Saturday, 23 January 2016

Mission San Antonio de Padua

The last mission we visited, San Antonio de Padua, is the 3rd of the California missions.   It’s situated in quite a remote location, high in the Santa Lucia Mountains in a valley studded with oaks, and as it’s not really on the way to anywhere it’s somewhere you actually have to want to visit.
San Antonio de Padua is also right in the middle of a military reservation, and it’s not always possible for non-US citizens to visit historical sites if they’re in active duty military areas.   Erin, one of the very helpful ladies at Vines called and checked; there are no restrictions as to who can visit, so off we went.
It’s a lovely drive up into the mountains and as well as being remote, San Antonio De Padua is quiet and peaceful, exactly how I expected a mission to be.
At present the mission is undergoing extensive restorations which should be completed by 2017 at a cost of about $15M.   Our directions told us to look out for a blue tarp and take the road on the left when we saw it, so that’s what we did.  

On 14 July 1771, Father Junipero Serra hung a bell in an oak tree and called the Indians to the founding of mission San Antonio de Padua.   In 1773 because a better water supply was needed the mission was moved to its present position. 

Juan Bautista De Anza stopped at the mission on 6 March 1776 on his overland expedition from Sonora, Mexico to Monterey and San Francisco. 

The olive tree by the church was planted by the Padres in about 1836.

The plaza is lovely and very peaceful

for a while we simply sat and enjoyed the peace and quiet in the afternoon sunshine.   Visitors can come to the mission on retreat and I can quite see why.
We entered the church from a beautifully decorated side door in the plaza.

Inside the church

An added bonus is that because the mission is so remote the remains of a lot of the surrounding buildings haven’t been built over. 

This is what remains of a stone threshing floor, where grain was separated either by mules or threshing.

Close to that are the remains of tannery vats and the millrace.

This is the original mission well, in 1823 it was reported that it contained exceptionally good drinking water.   It was re-opened in 1954.

The reproduction bell marking the route of El Camino Real.

Sadly when we visited, the museum was closed as part of the restoration work but we thoroughly enjoyed our visit to San Antonio de Padua.   I’d like to return when the restoration work is complete. 

Have fun, we are!

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