November 8, 2011

San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano

On Tuesday of our second week in LA, we went to the Mission San Juan Capistrano.  I really was unaware of what the Missions were until we went there.  We picked up some books from the library when we came home and they really put together the whole history of all the California Missions.  Definately very interesting reading!  Amazon has a lot of choices such as one on Father Serra, this one on San Juan Capistrano, and this one for kids on the Missions

Look at those lush gardens!  There were hummingbirds everywhere.

Gotta keep trying for a group photo...

Swallows' nests.
Every year the swallows come on March 19th, St. Joseph's feast day.
There is a whole story surrounding the swallows and San Juan Capistrano--one of the books that tells the tale can be found here.  They had a beautiful one at the Mission and I wish I'd bought it!

A chausible from 1800.
Nick and Liz take a break on a bench on the Plaza.
The Plaza.
Straight ahead is a fountain.
This is the original church.  It crumbled during an earthquake on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (I think).  An interesting story I heard a tour guide tell:  The earthquake happened during Mass.  There is a little door off to the left there (you can't see it in this picture, the altar is straight ahead).  The priest had said, "Everyone follow me" and he led them out that door.  Those who followed him, lived.  And those who tried to flee in the other direction, out the back of the church, died.
Our Lady of Guadeloupe!
The chapel was our last stop, very beautiful and open to walk through for visitors.
There is also a school on site and a Basilica.
The neatest thing happened:  My kids all lit a candle and said a prayer for my brother who had been undergoing chemo for recurrent Hodgkins Lymphoma.
I talked to my mom later this night and found out that while we were in the chapel, my brother had been at the doctor and found out that his cancer was in remission!  In addition, I also found out later that there is a prayer room in the chapel dedicated to Saint Peregrine, the patron saint of cancer sufferers!
I thought that was pretty darn cool!

The altar.  Beautiful, huh?
I didn't get any closer as Nick was running in the portico outside and being watched by an older brother!
One of my kids' favorite parts were the koi.  There were two beautiful fountains filled with koi.
This one was in the front as you walk in, and there was another in the Plaza.
This koi is a fish named Pudding--he is over a 100 years old!

We worked up a proper appetite walking around the Mission.  And after a quick pop in the giftshop (I didn't buy anything!), we ate lunch at a nearby McDonalds.  I tried to convince the kids to eat at a little taco stand on the corner but to no avail.  There was also a gorgeous italian restaurant across the street with a fountain--that would have been more fun if my husband had been able to join us!  So, after filling our bellies, we looked up Capistrano beach in the GPS and headed off! 

Capistrano Beach

This little beach was just the perfect place to spend the afternoon!

Sand, waves, beach breezes, what could be better?
As you can see, we weren't exactly fighting for our spot on the beach.
We must be from Indiana.

Such good memories!
Sometimes the moments that are really "nothing" are the best.
I really enjoyed this afternoon on the beach with the kids.
Sitting on the sheet, watching them enjoy themselves, listening to the waves.
Just the three littlest.

View from the car.

When our time expired on our parking ticket, off we went--back to the hotel for dinner, showers and a movie!  It was a great, fun-filled day!

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