Sightseeing and Shopping

Green Valley Travel Blog

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Partially-rebuilt church at Tumacacori Nat'l Historic Park

We had so much fun today.  Our wonderful hosts, Bill and Jim, took us sightseeing and SHOPPING!  That is something they love and I love and Jag hates.  Well, Jag hates it when I do it - not when it is for something he wants.

 

We drove south to Tumacacori (pronounced “toom-a-kah-co-ree”) National Historic Park.  This preserves the ruins of an ancient Spanish mission built in 1691and later deserted. It is a very fascinating place and one that is filled with a certain power I have felt in only a few other places.  Most of the frescos and decorations inside and outside the church itself are long gone.  Slight traces do remain however, giving one a small hint of what once must have been a beautiful place.  Paintings show what historians believe the interior may have looked like.

Jim Falls & Bill Jensen at Tumacacori
 

 

The mission’s garden is a place of great tranquility.  The fragrance of Mexican oregano perfumes the air.  Birds drink and bathe in a small fountain, all of which fill the space with music. 

 

There is an old burial ground with a remarkable funerary sanctuary that is tall and round, but rather small inside.  There is only a dirt floor inside and it is roofless.  Jag remarked that it resembles the Towers of Silence used by the Parsis to dispose of their dead.  The graves themselves are not real; the original burials were desecrated soon after the mission was deserted.

 

Off to one side of the mission building was a lady named Guadalupe Gutierrez.

Interior of ruined mission church of Tumacacori
  She is an expert tortilla maker and she demonstrated how they are made.  All but Jag had one and, my oh my, were they ever delicious!  She made one really huge and thin tortilla.  She was really sweet, too, and happy to share her knowledge.  She spoke almost no English and, although Mexican by birth, appears to be purely Native American.

 

We went back northwards a short distance to the town of Tubac.  This very historic place has now become a center for artists and galleries of all kinds.  Nothing here is cheap, but many things are priced very fairly.  As I had mentioned a special love for Mexican Talavera and Mata Ortizpottery, my darling friends (who happen to have exquisite taste as former art dealers) took us to a shop with a humungous collection of both types of pottery at very good prices.

Tumacacori church seen from the Convento
  It was extremely difficult to choose a reasonable amount of items to purchase, but I selected a few pieces, plus small gifts for the kids in our family.  I hope they like our choices.

 

We went into one gallery featuring some wonderful paintings.  One in particular, caught my eye: it was a fairly large depiction of quail, done in a colorful and whimsical manner.  Jag was put off by the price, which was about $1,800!  I had no intentions of buying it, but I certainly wanted to.

 

We continued to a shop selling kitchen items.  As usual with many of the store owners in Tubac, Jim and Bill had made good friendships with several of them.  They are all very warm people.  This shop had the very clever name of “Tumacookery”,a play on words with the name of the historic mission we had just visited.

Guadalupe Gutierrez demonstrates tortilla making
  They carry a very good line of products and I purchased a lemon/lime juicer I needed.

 

Another stop for a milkshake for Bill at yet another friend’s shop, then we returned to Green Valley for some relaxation.  Jim spread seed out for the wild birds and I sat outside to photograph the peaceful scene.  A lovely cottontail rabbit came by, but I was unable to see the roadrunner I had seen in the morning.  I could easily live here.  Even Jag admitted that he could, too.

 

We went out for dinner at Agave Restaurant at the Desert Diamond Casino.  The casino complex is gorgeous, with a very large fountain at the entrance and trees covered with white lights adding to the enchanting scene.

Cottontail rabbit
  The restaurant is very beautiful and comfortable.  Tables have been spaced far enough apart to keep conversations private.  The food was excellent and service was perfect.  We really enjoyed the evening.  For that matter, this day was one of the great highlights of our trip.  Jim and Bill are perfect hosts.  They make their guests feel 100% at home - a great gift few people have.  We will try to return in April - these marvelous men are, like us, not getting any younger.

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Partially-rebuilt church at Tumaca…
Partially-rebuilt church at Tumac…
Jim Falls & Bill Jensen at Tumacac…
Jim Falls & Bill Jensen at Tumaca…
Interior of ruined mission church …
Interior of ruined mission church…
Tumacacori church seen from the Co…
Tumacacori church seen from the C…
Guadalupe Gutierrez demonstrates t…
Guadalupe Gutierrez demonstrates …
Cottontail rabbit
Cottontail rabbit
Prickly Pear cactus in Tumacacori …
Prickly Pear cactus in Tumacacori…
Roz, Bill & Jim speak with Park Se…
Roz, Bill & Jim speak with Park S…
Bill & Roz stroll to church at Tum…
Bill & Roz stroll to church at Tu…
Artists portrayal of probable alt…
Artist's portrayal of probable al…
Burial ground at Tumacacori
Burial ground at Tumacacori
Tumacacori church seen from inside…
Tumacacori church seen from insid…
Peaceful garaden at Tumacacori
Peaceful garaden at Tumacacori
Guadalupe Gutierrez prepares fresh…
Guadalupe Gutierrez prepares fres…
Butterfly and marigolds in Tumacor…
Butterfly and marigolds in Tumaco…
Afternoon light in the Jensen-Fall…
Afternoon light in the Jensen-Fal…
Quail and sparrow in natural area …
Quail and sparrow in natural area…
Hummingbird in the Jensen-Falls ga…
Hummingbird in the Jensen-Falls g…
Gambels quail
Gambel's quail
Friendly visitor to Bill and Jims…
Friendly visitor to Bill and Jim'…
Beautiful Gambels quail
Beautiful Gambel's quail
Little lizard in the garden
Little lizard in the garden
Leprechaun at the waterfall in Bil…
Leprechaun at the waterfall in Bi…
Green Valley
photo by: gentry591