Mission San Juan Capistrano


Before I headed back to South Africa (lots of South Africa posts coming soon), my mom and I had to go on one last adventure together. We decided to take the train down to San Juan Capistrano to visit the city and the mission. Metrolink  has a deal where you get unlimited train rides for $10 on the weekends, a steal considering that a one way ticket would regularly cost almost that amount. 

Once we arrived in San Juan Capistrano we started our day with lunch at Cedar Creek Inn. While we were deciding on what to drink my mom exclaimed "I'm having a margarita and you're having a lemon drop!" I couldn't very well say no to that so I happily accepted my delicious (and rather strong) cocktail. We started out with some beer-battered green beans for an appetizer and then shared a curried chicken croissant sandwich for our main. We left feeling happily full and slightly tipsy, making our way over to the mission. 

For anyone not familiar with the California missions, they are a collection of  21 religious and military outpostsestablished by Catholic priests of the Franciscan order between 1769 and 1833 in order to spread Christianity among the local Native Americans. They were were part of the first major effort by Europeans to colonize the Pacific Coast region.Mission San Juan Capistrano was the seventh of the California missions, founded on November 1,1776 by Fr. Junípero Serra. 

The Great Stone Church was constructed between 1797 - 1806. It stood for only six years due to a massive earthquake that all but destroyed it. The ruins are one the greatest architectural wonders in the US. 

The legend of the swallows is very important in San Juan Capistrano. Story has it that the swallows took refuge in the mission after an innkeeper kept destroying their muddy nests. The swallows returned to the mission each spring knowing that they would be safe there.  The swallows return to rebuild their nests each year on March 19, a day celebrated by the town. 

"Serra's Chapel" or "Father Serra's Church" is the oldest building in California that is still in use. 

My mom lit a candle for her Aunt Mildred (Sister Mary Cedric Crossley) who recently passed. 

Such a beautiful day spent in San Juan Capistrano; I hope to return one day soon. 

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