3.30.2013

The Missions are Inspirational

No matter what religion or spiritual path you follow, you owe it to yourself to check out the missions in the Tucson area - they are simply inspirational! The rich culture and history they represent are pretty moving.

The first one we visited is the Mission San Xavier del Bac. The conception of this beautiful building began in 1692, and currently the restoration is in progress. This mission is also considered a working mission, as they still hold mass daily.

I know it is hard to advert your eyes from the handsome young man on your left - or the right, but if you look in the background you can see the fine detail the restoration crew has revived.

There was something there for everyone -a favorite of the little ones were the mission dogs, little red was our tour guide through the grounds.

The landscaping is native and very well kept. There is even a daily guided walk around the grounds, which I will definately plan to catch next time around.

Across the plaza from the mission, are a few artsy shops, and we stopped below this mural for a photo shoot with the kids. I thought it was very appropricate.

The whole gang for one final shot. I wish I would have gotten some pictures of the inside because it was amazing; however, I was so moved I forgot to take any. I guess you will have to see it for yourself.

Because we enjoyed San Xavier so much, the next day we headed down south to Tumacacori National Historical Park. Where we got a double bang for our buck - the mission, and the spice shop.

Tumacacori Mission is very different from San Xavier. This is not a working mission; it is a historical monument, and operated by the national park service. Mass is held here; however, only twice a year.

The inside of the mission is in disrepair after being used for years as a barn, and since the mission of the state parks is to preserve and protect - they are not restoring the mission to its original state.

The outside grounds are interesting. There is a self-guided tour path to follow, and we always like to get out and explore.

Lucky for us, we were there on a Saturday, and they had two demonstraters - a paper flower maker and tortilla maker, and both were very interesting to watch and talk with. We decided to sit in the open picinic area behind the ramada; where we ate the pupusas we brought from the Drexel Market earlier that morning. Yummy, yummy in our tummy.

I know it must seem like we are always eating - and most of the time we are. We usually set out in the morning for our adventure, and plan on eating lunch wherever we are. Then the little ones take a nap in the car on the ride home, or if it is a short ride in the bed when we get home. And before we know it the day has flown by.

However, before we left the area we headed over the street to this wonderful spice shop - Santa Cruz Chili and Spice Company. You can smell them before you ever get in the door. I bought plenty of spices but my favorite currently is the Bloody Mary Spice Mix, which I am going through much quicker than I anticipated - good thing they have an online shop :)

Cheers!

 

3.26.2013

Drexel Flea Market

One of our favorite things to do on Sat. or Sun. morning is to roam around the Drexel Flea/Farmers Market off Drexel and Mission in South Tucson. This place has everything!

The first place we usually hit is the little El Salvadorian restaurant/shanty. They have the most delightful Pupusas, slaw and sauce. Two of those babies, some coffee and we are ready to go shopping.

Then we wander the market looking for that special one of kind thing - this last time it was a hand made hat for Hanna, and I got some woven baskets.

Then we find one of the fruit stands and fill up with two fresh fruit cups, which have coconut, papya, cucumber, watermelon, cantalope, pineapple - really any fresh fruit you can imagine is wedged in this big clear solo cup. Then there is pepper sauce, salt, and other condements to top the fruit off. They are soooooo yummy!

Next is the dollar produce stand. I have been getting almost all my produce from this stand since we have been in Tucson, and it is all one dollar for a bread size bag of produce. The peppers and limes have been our favorite.

Finally we swing by the tortillias booth where we get a bakers dozen of whole wheat tortillias for two dollars. These are warm, fresh tortillias, which melt in your mouth. Plus we get a few sweets breads too.

So if you are in Tucson on a Sat. or Sun. morning - make sure you check out the Drexel market.

 

3.25.2013

Tucson

We are dry camping on BLM land, on the hill, in south Tucson. There are about a dozen other campers here - half a million dollar coaches parked next to pop-up tents and people sleeping in their cars. We fit right in.

 

The landscape in beautiful, and the kids love playing in the desert. We have creosote bushes in our front yard, and not many cactus, which is a pleasant surprise - one less thing I have to worry about with the twins and Ciara. If I say, "There are some pokeys, be careful". They all immediately look down at the ground to see where the cactus are. This part of the country is astonishingly diverse.

 

We are also about four miles from Desert Trails RV park, which is were my Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, and Aunt all spend the winter, so it is like a family reunion. It is always nice to be around people who "get" you, and give you grace without judging. Although, I must say that most RV'ers are very welcoming of our tribe, and give us and the kids lot of grace. There has only been one time, in the past five months, were I felt unwelcome in our camp area. RV'ers are a unique bunch of people - our kind of people.

 

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