Our main destination was Solvang, California (per my request). However, since Sta. Barbara is on the way, my Uncle suggested we visit both places.
We left Los Angeles very early one morning in July, 2012 for an almost 2 hour drive to Sta. Barbara, in time to catch the 7am mass in Poor Clares Monastery. The sun wasn’t even up yet. As always, Uncle was the driver, I was the navigator and grandma was the relaxed passenger who would keep Uncle and I awake with her stories.
And we made it to the mass… The chapel is small but with a charming and intimate atmosphere. It had a small garden in front of the chapel with flowering plants that gave the chapel a more charming appeal.
The church was full during the mass. Afterwards we made it to the Offerings section where we requested for our intentions to be prayed over.
We then left the chapel and went to Old Mission Sta. Barbara. This is a bigger church and is one of the twenty one California missions founded by the Spanish Franciscan friars.
There is a garden in the courtyard of the church which had palm trees and flowering plants.
The mission offers tours but since we were pressed for time, we did not join any. We went around the church grounds and had picnic in the picnic area.
Uncle prepared these for our surprise picnic. We had homemade sandwich, chicken macaroni salad, fruits and crackers. Burp. Burp.
We went briefly to the park in front of the church to take a full view of the Old Mission of Sta. Barbara. We parked in front of charming multi-million dollar homes and took some photos at the rose park in front.
While Sta. Barbara was just a stop, I think it was a worthwhile one. I like the calmness and serenity of the place which is the exact opposite of Los Angeles and Solvang, which was another touristy town.
If given another opportunity to go to US and given more time, I would like to visit all the 21 missions in California just like my Uncle hopes to.
You may visit Old Mission of Sta. Barbara website at http://www.santabarbaramission.org/