20 October 2013

Playing tourist

No, we did not go on a balloon ride, we visited Sonoma instead, one valley over.
This time around, we did not spend all of our time walking around the plaza (window)shopping.
We started out visiting the mission. Any California 4th grader will know a lot more about the missions than I do, that's what they study in 4th grade. I did pay attention, though, while visiting here and remember that Mission San Francisco Solano (the official name for this mission) is the Northernmost mission and the last one built. It was built of adobe and covered with a whitewash made of crushed shell. Originally, there were 2 churches, but the larger one fell into disrepair and the townspeople used the building material for other projects.
What's left now, is the building you see in the front and the original wooden church which was rebuilt later on. The outbuildings in back and the larger church on the right are completely gone.
And this is what it looks like today:

The church is not being used as a church today, unlike other mission churches. Still, I always feel like I'm doing something wrong when I take pictures inside of churches. But there was a sign saying it was okay, just no flash photography.
Here is the veranda on the outside and following are a couple of pictures of the underside of the roof:

The fountain in the courtyard, a very peaceful and relaxing place.

We visited the barracks next, no pictures, sorry, not terribly photogenic and hard to photograph anyway. I do remember one detail, though: every solder had to have, among many other things, 6 horses and 1 mule.

Next we took a break for a bit of shopping and lunch before driving out to General Vallejo's house. According to wikipedia, he and other members of his family owned vast land holdings and lost most of them when California became a state. Legal wranglings with wealthy Americans and immigrants and the high cost of court proceedings.
The avenue leading up to the house.
The house itself, according to the ranger, shipped out in kit form from the East and built on site.
The tiny guesthouse.
And the barn which now serves as a museum and giftshop with an amazingly well-informed ranger on duty.
There is also a hermitage up the hill a bit, behind a huge pond with koi and turtles, but the path was blocked off with a sign warning about rattlesnakes.
It was fun doing touristy things for a change, we don't do it often enough and we have plans for more.

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