Saturday, 30 July 2016
hearing the mission bell
Once again we've followed the mission bells of El Camino Real along Highway 1 and US101, to the Spanish inspired town of Santa Barbara. It's a great place to kick back and do very little for a few days.
It was a Portuguese explorer named João Cabrillo who, working for the Spanish, discovered the area in 1542 and there's a mural of his landing displayed in the town's court house.
The entire mural was painted by a cinema backdrop painter, who worked for Cecil B de Mille and there are some liberties taken in the depiction. My picture shows a small part of the work, which is painted across all four sides of the approx 60 feet by 40 feet courtroom. Bottom left of the picture s part of one of the doors to the room.
The courthouse is fully functional but, as a public building, it is possible to explore and to see the multiple cultures that have affected this area.
For 13,000 years the native Chumash tribe, then Spain, then Mexico with 40 governments mainly lasting less than a year, and then a mercenary with 100 soldiers claimed Santa Barbara for the United States.
We visited the clock tower, from where we could see the distant Santa Barbara Mission, on the spot where the Spanish had originally raised their cross, eventually creating a string of missions spaced at one day intervals by horseback for some 600 miles, north to south. The missions' secularisation followed later, despite unsuccessful antidisestablishmentarianist attempts (I only put that last sentence in so that I could use THAT word).