In the three years I've been visiting my grandson in Fremont, California, I've always said I was going to visit Mission San Jose, which is located Fremont, just a couple of miles from my son's house.
Of course, a good intention always seems like forever to fulfill. But not this time. I made it a point to visit the historic mission.
Just arriving there and parking was interesting. The wife was driving there for the first time ever, and she did a good job. I didn't have to squinch my butt even once. We parked on the street in front of the mission, but wondered if there was a parking lot. It turns out there was one, but it wasn't the missions ... it was for the nunnery.
After driving all over the place behind the mission, we ended up in the very same parking space on the street.
Entering through the gift shop, one encounters all kinds of religious items on sale – crucifixes, prayer beads, books, Biblical statuettes, cross pendants, St. Christopher medals, Bibles of course, shawls and kerchiefs, ornaments, Virgin Marys ... what you would expect.
Step through a small doorway (they sure we're short then) and take a self-guided tour. There are a number of rooms filled with Ohlone (oh-LONE-nee) Indian cultural items, missionary artifacts, old furniture, religious icons and more and more historical stuff than you can shake a stick at.
Then, return outdoors and take a walk over to the mission chapel itself. It's as dark and reverent inside as it is sunny and bright outside. Just what you'd imagine an old Spanish church to be – dark pews and walls punctuated by an occasional mini-altar, dominated by the main altar on the opposite side of the entrance.
Step back into the daylight through a side door, wander the garden, toss a few coins in the fountain, say hello to Father Junipero Serra, and there you go, all done ... we spent a good hour or so nourishing our souls.