Tuesday, April 03, 2012
We took a two day break from the boat, rented a car, and delivered our departing crew to the Loreto bus station. After a fine breakfast in Loreto, we drove 23 miles straight up into the Sierra de la Giganta in order to visit the tiny town of San Javier. The road was remarkable – both the first fourteen miles, which have just been improved and paved, and the last nine, which are under construction. Paved or not, the road winds, climbs, curves, and descends over the rough mountains with third world enthusiasm. Grades that steep and turns so tight have pretty much been removed from the byways of the US and Canada.
San Javier is the location of a mission first established by the Spanish in 1699. The current church and mission building were built in the mid-18th century, and are beautifully preserved, and carefully tended by the locals. Because this is Semana Santa - the week between Palm Sunday and Easter - the church was alive with locals and visitors, nearly all Mexican. Large family groups were strolling in the tiny village, and lots of kids ran around, which gave the place a festive air.
San Javier is in a mountain valley where a small river flows; a dam just above the town delivers water to each property, and virtually all of the houses were surrounded by lush gardens. We were astonished and charmed to find this jewel of a settlement in the midst of the Baja mountains, and glad to have an opportunity to see something of the inland part of the Baja Peninsula.
To round out our break from boat travel, we drove back from San Javier to Loreto, and checked into the Inn at Loreto Bay, a hotel constructed within the last ten years in a beautiful location about ten miles south of Loreto. Our first priority was internet and cell phone coverage in order to to business. The fact that the hotel is beautifully designed and sited were just icing on the cake. Quite a contrast in architecture between the 18th century mission and the 21st century hotel!