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Jun 17, 2013

Texas 2013 - San Antonio

When we were in Texas last week we took a day trip to San Antonio. We didn't get to spend as much time there as I would have liked, but I fell in love with what I saw. I would move to San Antonio in a heartbeat, given the chance.

We started out downtown at the Riverwalk. What a beautiful area!

Riverwalk - San Antonio

The old buildings, the huge trees, flowers everywhere...just amazing. Every restaurant has an outdoor patio with wrought iron furniture and brightly coloured umbrellas. It was hard to take it all in.

Riverwalk - San Antonio

Riverwalk - San Antonio

We walked around a bit and then had lunch at a mexican restaurant. The lady sitting next to us befriended this duck and was sneaking it tortilla chips. I swear it was going to crawl up in her lap, it was so friendly.

Riverwalk - San Antonio

After lunch, Tom had to meet a friend so we headed north of downtown. While he talked to his friend I sat in the car and looked up real estate listings, pretending I was moving there.

We really wanted to see the missions before it got dark but we didn't have time to see them all, so we chose Mission Espada for the aquaduct, Mission San José for the church, and the Alamo because, well, you have to see the Alamo, right? As Canadians, southern US history is just a story for us, but we wanted to learn as much as we could.

We were the only ones at Mission Espada. It was so quiet, we felt like we should tiptoe around.

Mission Espada - San Antonio

Mission Espada - San Antonio

The chapel is so lovely, and the nuns who live on the grounds keep the courtyard outside their quarters full of flowers and trees.

Mission Espada - San Antonio

Mission Espada - San Antonio

We took a quick trip to the aquaduct but the area was closing so I didn't get any good pictures. The irrigation system is made up of gravity-flow ditches, dams, and an aquaduct to distribute water to 3,500 acres of land.

We then moved on to Mission San José. Luckily, it is open a half hour longer than Espada. San José is much bigger, and has had more restoration work done.

Mission San José - San Antonio

Mission San José - San Antonio

There is a water-powered mill on the grounds, believed to be the oldest mill in Texas. We were lucky enough to see it working just before they shut the water gate for the day.

Mission San José - San Antonio

Mission San José - San Antonio

Mission San José - San Antonio

We heard that the Alamo was open for another half hour (did we plan our path well or what?) so we hurried back to downtown. We only had about 10 minutes so we didn't get to see very much. In fact, Tom didn't even get to go inside the mission. He dropped me off so I could take pictures and went to find a parking spot. There were so many people around that it was hard to get unobstructed shots.

The Alamo - San Antonio

The Alamo - San Antonio

The Alamo - San Antonio

I didn't get a chance to explore, so I had to settle for taking pictures of the plaques and reading them later.

The Alamo - San Antonio

The Alamo - San Antonio
(click photo to enlarge)

We wandered back along the Riverwalk and headed over to the King William historic district. It turned out to be quite a hike for two people who hadn't eaten since noon. This neighbourhood used to be part of the Alamo land, was sold off, became a fashionable area for German immigrants, fell out of favour, and has since been restored. It is quite a large area, but since my stomach was rumbling we only wandered a few of the streets.

The houses on those streets though! Huge mansions on even larger properties. Some of the houses have walking tours throughout the day.

King William Historical District - San Antonio

King William Historical District - San Antonio

King William Historical District - San Antonio

Even the garages/carriage houses are worth a second look.

King William Historical District - San Antonio

I also took pictures of a couple of the outdoor patios. We don't have outdoor areas you can use year-round in Ontario, so to see them is always a novelty.

King William Historical District - San Antonio

This one was on the second floor, linking the main house to the guest house.

King William Historical District - San Antonio

We headed back to the Riverwalk again and stopped for BBQ. I ordered beef ribs - wow they are huge! There were tons of fish in the river, begging for bread scraps. This one came up to say hello. He looks a bit grumpy, doesn't he? Maybe because the bread was so good I wouldn't share.

Riverwalk - San Antonio

I had heard about a mexican bakery that was open 24 hours, so I dragged Tom around the streets looking for it. I knew approximately where it was, but we still ended up walking a couple of miles and found it almost by accident.


The area was still really busy, even for being nearly 10 o'clock at night. We were pretty beat by then, and we still had a long drive back to Houston, so we started the trek back to the car. We ended up walking past the Alamo again so I got another shot of the chapel, this time all lit up.

The Alamo - San Antonio

We had such a great time that we are determined to come back, for longer next time. I want to stay in this hotel with a room overlooking the water.

Riverwalk - San Antonio

Do you live in San Antonio? Do you go downtown very often? I'm guessing the locals avoid the crowds, but I don't know if I'd be able to tear myself away.



4 comments:

Barb said...

I was fortunate enough to be able to visit San Antonio last year when I traveled to Texas for my son's Air Force basic training graduation. I fell in love with the Riverwalk area! So amazing, almost like being in a different world! I, too, want to go back for a longer visit and that hotel you showed looks like the perfect place to stay!
~Donna

Barb said...

I"ve wanted to go to San Antonio ever since I heard about the river walk. Thanks for taking us along on your tour of the city - it looks gorgeous. Love those houses and all the old stone buildings in the missions.

Barb said...

You should go! I never imagined I would ever go to Texas (it's so far from Ontario), but now I'm in love with the place.

Barb said...

I can't stop telling people about it!