Monday, February 6, 2012

Downtown San Antonio

On our way to the Lackland AFB campground, where we chose to stay while in San Antonio, we drove almost all the way around the city.  What a beautiful skyline!  So we were a little nervous about entering downtown with our big truck.  But we headed out and figured, we had out of state plates on the truck, so we could get away with wrong lanes, quick turns, etc.

The first sight we had of the downtown area was this:

It's called the Torch of Friendship and was given to San Antonio by the Mexican Consulate as a sign of friendship and to represent the roots many Texans share with Mexico.  The contemporary steel sculpture was made in Mexico and shipped to San Antonio in six pieces. It stands 65 feet tall and weighs 50 tons.  It was commissioned to commemorate the relationship between the United States and Mexico and the two countries' increasing commercial ties.

We were looking for the visitor center, but missed it on the way in.  The first parking lot we tried didn't have any spots that were big enough to park the truck in.  So we tried a little farther away from the main street and finally found a place about 5 blocks away.

As soon as we got out of the car, we had a view of this really neat building, one of many, many in downtown.
Casino Club building

On the way to the Alamo, we had to walk through Travis Park.  A nice spot of green right in downtown San Antonio.  And Sid was so excited to find the cannon!
Travis Park

Statue honoring those who fell at the Alamo

Sid and his cannon!

Next we came upon the Buckhorn Saloon.  It was too early for lunch, but after seeing the outside of the building
Front of the Buckhorn saloon

One side of the Buckhorn saloon

we just had to go in and have a look.  Very interesting place!

All kinds of animals....

...and all kinds of mounts

Antlers used as lighting filter

Stuffed skunk

This Irish Elk looks to be a made up creation, but is actually a real animal!

Sid and the Irish Elk

And, of course, the Jackalopes are real. :)

When we were finished gawking there, we went on to see the Alamo.  I know you've seen this perspective -

Front of Alamo

But here are some pictures that you maybe haven't seen:

Building where women and children hid

Back of building now used as research library



Reenactor in character

Carved wooden watering trough
Flowers in February

Papaya growing at the Alamo

200 yr old live oak inside the Alamo

You could just feel the history in this whole area. There was a LOT to read and look at and it was all very well done.  It took us a couple of hours to go through the place and could have spent much longer.

The River walk was next on the agenda, even though we were already tired of walking!  It was definitely worth it.  It turned out to be the warmest day we had in San Antonio.
View of the river walk

Fountain on the river walk

Ducks on the river walk

It was much closer (as in crowded) than I expected with all the buildings very close and restaurant and retail on two stories all along, but all the trees were wrapped in tiny white lights, so I imagine it looks like a fairyland at night!  Lots of people, included some very interesting ones...

Fun people watching!

There was any kind of food you could want at restaurant after restaurant, so it was hard to decide where to have lunch.  You could pick from restaurants with blankies in case you were a bit chilly...

Or restaurants with Mariachi bands...

But, of course, I wanted something a little different....

The food (Mexican) turned out to be really awful, but we sat and shared our lunch and had a bit of a rest.

Sharing our lunch

Feet hurting, butts dragging, we decided to head back to the truck and continue our tour by riding.  But on the way we able to see some of the historic theaters.  As far as I could tell, they are all still in use!

Majestic theater

Majestic box office

The Empire

The Aztec

Back in the truck, we drove through the King William Historic district, a 25-block area near downtown on the south bank of the San Antonio River. In the late 1800's the King William District was the most elegant residential area in the city. Prominent German merchants originally settled the area. It was zoned as the state's first historic district, and has once again become a fashionable neighborhood.  There was block after block of absolutely stunning houses.  A few examples -

That was it for the day.  We were exhausted, so headed back to camp and to BED!

Whew, I think it took almost as long to write this post as it did to see all these things.  There's much more coming, but I'll leave that for another day and another post.

Hope you enjoyed!

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