Sunday, September 09, 2007

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Posted by Hippo Bean at 11:39 PM
Though a bit feverish and with a nagging headache, I stuck to my 'mission' and drove the 144 miles to the San Antonio de Padua Mission, located inside the Hunter Liggett military Reservation near Jolon. Twice we missed this mission (once was sabotaged!) and so this time, come fever or headache, I was committed. The weather was cool up on the San Carlos hills and cooler still in Aptos when we picked up Tomaso. On the way, we stopped at Soledad since he hasnt seen it. By the time we arrived at main gate of the military base and showed our papers, the sun was glazing. The mission was faithfully preserved and I particularly liked the stunning brick facade. The fact that the mission itself is now inside a military compound added to its mystery. Our original plan was to double back to visit San Juan Bautista and then back down the coast to do Carmel. But since all of us had been to Bautista already, we've decided to take the coastal route to Carmel. But the first order of business was to feed ourselves since we could find few places to eat on Hi 1. There were 1 or 2 places open to the public in Hunter Liggett. We chose the snack bar. On the way we stopped by the Hacienda guest lodge, once owned by William Randolph Hearst, designed by "Castle" architect Julia Morgan, as his hunting lodge. The hotel was still open to the public (we checked out a few rooms since the maids were cleaning them and the doors were open) but the restaurant had been closed for a while (one wonders where the guests get food then!). The base was mostly quiet (it has very nice buildings!) but we ran into some rowdy military kids in the cafeteria. After a lousy meal (we had pizza that was simply OK), we decided to take the freeway to Carmel since it was already getting late and we want to reach the mission before it closes. So the drive back was not scenic. But we have many more chances to do scenic routes later. We got to Carmel a few minutes before 5, and the Sunday afternoon mass was just getting started. The museum was already closed but the mission and cathedral were still open. We browsed the area, discovering a very unique painting on a wall inside the church depicting a cross with a spear and a lance holding Christ's vinegar sponge, with the words 'Alabemos Santo Dios, loque estan y seran loque somos'. Nowhere had we seen a cross depicted with these 2 things. Later in the cemetery we witnessed a cross exactly like that. The Carmel mission had a most serene courtyard, uncluttered, and with a fountain in the middle. One of the buildings had a nice whitewash that Tomaso had wanted for his house. The orange adobe color was simply stunning in the near dusk sun. Back at Aptos we had dinner by the beach and watched a huge bonfire. Thus ended a long and exhausted day for me, but got 2 more missions under my belt. Four more to go to complete the collection, and then I can rest.

San Antonio de Padua Mission

San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo



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