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California Missions
Join us as we follow the footsteps of the "Apostle of California", Fr. Junipero Serra who established nine California Missions and baptized 6000 Native Americans during his lifetime. Those nine missions over time grew to a count of twenty-one. These settlements built along the Royal Road, also known as El Camino Real, affirm the early history and the very birth of Catholic life in California.
San Diego, Solvang, Monterey, San Francisco
6 Days - California, United States
Itinerary
Day 1: Our pilgrimage begins as we board our deluxe motorcoach at 9:00 AM in the San Diego area. Enjoy a city tour of San Diego including a visit to Mission San Diego de Alcala. Overnight in San Diego.
Day 2: Mission Santa Barbara We visit Mission San Luis Rey, and Mission San Juan Capistrano today, continuing north to Santa Barbara, a spectacular southern California coastal community known as the American Riviera. Upon arrival in Santa Barbara, we値l visit Mission Santa Barbara, founded in 1786 and still inhabited by Franciscan friars, it is the tenth of the California missions. Its beautiful setting, unique twin bell towers, and lovely facade have earned it the title "Queen of the Missions". Its architectural design, differing from the standard mission simplicity, incorporates many Moorish and classical elements. A celebration of Mass is followed by the "red tile walking tour" of downtown Santa Barbara, which includes the historic landmarks composed of beautiful gardens and plazas, museums, specialty shops, boutiques and trendy restaurants. The last leg of today痴 drive will conclude in Solvang, better known as "Little Denmark", a charming village which has developed into a veritable corner of Denmark itself. Its Danish heritage is preserved architecturally with authentic windmills, gas streetlights, and thatched roofs. Overnight in Solvang.
Day 3: Breakfast at leisure. Our morning begins with a Mass celebration at Mission Santa Ines, founded in 1804, perfectly restored mission is the oldest structure in the area. Then we池e off to Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, founded in 1772. California's fifth mission, often called "the Prince of Missions" remains one of the prettiest and most interesting in the Franciscan chain. The red tiled roof was first used here after the original thatched roofs repeatedly fell to hostile Native American's burning arrows. The former padres' quarters are an excellent museum chronicling both Native American and missionary life through all eras of the mission's use. We then proceed to San Simeon for our tour of the magnificent Hearst Castle. Built by newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, its 123 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and luxurious guesthouses provide an ornate setting for the hundred-room mansion where heads of state, motion picture stars, and other international celebrities were entertained. A national historic landmark, "The Enchanted Hill" contains a priceless art collection, a magnificent palatial estate, and beautiful views of the Santa Lucia Mountains and the majestic Pacific Ocean. Our drive continues north on Highway 1 or the Pacific Coast Highway, fondly known locally as "PCH", along the Big Sur coastline and one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world.There are few places where land and sea meet as dramatically as in Big Sur country, where the thundering surf and rocky cliffs crash head-on in a land of stunning precipices and frenzied nature that plunges 4000 feet from peak tops to boulder-strewn surf.During the course of the journey several photo stops will be made. A stop will be made at Pfeifer State Park to see the towering and ancient redwood trees. In the evening, the group will be taken to Cannery Row in Monterey, immortalized by the author John Steinbeck. This popular attraction features excellent restaurants that overlooks beautiful Monterey Bay, wine tasting rooms, specialty shops and factory outlet stores, and beautiful walkways along the shoreline. Overnight in Monterey.
Day 4: After breakfast, we値l visit Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo, the final resting place of Fr. Junipero Serra. Founded in 1770, it is considered to be one of the state's most outstanding historic monuments. The dome, bell towers, and exterior have a Moorish influence, and its magnificent stateliness has been recaptured from careful restoration. The mission grounds, featuring colorful gardens, are absolutely spectacular. After celebration of Mass, we値l visit the quaint and charming town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Then we値l go through the famed 17-Mile Drive, a private community known throughout the world for its natural scenic beauty and affluence.The drive affords an insiders view of sheltered coves that are home to sea lions, seals, and otters.You値l see groves of cypress and pine that shelter the free-roaming deer. A protrusion of rare grasses, shrubs and wildflowers in a rainbow of color flourishes along the length of the drive. We値l also make featured stops at Bird and Seal Rocks, the Lone Cypress, and the Lodge at Pebble Beach, among numerous other points of natural beauty and interest. Then as we head north to San Francisco, we travel through the Salinas Valley, the artichoke capital of the world and the salad bowl of America, to Mission San Juan Bautista, founded in 1797, is the largest church in the mission chain. Overnight in San Francisco.
Day 5: Today痴 tour begins with a stop at Mission Dolores, founded in 1776, it was the sixth of 21 missions established by the Franciscan Friars in California. It is the oldest structure in San Francisco, with four-foot thick adobe walls. The altar and decorations are from Spain and Mexico; alongside the mission is a garden and cemetery where many pioneers are buried. After Mass, enjoy a sightseeing tour of San Francisco which includes a stop at Twin Peaks, a 65 acre park overlooking the city that is known for its breathtaking views of the entire Bay area. Next is Golden Gate Park, certainly one of the largest and most spectacular metropolitan parks in the country.We then continue to that venerable city landmark, the Cliff House, which overlooks the majestic Pacific Ocean and beautiful Ocean Beach.After driving past the Palace of Fine Arts and the restored Victorians along fashionable Union Street the tour will conclude in the early afternoon at the Fisherman's Wharf area where individuals will have a choice of remaining at the wharf area on their own or returning to the hotel, with the remainder of the day at leisure. Those staying at the waterfront attractions will want to explore Pier 39, Fisherman's Wharf, the Cannery, Aquatic Park, and Ghirardelli Square. You may also want to ride a cablecar, the only national landmark on wheels. Overnight in San Francisco.
Day 6: Following breakfast, we drive north through Marin County to Mission San Rafael, the 20th mission, founded on Dec. 14, 1817 by Fr. Vicente de Sarria under the patronage of San Rafael Arcángel, the angel of bodily healing. The mission started as an asistencia hospital to treat the sick Native Americans from Mission San Francisco de Asis. In 1822, San Rafael was declared independent of Mission Dolores and raised to full mission status and a replica of the mission was built on its former site in 1949. Following Mass at the mission, you may "sleep in the Lord", as we begin the long drive traveling south along Highway 5 through the Central Valley back to Los Angeles.
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