Traveling the El Camino Real

Captain’s Log   5,972

We tried to book a hotel in Laguna Beach.  No dice.  Then we finally realized why.  It’s a three-day weekend for a lot of people.  All beach hotels have probably been booked for months.

So….we chose San Juan Capistrano instead.  It’s still close to the beach.  The rooms are about half the price too.  I am actually excited to do stay in the small village.  It will be far less crowded.  We plan to spend all of Sunday in Laguna Beach so we will still get lots of time by the ocean.


The reason most people go to San Juan Capistrano is the mission.  And the swallows.  We won’t see them because they traditionally arrive on March 19th.  The mission was founded in 1776.  It’s got some history.

I also like traveling the El Camino Real.  That was the route the missionaries walked as they made their way up the coast.  The route is traditionally marked with bells along the route.  Just down the hill from my house, their is a lone bell marking the way on Friar’s Road which is the path to the very first mission in California, San Diego de Alcala.  That one was founded in 1769.  I know the history books say those missions are a day’s walk apart, but I really don’t think those friars could walk that far every day.  Especially since they were so busy decimating the native people and their lands and culture.  Ooops!   Did I just get on that soapbox again?

Anyway…..  I do love the bells that mark the way.

el camino real

el camino real 4

el camino real 3

Guiding the path for a very long time


Filed under Captain Poolie's observations

13 responses to “Traveling the El Camino Real

  1. poundheadhere

    I hope you had an awesome time 🙂

  2. susanna

    I helped my granddaughter write a history of the local missions and the bit about the missionaries demanding the Indians work for the missions or be killed is just terrible. There went a culture. Patty O had some amazing facts. Love the pictures.

  3. Those places sound so picturesque. I’m sure you will have many lovely moments…and maybe some geo-caching too?

  4. Patty O"

    You are right; the Padres couldn’t walk that fast. It was a day’s HORSE ride. So San Diego de Alcala was a days ride from #2, which is San Luis Rey in Oceanside. Did you know San Luis Rey was St. Louis, King of France in the 11th Century? He was extremely pious and bookish and was never meant to be king. But his elder brother died while on a wild boar hunt along the River Seine when his horse slipped in the mud and fell on the Prince, squashing him flat, so the monks got the job. And San Juan Capistrano was an Austrian monk who was a warrior who led mountain people in their battle to save their land from the Turks. Our Mission system can lead you to all kinds of interesting history.

  5. bholles

    You will have fun.

  6. Penny Tushingham

    Hope you guys have a blast!

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