Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Texas - San Antonio

San Antonio

We arrived at the Traveler's World RV Resort in San Antonio, TX on February 2, 2017 just a few hours before our daughter Katrina and son-in-law Steve flew in. This park is a snow bird destination. 
The sites are mostly back in, and pretty narrow and we had just enough room to park the car in front of the RV. There is a pool and hot-tub, along with a playground and pet park. They have two clubhouses for the many activities they hold, game nights, cards, dances, bingo, yoga, etc, along with pool tables, air hockey and darts. There are TV's in every building including the laundry room, which was very clean. 

The park is at an entry to the River Walk, which is where you could find Nancy and Mielikki every morning. 

A 5-mile walk or bike ride will take you downtown.

WiFi was good and Verizon signal was strong. We paid $39.43 a night with both Passport America and Good Sam discounts. Plus, an additional $6.00 a night for the nights Katrina and Steve were with us.
Having them visit for 5-days and exploring San Antonio together was so wonderful. We crammed a lot of things in, so sit back and enjoy their visit. 

First day out we caught the bus at the park and headed downtown. We wandered the River Walk before learning a little history. 
There was some 
excitement on the bus.
The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures which covers the cultural heritage of Texas was very interesting and well laid out. 

You are greeted by a large neon Texas flag as you enter. The exhibits start with the Native Americans and goes on from there. There was also a special exhibit of the Painted Churches of Texas  (here's a link to a youtube video). Jim Whitcomb used special photography to capture the beauty of the churches.

Both Les and Nancy's heritage, Irish and Swedish, were part of Texas history. 
There is a wooden "horse" that you can sit on for a Kodak moment. Getting a serious picture of these two is always a challenge. 

After leaving there we went in search of a coffee shop and ended up at the Filling Station for some craft beer instead. Funny how that happens to us. Cute little place that once was a Texaco station. Met some locals and had some great conversation.
Steve popped into the shot just as Nancy was taking a picture of the Filling Station. Love this crazy guy.

Finished off the day at Blue Star Brewing for dinner, their decor is bicycle chic. We had a birthday toast to Nancy's niece Sherrie. The last few years we have all been together for Sherrie and Steve's birthdays. 

While the weather was not the best we did get a few breaks in the rain to explore the Botanical Gardens and the Japanese Tea Garden.
You enter the Botanical Gardens through the Daniel Sullivan Carriage House which was built in 1896, it was moved stone by stone from it's original location downtown. It houses the gift shop and restaurant. The gardens cover 38-acres and include formal gardens,
Japanese Gardens
Japanese Gardens, a Water Saver Garden, a Texas Native Trail and more.

The Conservatory consists of four buildings, an exhibit room, Desert, Tropical and Palm displays. 

Cool Palm Bark

A little nectar - which
Steve had to taste 
The flowers and cactus were amazing, such brilliant colors and crazy shapes and sizes. 

A Michigan Cactus!

L: Old Man Cactus ~~ C: Cotton Cactus ~~ R: Feather Cactus

There is a large amphitheater with a life size chess board and giant Adirondack chairs and picnic table. 
There was a tube of bubbles on the picnic table, another of Nancy's favorites. 

They also have a children's community vegetable garden, which is a great idea. 
There are giant butterfly wings to pose at and a lending library filled with children's books. 

The sensory Garden for the Blind is brilliant. There are signs describing the plants and textured items to feel. 

Of course this time of year many of the outdoor gardens were not in bloom, but the ones that were certainly made up for it. 

The entrance to the Japanese Tea Garden was a perfect spot for a picture of Katrina and Steve. As you climb the steps you are unaware of the beauty that awaits you when you reach the stone pavilion. Each person, including all of us, gasped and oohed and awed in amazement.
You would never know this beautiful place started out as a rock quarry over 90 years ago. It is a free public park and open 365 days a year from dawn to dusk. The ramps make it handicap accessible.

The Jingu House Cafe offers a variety of teas, both hot and cold that you can enjoy while wandering the gardens as well as a full menu of food in their restaurant. They also have an exhaustive list of different types of Saki, which made us think of our niece Gina. 
The waterfall was a pleasant surprise, you get to it by strolling over beautiful stone bridges. 
Of course we all tried to find a way to the top of the falls, Steve made it a bit farther than the rest of us. We do think if we lived here this would be a regular place to visit. So peaceful and pretty. 

Before heading home for dinner we made a stop at the Ranger Creek Brewing and Distilling, where we enjoyed some very good
craft beer and some samples of whiskey that Steve was able to procure for us. 

We ran into a Patriots fan and Nancy asked if she could take his picture as he reminded her of her nephew Chuck and his crazy clothes. Turns out this guy is a lawyer as well - go figure. 

We may have worn Steve out a little, or maybe it was the whiskey and beer!

Picture from the internet
The San Antonio Art Museum was another stop, they offer free admission on Sunday mornings from 10 - noon. It is housed in the historic Lone Star Brewery complex. We thoroughly enjoyed the displays. 
Roof line from inside

Hop House

The Egyptian displays featured a number of sarcophagus carvings. They did know how to bury their loved ones. The chubby cupid is one of three holding a garland of fruit, flowers and leaves. This was a common motif used on marble coffins. 

In the Japanese display we found a wooden carving a Kung Yin, one of four great Bodhisattva's and a beautiful sand mandala. Usually, once these amazing pictures are done they are destroyed. We were able to watch one being created in Asheville, such talent. 

The Fernwood Figures (left picture) are from New Hebrides, Melanesia and are death masks. Carved figures and death masks were closely related to the deceased person and their life style. The Wild Pig basket (center pic) is from Papua, New Guinea, also created in the early 20th century. The eyes are cowry shell and the tusks are real. The wooden carvings (right picture) from New Britain, Melanesia are from the early 20th century and are made from balsa wood, vegetable fibers and shells. 

Modern art is one of Nancy's favorites, the freedom and expression is always intriguing. The wooden "table" was amazing. 

Once again we went in search of coffee and found ourselves drinking some craft beer. The Luxury is just across the river from the museum and what a find it was. Lots of outdoor seating including swings that overlook the river. The metal beams are lined with dinosaurs. 

San Antonio is well known for The Alamo, but there are four other missions as well. They were all built in the early to mid 1700's in an attempt to convert Native Americans to Christianity and settle the region under Spanish rule. The missions straddle either side of the river and are only about 3-miles apart from each other. All of the missions are open to the public and are free of charge. We spent a few hours wandering through all of them after a delicious breakfast at Halcyon Southtown
The first one we toured was the Mission San Francisco de la Espada (Mission Saint Francis of the Sword). 
It was established on March 5, 1731 and still maintains many of it's unique features. It's ongoing legacy lies in the blending of Spanish and American Indian cultures. It was the only mission where bricks and tiles were made. 

Many of the buildings were destroyed in a kitchen fire in 1826, the chapel survived and is still used today. Mostly the outer walls are just remnants of the rooms that once stood here. There are also a couple of unique trees on site. 
Next up was the Mission San Juan Capistrano. It was also established on March 5, 1731 after another mission failed and was moved to this location. Like Espada there is not much left here besides the church, which is also still in operation. This site included a granary, a large stone warehouse for storing food and textile shops. 

Construction of the existing church started in 1772. The exterior walls were covered in plaster in 1984 and major stabilization was done in 2012. 

Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo came to be known as the "Queen of the Missions" due to the ornate carvings and the Rose Window. It is one of the more well preserved. There were textile, carpentry and blacksmith shops on this site. Leaders of three Indian bands that wanted to live here were appointed governor, judge and sheriff of the community. The turrets at the gates had canyon holes and the exterior walls all had riffle holes in them. The walls of the church were painted in a beautiful design that can now only be seen in a few spots. 
No one knows why the side window is called "The Rose Window"(right picture). Some think it was dedicated to Saint Rose and on the feast day of Saint Rose the Eucharist was given out through this window. 

The main doorway is quite impressive. The detail of the carvings is amazing. The doors and gates throughout the mission are all very pretty.

The Grist Mill which is just outside the wall was built in 1794 and was operational until 1809. 
We all agreed that this was one of our favorites of all the missions. 

Mission Concepcion is one of the country's oldest original stone churches, enduring for 250 years. This mission had a number of farms and ranches that surrounded it. It also had it's own quarry which is where all the stone came from to build the church and other buildings. 

Like the other missions this church is still used today. During renovations in 2010 Frescoes were discovered in the nave and sanctuary. The art is a blend of Christian, Spanish and Native American elements. 
Once again the details were quite amazing. 

The Alamo was the last stop. Les and Nancy visited here in February of 2016. You can visit our blog post from that time and see lots of pictures, but here are couple from this day. 

Augie's BBQ and Steakhouse is where we celebrated Steve's birthday. The food was amazing and we all ate so much we were in food comas.

Les dropped the rest of us off at the Filling Station while he went home to let the dog out. After a refreshing craft beer and communication problems with Les due to his phone being on a path to a slow painful death, we walked to Southtown along the river to meet Les at the Stella Public House for a nightcap.

It was just getting dark so the lights of the city were coming on and the birds were settling in for the night. 

We spent a lot of time on the river walk. We walked all most all of the downtown area, rested our feet at a few of the watering holes, and popped in and out of the shops. The first morning was chilly, even the northerner's were cold. We kept stopping at all the heaters and while enjoying the outdoor seating you could wrap up in a cozy blanket. There are a number of bridges that allow you to cross from one side of the river to the other. 

The river is lined with statues and waterfalls and numerous ducks and birds make their home here. 

There is an outdoor theater with the seating on one side and the stage on the other side of the river. Would love to see a performance here. 

We took a boat tour of the river which was fun and informative. It is interesting seeing all the buildings from the river level and floating under the bridges. 
The Red Power Ranger was taking a stroll down the river. The Captain thought that was pretty cool. 

After the tour we shared some of our snacks with the ducks, or at least Steve did but they didn't get any of our beverages or ice cream. 

On our final day together we had another delicious breakfast at Halcyon Southtown, along with Barrett's coffee!!
Then hit the river again before heading to the airport. We checked out all the shops and galleries in the Historic Art District of LaVillita. 

Once again Nancy gave Steve free reign of her camera. He captured every moment of Nancy and Katrina getting ready for the shot. It is rather funny how similar their actions are.
 In the end we did get a nice one.

This squirrel was a hoot.

Nancy got as many pictures as she could of Katrina and Steve, even got Les into one of them. 

And then they were off to the airport.Yes, there were tears. So hate good-byes but so very grateful for the time we had together. 

Next stop Waco

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way
~ Preparing for guests
As you all know we live in pretty small quarters, about 400-sq. feet, which for the three of us works pretty well. We bump into each other or trip over the dog now and then but all in all we have grown quite accustom to our small space. Add some extra people and things can change. With Katrina and Steve spending 5 nights with us we came up with ways to make their stay more comfortable. 
One of the things we did was create a little privacy for them and us. Using the curtain rod that is used to hang laundry to dry (tip from June 2015 ) we purchased a single panel drape and it hangs at the end of the hall so the bathroom and bedroom can be a little more private. 
The drape pushes aside and out of the way when not in use. With the help of a 3M Command hook (we use these a lot) we can tie it back so it won't slid out.
The original plan was to use it just while we have visitors but we have discovered that it keeps the bedroom a little darker which is helpful for Nancy as she is sensitive to light while sleeping. 

No comments:

Post a Comment