Here in California you spend your elementary school years writing reports and making dioramas of these missions.  This is the Mission of San Juan Bautista.  It is about 40 minutes from Monterey in San Benito County.
 I have visited 3 other missions and this one is definitely the biggest.  The gardens are just gorgeous and the history here is just astonishing.  This mission was founded in 1797 in what was referred to as Alta California.  As you may know this area went from Spanish rule to Mexican and finally it became the California that was founded in 1850 after the Mexican American war.
 While in hindsight we may not agree with how the Spaniards came to "New Spain" to try to colonize the Pacific Coast, it is still part of this area's history.  The Monterey area was colonized in 1790 and although a huge part of the colonization did include religious conversion, there was also a military component.  In fact, the Presidio of Monterey where I spend a quite a bit of time at is now the home of DLI and was the former "Castillo" (a small fort with 11 cannons).  Of course "presidio" en español means : a fortress established in the southwest United States by the Spanish to protect their holdings and missions.

 Although we could go on and on about the history, let's take a quick look at the lovely gardens.

If you are ever in California I recommend you stop by one of these missions.  The distance between each mission is a day's horse ride away but luckily that just means a about a couple hours drive between each mission.
Happy Sunday and that completes today's tour.