This is the same building 115 years later, can you see the courtyard? That's where Dad & I sat & had our lunch next to the center fountain, while a couple of little, hot sparrows braved the crowd & took a leisurely bath. Watching these little birds that have been visiting the Mission every summer for centuries is such a joy, they always make me smile.
The Cliff Swallow is a migratory bird that spends its winters in Goya, Argentina, but makes the 6,000 mile trek north to our warmer climate in springtime. According to legend, the birds first took refuge at the Mission after an irate innkeeper began destroying their mud nests. The Mission's location near two rivers made it an ideal location for the swallows to nest, as there was a constant supply of the insects on which they feed, and the young birds were well-protected inside the ruins of the old stone church.
So friends, if you ever get a chance to visit beautiful Mission San Juan Capistrano, don't forget to go to the depot & wander over to the other side of the tracks. History & serenity await you there, along with the soft mellow sound of Mission bells. A day to remember for us both I think!