Saturday, June 09, 2012

Mission Espada photographs

One of the deals you get when you buy a car from DriveTime is 3 free oil changes per year for 3 years at Sears Automotive.  So today I went in to get my free oil change, and had a nice morning nap in their waiting room for about an hour.  I had dragged my son along with me for company.  Fortunately they had their waiting room TV on some channel that showed a program about a grey whale that was rescued and rehabilitated by Sea World in San Diego and that kept him interested while we waited.  We had gone to the Sears at South Park Mall for the work, so it was just a quick trip from there to Mission San Francisco de la Espada.  I just wanted to drop by there for a few minutes for photography practice.  Most San Antonians probably already know about Mission Espada, but if you're not from around here you can read about it at the above link.


The chapel main entrance.  Sometimes, especially if you go there on a weekday, you can also go inside and look around, but today they had baptisms going on and we stayed outside.  This is still used by an active parish, as are all of the missions except for the Alamo.

It was not a good time of day to be there--around midday, so it made for some rather harsh lighting, but I wasn't going to schedule a special late afternoon trip to take pictures--at least not today.


Here's another shot of the chapel front in portrait.


Zoomed in on the bells.  It appears that the arch over the top bell was rebuilt from different materials (bricks instead of stones) at some later date.  One of the things I have noticed since I started taking lots of photos is that I notice many details in the photo that I missed when I was on site.  I've been to this place several times and I hadn't noticed the brick thing before.  Today the glare was pretty bad and I don't think I could have noticed it with my naked eyes anyway.


This was the photo I most wanted to capture and I took numerous shots of it.

A portrait of the front door.  This may sound strange, but I have always been kind of fascinated by large, heavy wooden doors and their immediate surroundings.  Yeah, now that I've actually typed it out loud, it does sound strange, but there it is.  If you click through and view the full size version on my Flickr site, you should be able to see lots of wood-grainy goodness.

There isn't much else to see here; this is the smallest of all the missions.  There are still some walls left of the various living quarters, but if I remember correctly, when this was built it was never completely finished as it was intended to be, so some of the ruins are of walls that were never really finished anyway.  I hope to revisit the other missions over time and post some photos of them as well.

Well, when we finished, I took the back road out that comes out on...Villamain!  I wanted to show my son the "haunted train tracks."  Now, as you already know if you read this blog, I have a meter route that crosses those tracks and goes a little way up Villamain and ends right where that road from Espada comes out, but it's usually about 8:30 on a weekday morning when I go through there, and I have never seen anyone doing the "track thing" when I was there.  Today was different.  As soon as I turned onto Villamain I could see a group of people standing at the crossing, with one other person parked in a minivan on the tracks.  They were doing the track thing.  My conversation with my son went something like the following.

(approaching the tracks)
Me:  You ever heard that story about the haunted tracks, where the ghost kids push your car off the track if you stop on them?
Son:  Yeah.
Me:  Well, this is it.  Those people there are trying to see if their car will roll off the tracks.
Son:  Why?
Me:  The kid ghosts are supposed to push your car off the tracks so you don't get hit by a train.
(we turned the corner and passed them; I saw the back of their minivan slathered with baby powder)
Me:  Look!  Look!  They even have baby powder all over the back of their car!
Son:  Why'd they do that?
Me:  You're supposed to be able to see the handprints of the kids in the powder after they push your car off the tracks.
Son:  [facepalm]

My son's expression when he facepalmed himself made the whole trip even more worthwhile.  Priceless.


  1. I think that's one of the missions we didn't see while in SA earlier this year. We went to the Alamo (of course!) after church, then had some time to kill before our next meet-up with my best friend, so we thought we head back to our hotel without looking at the map (bad idea), and ended up driving *all* the way around town, finally coming back across the south side and saw a sign for the Mission Trail, and managed to visit a couple of them before the parks closed. Then we drove back up Roosevelt into downtown (I'm sure *that* route wouldn't be in the Frommer's guide!)

    Baby powder on the back of a minivan? Yeah, like it's not gonna already have tons of kids' handprints all over the back, and front, and sides, and especially the windows!

  2. I love Espada. It's such a pain to find when you're just following the signs to get there, but it's never very crowded. Erik & I took Marie a few weekends back & she was able to run around in the courtyard & had a grand ol' time. Not exactly something you can do at the Alamo.

  3. It was actually very crowded that day, tourists everywhere, and also a Girl Scout troop. I had a hard time taking these photos because of people constantly walking into the frame.