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A Visit to Mission Santa Inés Almost Caused My Husband's Life

Travelblog Gone with the Wine

Travelblog and lifestyleblog. Life under the Californian sun - Gone with the Wine. Trips, food and wine from all over the world. Solo and family adventures.

A Visit to Mission Santa Inés Almost Caused My Husband's Life

Paula Gaston

I have been writing about missions in California before, so I at least have to say something about this one too. On our Christmas trip we visited Mission Santa Inés in Solvang. Solvang is that Danish style town that we stopped for a night on our way home when all the other options came crashing down. 



Earlier I have written about the mission like this: "Missions were established between 1769 and 1833 on El Camino Real, which now partly follows highway 101. They have a long history and they have been important for the development of California. The missionaries were catholic priests or Fransiscans, and they brought something to California other than just their religion: they brought a piece of their culture. Californians learned to eat European fruits and foods, herd some cattle and horses and grow wine. Over the years, some of the missions have been destroyed or they have been used for something else. Now many of them get their income from tourism, and the catholic church still uses some of them for services and as museums. Most of them have been restored from different kinds of damage, but some still have pieces of the original buildings."

Mission Santa Inés is the 19th of the 21 missions in California. It was established by the Franciscan Estévan Tapis, and it was opened in 1804. In the beginning, the missions were teaching Christianity to the American Indians, and in this case it was the Chumash Indians. The Franciscans José Calzada and Romualdo Gutiérrez were running the Mission Santa Inés, and they were buried under the church altar which is part of the mission.


We visited the mission at the first thing in the morning. Since it was Saturday, there were mostly only tourist at the site, but when visiting a mission on Sundays you should check the schedule of the mass, unless you really want to participate in it. Now the church was empty and beautifully decorated for Christmas time. 

Every mission I have visited has had a little museum and a souvenir shop where you begin your tour. There is usually also a garden and an old cemetery. The ones at Mission Santa Inés were not very big, but there was a pretty view from the cemetery to the bell wall. The bells have always been an important part of life at the mission, and sort of a symbol for them. The original bell wall of Mission Santa Inés was destroyed in an earthquake in 1812. The second one was melted by the heavy rains in 1911. Today, the bell wall has four bells and the oldest of them dates back to 1804. 

In case you are interested in the missions, you should also read about my visits to Mission San Miguel and Mission San Diego de Alcalá.



After touring the mission we were planning to visit Michael Jackson's Neverland, and then to drive home. In order to minimize the stops on our drive, I decided to nurse the baby before leaving. So I headed to our car while my husband and our older daughter wanted to check a couple more buildings at the end of the parking lot. 

When I was almost finished feeding the baby my seemingly upset hubby and confused looking little girl walked over. They had been crossing the parking lot when some older man had almost ran them over and even been honking at them. My husband had had to jump backwards pulling our daughter to a side as well. Being very upset at what happened, he had walked over to were the old man parked his car and knocked on his window. But this man wouldn't have it, instead of apologizing, he started calling my husband some nasty names.

Where we live at, we are used to cars usually slowing down and giving some room for the pedestrians, and especially when there are kids present. So I totally get it that my husband was furious. However, you never know what people might carry in their cars, so you should be very careful approaching them. It would always be better to stay cool and walk away. Or call the police. But when we thought of that, he had already left and we didn't have his licence plate number.

I have to also mention, that the same morning, we almost got hit by another car in downtown Solvang. An older lady decided to run the red light in a turn, and even drive in the wrong lane. She did not only scare us, but a few other pedestrians too, who were about to cross the street on a green light. Even though we did get nice and friendly service in Solvang, something tells me that the locals there might be a little tired of tourists.