Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Missions of San Antonio...

Well, I had a four-day weekend due to the holiday, so I decided to enjoy the pleasant temps of 100+ degrees and head out to the San Antonio Missions. There wasn't a cloud in the sky today and on top of it all, I got a late start, so where better to spend a sweltering afternoon than touring the missions which don't have any kind of shade other than the interior of the churches. What the heck...let's go!

I asked my son, Jared, if he wanted to have lunch with me first at a new Mexican place in Schertz, Texas, which was recommended by a blog that I read. It's supposed to have "authentic Mexican food," which I am always in search of having experienced the real thing in Mexico. Schertz sits between Austin and San Antonio and is a rapidly growing community, so I figured the food had to be good. Here it is in one of those ever-growing strip malls...

Industrial looking interior with the exposed ducts in the ceiling...

I've been watching a lot of "Kitchen Nightmares" with Gordon Ramsay lately, and just finished watching one of the seasons of "Master Chef." I'll have to say that even though I'm critical of most restaurants, these shows have made me even more critical. They really make you wonder what's going on back in the kitchen.

So, we got chips and salsa. Well, chips and salsa and ranch dressing. I asked the waitress what was in the white sauce and she said it was "Serrano Ranch." It was actually okay, but I definitely wouldn't consider that "authentic Mexican" since I have never once had that in any of my travels to Mexico. Okay, so it's their own twist, which is fine...

Here are Jared's enchiladas. He's only 23 and was totally unimpressed. I tasted them and the tamales were way too doughy and the taste was really bland.

I got the Chalupas. They were okay. Honestly, I felt like it was a glorified Taco Bell. Jared wanted to get the fish tacos because that's his favorite after visiting California this summer, but at a price tag of $13.95, he passed. $13.95 for fish tacos??? Really?? We got the cheapest things on the menu, and I guess you get what you pay for. Jared was upset because his beans and rice didn't come in little bowls. Ha!

On to the missions. During lunch, I told Jared that I was going to take pictures at the San Antonio Missions. He gave me this odd look and said, "Are you doing volunteer work?" Haha! Jared doesn't know anything about the Missions in San Antonio...maybe he'll come to appreciate them when he's older. But, hopefully, he'll be long gone from Texas and onto bigger and better, so it probably won't even be an issue.

I started at the southern most mission which is Espada. It's very small and not much of it is left. I like the church, though, because it reminds me of so many of the churches in Mexico.

I took pictures of these descriptions...you can probably read them if you click on them to enlarge them.

Here's the interior of the church...

Some of the statues in these old churches are very strange and not very comforting in my opinion...

Nice little courtyard on the side of the church...

This was new since I had been here the last time. A monk was selling his glass ware. These crosses were $20...and apparently monks take major credit cards...

He also had these glass pieces which were actually very nice...and very expensive. I heard him telling someone that it was a complicated process of manipulating glass in a very hot kiln.

Not a very good picture, but you can tell these are very pretty...at hundreds of dollars...

I went back outside and found this plant with some very pretty berries...

I'm so glad to see that they were able to preserve the very colorful bouncy castle from the 1700s. It definitely coincides with the history of the time...

Just an outer building from this mission...

So, now we go on to the San Juan Mission. This one is very small and there isn't a whole lot to see...especially today since they had the church fenced off due to extensive repairs.


All these missions are about the size of half a football field...just my lame guess...

Last time I was here, I took some pictures of the inside of the church that were very strange. There was a glass coffin of Christ, as well as some very unsettling statues. I can't find those pictures now...I think they were lost when my old laptop crashed a few years ago. I'm just hoping those features are still there when the mission is restored.


I kind of liked this picture that I took of the bathroom.

I'm guessing the people back in the 1700s would have appreciated the luxuries we have installed in the original furnishings.

Here is the San Juan Mission...it's definitely bigger than the other two.

Here's the history on it, as well as the way it looked in its original form...

There is still a portion of it that has the original painted facade. How cool would that be to see the whole thing like that??

Such an impressive facade...

And here is the inside...

And the altar...

This mission has a large area that is surrounded by little dorms. Notice the dried up grass in a lot of these photos. We haven't had rain in many months here...and probably won't have any in the future, so we're pretty much drying up down here in Texas.

Another area of the church...


And more...

Finally, here is Mission Concepcion. This is the first time I have visited this Mission. It is just south of San Antonio and is the most well-conserved of the missions.

Church interior...


This is a little hallway off the main church. See the rope at the top of the photo?

Just makes you want to pull it, doesn't it? Just to hear those bells toll. But I didn't.

Damn...I was just pulling my markers out of my purse...

The doorways are so small here...so the people must have been so small as well. I'm 5'7" tall, and I had about three inches to spare.

They saved the drawings on the wall which is pretty cool. They cleaned it up and removed the dirt and were able to salvage the original artwork.


So, now it's about 4:30 p.m. and I still have to make it to the Alamo to be able to see all five missions. I drive through downtown San Antonio and it's packed with tourists and I can't find a parking place. Screw it. I'm tired, I'm hot and I'm thirsty...so I think I'll pass on getting photos of the Alamo. Here's one I took a few years ago. You know what everyone says about the Alamo? It's a lot smaller than they thought it was going to be. Well...here you go.



3 comments:

Pablo said...

very nice tour. Thanks

Life's a Beach! said...

I love these old missions. I think I should have been born Catholic! Nice photos!

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