San Juan Bautista - St John the Baptist in Spanish - is a favorite place of mine to stop when heading south from the San Francisco Bay area. It's near US 101 - a main highway - south of San Jose, which grew up around another mission church. San Juan Bautista is a modest town with some shops and restaurants that is not particularly touristy. I would have said that there were more shops than the last time I was there. The mission church seems particularly authentic. It has been a parish church in continuous use since it was founded, in spite of at one time the attempt of the Mexican government to securlarize all of the missions. The church is on one side of what the Spanish would call a plaza. A number of older buildings around the plaza are now a California Historic Park.
I visited a couple of days after Christmas. The holiday decorations were still up, including these wreaths on an old wooden door to the nave of the mission church.
view of the Mission Church complex from across the plaza
You can walk the length of an arcade to reach the church. This example is more primitive, but I have seen similar arcades in the south of France. They are typical of many villages there. This simple Spanish example comes from a closely- related traditon.
I am always fascinated by a venerable cactus.
This one is on one side of what in a European monastery would be the central cloister.