I haven’t blogged because we have put all our energy into two areas: school and the sights in and around San Antonio.
I don’t know where to begin. We fell in love with San Antonio. We arrived at our campground in Schertz, TX, in the middle of the afternoon on Sunday, December 18. We set-up camp and headed right to the Alamo. I think I mentioned in one of the previous posts that we had just studied the Spanish Missions, The Alamo, and The Texas Revolution in U.S. History, so this was perfect timing. The Alamo and the grounds around it are beautiful and very interesting. An informative movie by the History Channel and various displays helped explain all that happened at this historic site. You couldn’t help but feel a great sadness for those brave men, women, and children, sense their desperation, but also admire their grit and courage.
In addition to studying these events in history, we had previously toured the Texas State Capitol. When I told Eva, our 10 year old, that we were going to the Alamo she asked, “What’s that?” I couldn’t believe it. How could she have missed it? I explained it all again as we drove to the Alamo. She didn’t seem too impressed but once we got there it was a different story. There’s a huge difference between studying history and seeing it for yourself. She asked a zillion questions and now is our resident expert on The Alamo.
After the Alamo, we headed for The River Walk. A long time ago someone told me that you have to visit The River Walk before you die. She was right. It was enchanting! We had perfect weather (it was still 60 degrees at 10pm) for walking and walking and walking up and down the corridors of the San Antonio River among some of the most beautiful and grand buildings we’ve ever seen. We loved all the flowers, palm trees and wildlife. I’m sure it’s beautiful any time of the year but it was amazing with all the Christmas decorations. There were lights everywhere. We very much enjoyed a boat tour of the river. Our guide was funny but also gave a lot of history of the area. He was born and raised (and married, and Christened, and raised his babies, etc.) in San Antonio and was very proud of that fact. We’re glad we took the tour because we would have missed a lot of things otherwise.
When we left Austin, the live music capital of the world, we were disappointed that we hadn’t heard any live music. San Antonio more than made up for it! There was hardly a moment when we didn’t hear everything from Mariachi, New Orleans Jazz, classical, country, street musicians with their open cases and even a panpipe group from Peru. Special boats sponsored by the Ford Motor Company carried musicians of all genres and types. Our two favorite were a sweet little group of Catholic School girls singing simple carols and of course, the local Suzuki Strings School! Jenna had just said to me that we needed to get a group from her own Suzuki school at The Michigan State University Community Music School to take a field trip to San Antonio to play for Christmas when we heard them. She still thinks MSU needs to be represented on The River Walk!
We ate at the Iron Cactus which had a great gluten-free menu. I will write more about this later in the Gluten Free Across American Section of this blog but let me say it was delicious. We sat at a table on the river bank so we were able to enjoy the music groups that were on the boats. We loved listening to the Mariachi Bands that walked through the restaurants. Barry, not knowing that you had to pay for their music, called a group over to play for us. I looked at him and mouthed, “You know you have to pay them, right?” I could tell by the look on his face that he didn’t. As they started to play, the violinist leaned over and said, “The first song is $10 and after that we work for tips.” All Barry had was a $20. What a tip they got!
As we walked back to our car late that evening, we passed by The Alamo at night. It was breathtaking. Not only is the mission itself lit up, but the trees around it were decorated for Christmas. Cinderella looking horse drawn carriages adorned with lights and poinsettias carried tourists up and down the street. We stopped to just take it all in.
I only wrote on our first day in San Antonio but this blog is getting too long so I will write more later about our time at the Missions, Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Site and another trip to The River Walk.
The Alamo: http://www.thealamo.org/
The San Antonio River Walk: http://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/