now seen them all I am still excited when I have the opportunity to re-visit them!! My family, which includes two children, has gotten used to my “slight” obsession with missions, and I truly believe they enjoy visiting the missions with me. This is a good thing as they, the kids in particular, are going to visit them regardless!!
Speaking of my family I must thank my husband for driving out the way on more than one occasion to visit a mission. This is particularly true during time we have spent in Northern California. I can recall two different trips to San Francisco where I asked him to drive out of the way to satisfy my mission fix. Once I extended our time in the car on the way home at least two hours to travel north on Highway 101 to visit Mission San Rafael Arcangel in the city of San Rafael. Nothing beats driving back to Los Angeles from even further north via Highway 101/ Market Street through San Francisco. On another occasion I asked him to drive across the Bay Bridge so that we could go to the East Bay and see Mission San Jose. And for the record Mission San Jose is not in San Jose, it is in Fremont. Mission Santa Clara de Asis is actually closer to the city of San Jose!!
I look forward to sharing my experiences visiting the beautiful missions across this beautiful state. Thanks for taking a moment to visit the California Missions through my blog!!! Please feel free to share any comments about your experiences visiting the missions too!!