Wednesday, January 17, 2018

San Antonio Day Trip

We did a day trip from San Marcos to San Antonio with 2 places on our "go-to list". The Alamo and the Riverwalk.

And yes, we know there's more to see and do in San Antonio than that, but we did only have a short time there as we wanted to get back to San Marcos before nightfall. But we are already planning on returning to the Hill Country sometime in the future.

(There are more photos at the end of this blog post)

Classic view of The Alamo in San Antonio Texas

The Alamo

“Remember the Alamo” becomes more than a phrase from a dusty history book when you walk on the ground that was hallowed by the blood of so many that gave their life as Texas fought from freedom from Mexico.

Some names are familiar, like Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie. Others are more obscure, and some are completely unknown.

They held out against General Santa Ana and 6000 soldiers for 12 days in March of 1836. Santa Ana showed no mercy once victory was secured for the Mexican Army, though he did leave women, children and one servant alive to tell the story. The rag-tag group of defenders at the Alamo were only 200 men against an army of 6000. Before the Alamo fell, Santa Ana's forces lost 600 men. The final battle lasted about 90 minutes.

“Remember the Alamo” (and “Remember Goliad) became the rallying cry for the Texians, and the final Battle at San Jacinto won Texas independence from Mexico.

Man dressed in frontiersman style as an Alamo DefenderWalking around the grounds, you can see and fell the history, a feeling helped by several people in period dress. It's hard to put into words some of what you feel when there. But standing in the Long Barracks and hearing someone say "Remember the Alamo", you feel something.

We spent a few hours here, and did not see it all. (Tho we did come close) We did take time to watch one of the video presentations, which gave a lot of information in about 15 minutes. I recommend you take time to do that. It gives a good history of the Alamo though modern times.

300 years ago it was a church named San Antonio de Valera and served the area for over 70 years. The mission was later closed by Spanish government apparently due to population decline. The old mission grounds later became a military base and got it's now famous name form the Mexican Light Cavalry unit stationed there. The region of Mexico they came from, and the area around the Alamo had something in common. Cottonwood Trees. Alamo means cottonwood (according to one of the volunteers we chatted with)

After Texas independence was won, and the state later joined the nation, the U.S. Army used the Alamo as a supply depot until 1877 and in 1883 the State of Texas purchased the church building as a memorial to the Alamo Defenders.

And that's just the tip of the Alamo's history...

When we first arrived, we were surprised by a couple of things…

The Alamo is located right in the heart of San Antonio and is just a few blocks from the Riverwalk. We sort of thought it would be in a “park-like” setting surrounded by open space instead of city streets and buildings.

And this is a Texas Historic Site operated by the Texas General Land Office. It’s not part of the National Park System.

Being in the heart of town as it is, there is no official Alamo parking lot. Here’s a tip: If you go just a few blocks away, you’ll find the Hospitality Parking lot off of E street at the Presbyterian Church. $5 all day (There’s an “Early Bird lot” at Houston and Bowie streets, but you have to get in before 10 AM. No other rates were posted and the toll-free number was no help at all.)

To learn more about the Alamo, visit www.TheAlamo.org

view of riverwalk including stone footbridge and people walking on sidewalk

The Riverwalk

I'll be honest...we did not do the Riverwalk justice at all. We were pretty wore out after spending a few hours walking all over the Alamo and finally the few blocks down to the river.

O.K., I guess we didn't plan that one quite right. We walked a few blocks of it...and loved it. What an oasis in the heart of a city! And it has quite a European feel to it. It's on our go back to list for the next time we're in the area. And that time we'll be prepared. We already want to take the boat tour of what we found out is over 2 miles of waterway and maybe splurge and dine alongside it in one of the many restaurants.

We took the short walk from the Alamo to the San Antonio Visitor Center, and then down the steps and through the lobby of the Hilton to the river. After we walked a little ways, we found a spot to just sit and watch for a bit.

Like I said, it is a wonderful oasis in the middle of a major city and we look forward to getting back.

Here's where you can learn more: www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com

view through a Jeep windshield of road with old bridge
Love taking the back roads whenever we can.
Almost made it all the way to San Antonio that way!

2 older buildings in by the Alamo
Federal Building and the Emily Morgan Hotel on the left,
Alamo wall can be seen on the right

vintage newspaper office building
I just thought the San Antonio Express News building was neat.
The parking lot we used was just a block or so past it on the right.


large white memorial marker or statue
Memorial to the Alamo Defenders

Man in period costume as an Alamo defender
Never knew when you'd spot someone in costume

gray bird
Spotted this little one under some bushes


grey bird with seed in its beak
Obviously it felt we weren't a threat!

looking up through the branches of a large live oak tree
A live oak

tall hotel building
Right outside the Alamo walls...
Wonder how Davy feels about it?


Large cactus garden with a palm tree
A garden on the grounds of the Alamo

several large koi fish in water
The original mission irrigation ditch was later lined with
concrete and is now a koi pond

January 10 and some flowers were still in bloom

original well of the Alamo under a tree
The misson's well

walkway to the Alamo well under a large live oak tree
Huge live oak overshadows the old well

Man in period clothing as an Alamo defender
Another Alamo Defender

Man in period American Frontier clothing at the Alamo
Alamo Defender

He talked us into posing with him. Yes, he is that tall! He also
explained there were no uniforms for the Texians, it was a
"Come as you are" war.

manmade waterfall
On the way to the Riverwalk



2 ducks swimming
Rivers mean ducks, right?



view along the riverwalk towards a bridge
Our first view of the Riverwalk

several pigeons eating lunch leftovers on an outdoor cafe table
Free lunch anyone? I think that duck wants a piece of the action


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