That patch of dirt we call home.........

Phoenix Travel Blog

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San Xavier del Bac Mission...at least the part that is not covered due to renovation.

We had arrived home.  Just as dusk was closing in on the desert our plane touched down on Arizona soil.  I looked out the window as we were landing and marveled at the unending brown terrain that stretched out as far as the eye could see.  Cactus and a sprinkling of scrub brush greeted us once more.  I had gotten used to the grass, trees and flowers that are common place to those in many other parts of the world.  But the desert has its own barren and sometimes unforgiving beauty.  Home........and for at least a week I didn't plan on going anywhere else !

We picked up my sister and brother-in-law at the airport the next day.  They were flying in from Oklahoma for a 5 day hiatus from the anxieties of caring for elderly relatives.  Aside from relaxing, we had plans to visit the local Ikea and Trader Joes.

My sister, Connie and her husband, Joe, thrilled at the opportunity to pose for a picture.
.......two businesses that are alien to Oklahoma turf. but are sought out by visitors to Arizona.  Another trip was planned to visit Tucson, the second largest city in Arizona, which is a couple of hours south of Phoenix.

The four of us set out one morning, headed south on the I-10.  From where we live, it is about a one and a half hour drive to Tucson.  Aside from its slightly cooler temperatures compared to Phoenix, it's claim to fame includes that of being the birthplace of chanteuse, Linda Ronstadt as well as the place where Linda McCartney (wife to Paul) died some 8 years ago. Must be something going on with the name "Linda" down there.

The richly decorated altar in the church.

We visited the home of my sister's friend, Patti,  who had just moved to nearby Green Valley.  While there, we were treated to a typically Southwestern lunch of guacamole, chips and corn salsa, along with chicken and green chili enchilidas and prickly pear cactus margaritas....mmmmm.  On our way back to Phoenix later in the day we stopped at the world's largest pecan tree farm, or would you call it an orchard, also in Green Valley.  But the main attraction of our afternoon's trek across the desert was a visit to San Xavier del Bac Mission, otherwise known as the White Dove Mission.  This mission, which is still a fully functioning parish church, was built, in its present form from 1783-1797, although there were earlier churches on the site around 1700.

A view of the courtyard, taken on a bright, cloudless day.
  Many people claim that it is the finest example of mission architecture in the United States.  The mission is situated in the Santa Cruz valley about 9 miles south of Tucson on the Tohono O'odham Indian settlement.  This settlement was called "Bac", the place where water appears, because the Santa Cruz river which ran underground for some distance, reappeared on the surface nearby.

The mission can be seen for miles as one is driving across the desert and stands like a bright, white wedding cake in the midst of a sea of brown sand.  Alot of renovation is currently going on both inside and outside of the church and unfortunately one of the towers is shrouded in tarps which makes it impossible to get a good photo of the exterior.  The interior is painted in bright colors and heavily gilded in gold.

In the mortuary chapel where all the plaster saints are surrounded with prayer candles...can you say, HOT ??!!
  It is a small church but continues to serve the needs of the Tohono O'odham tribe as well as others who may attend services there.  There is a website about the mission that is interesting to read and also shows many beautiful pictures    http://www.sanxaviermission.org/History.html     It is well worth a stop if you are in this part of the world.

So our day was complete.  We arrived back in Phoenix, tired and not all that hungry after our nice Mexican luncheon..........and where did we go for dinner??...........Aunt Chiladas Mexican Restaurant....go figure........ 

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San Xavier del Bac Mission...at le…
San Xavier del Bac Mission...at l…
My sister, Connie and her husband,…
My sister, Connie and her husband…
The richly decorated altar in the …
The richly decorated altar in the…
A view of the courtyard, taken on …
A view of the courtyard, taken on…
In the mortuary chapel where all t…
In the mortuary chapel where all …
Another courtyard area within the …
Another courtyard area within the…
More gilding and fantastic colors …
More gilding and fantastic colors…
One of the many niches in the wall…
One of the many niches in the wal…
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photo by: ahtibat17