Missions and Oceans

 While on the coast last week, I scheduled my days lazily; puttering around Carmel in the morning before the tourists descend (since I live in an tourist area I always feel that I am a honorary local in other similar towns) and heading out with the camera and the addresses of all the nearby garden centers loaded in the GPS in the afternoon.
 My first stop this day was Mission San Carlos Borromeo Carmelo , aka Mission Carmel, which I had not visited since the 80's. I arrived simultaneously with a bus full of school kids, and since I am famously child-phobic, I hit the road for Big Sur. Luckily, by the time I rounded back to Carmel the small fry were long gone.

 Father Serra was a revered personage back in my days as a Catholic Kid. Since then his reputation has soured , muddied with accusations of abuse of the native population, ranging from simple paternalism to slavery. Father Serras grave site is here in the basilica at Mission Carmel. I stood before it , but took no photos. I thought only of the wonderful buildings I have visited along El Camino Real , the beautiful remnants of Old California .

 This mission has gardens, nicer gardens than most I have visited. Not cutting edge, but well designed and heavy with plants that thrive in this mild maritime climate on the Monterey Peninsula.

 Doesn't any plant look great against the adobe walls ?

Someday I will tell the story of the Cup of Gold Vine-Solandra maxima-a main character in my walk to school in the 50's. Here it draped nicely over the mission walls.

 Then there was Big Sur..


  1. What a beautiful part of the world. I haven't managed to visit the States yet, but this area is definitely on my bucket list. And I agree, the plants do look spectacular with an adobe backdrop.

  2. Every plant looks good against an adobe backdrop when it is you holding the camera. Another schoolchild-group-phobe here...I would have high-tailed it too...and Big Sur was surely better anyway!


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