San Antonio Stories and Tips

Deep in the Heart of Texas

Traditional Transport Photo,

We left our Inn at 8:30am and returned at 10:30pm. Tired slightly inebriated and in love with this city.
We started our walk along the river beside our Inn, a tree-shaded area alive with joggers and walkers. We soon discovered the waterfall that lulled us last night was a weir that was around three feet in height, later we discovered quite a few along the waterway. The stairway to street level was just beyond the weir and so we exited and turned right toward Hemisphere Park. Two large pillars supported an arched decorative iron scroll boasting the parks name. Beyond the entrance we could see the Tower of the Americas symbol of San Antonio’s 1968 worlds fair and the cities two hundred and fiftieth birthday, inside the grounds are fountains, picnic areas and various buildings. The tower dominates the park, unfortunately it was closed for renovations and we were too early to visit the Texas Institute of history. The park area is vast and a popular site for festivals.

Turning left as we exit the park we pass high-rise hotels and the River view mall. We return to the mall later by boat. Passing by the Menger Hotel we note a plaque outside telling of Theodore Roosevelt’s connection we return later. (See entry on Menger.)

The Alamo. Despite the early hour masses of tourists thronged the Alamo plaza and queues were forming outside the chapel shrine. We turned left through the entry to the courtyard and entered the long Barracks. After watching a very moving film on the battle we explored the museum. The museum was filled with artifacts from the mission era, mock ups of the mission and custodians are on hand to answer all questions. Guides in the cavalry court give outdoor talks. Guides also give information on the collection of cannons, one proud father was taking a photo of his young son balancing on a huge cannon as a guide walked by he nonchalantly remarked "Lot of history there son that’s the 18 pounder that was actually used." The Alamo gardens are worth a visit in their own right. The Daughters Of The Republic offer a self-guided walking tour brochure; pick up a brochure in the gift shop, it certainly helps clarify names and history of the gardens contents.

We waited in line to see the interior of the chapel / shrine but I was disappointed at the noise and lack of respect shown inside. Notices requesting silence pointed out this was a shrine and battlefield but the request was completely ignored. Inside flags and mementos are on display but we didn’t see everything the noise was too much for me. Outside the chapel loudspeakers touting business for the wax works and Ripley’s (directly facing the shrine) seemed out of place, why on earth would such businesses be allowed to locate so close to the shrine.

Following lunch at O Briens we took a river cruise and it was well worth the money. There were around 25 people in the boat, and quite a few children. Our tour guide was a young student with a wicked sense of humour and very informative. The narrated cruise took us past places we might have missed walking and it was very relaxing. I was extremely impressed with the river walk, our tour guide pointed out that the river flowing through the city a slow stream no deeper than a swimming pool ends up in the gulf of Mexico150 miles away to the southeast.

Our tour ended at the Riverview mall where we alighted and listened to a very good Mariachi trio. We didn’t explore the mall but it was very modern with a Dillard’s and Foley’s and many upscale specialty shops on the ground floor. Neil needed a battery for his watch and there were lots of jewelers to choose from.

Down the street from Alamo Plaza on Houston is the Buckhorn Saloon a San Antonio landmark of sorts. Established in 1881 its museum features wildlife exhibits from all over the world. There are three floors and the building houses a café, curio store and saloon bar. (See entry.) I will say the Margaritas are very good and generous.

During that day we visited some of the older sections of town some of its churches, then rested and recuperated along the shady areas of the river. We had a lovely day and it certainly whet our appetite for a longer stay.

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