Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Good Friends & San Antonio

Roy and I recently got together in Johnson City with our good friends from the years we lived in Idaho. It's been 22 years since we've been together, but the ease of our interaction was as if time hadn't separated us at all. During their visit, we decided to check-out the sights in San Antonio.

Here is a glimpse of downtown San Antonio. The downtown area is relatively small, clean, and easy to manuever. The wall on the left side of the picture is the barrier wall for Fortress Alamo. Ample parking was available close by.

Here are our friends, Carole and Nate, in front of the Alamo, with their dog, Bella. We found that dogs aren't welcome inside the building even if carried. A nice self guided tour through the mission building and grounds only takes about a half hour, so we took turns going in. Admission to the Alamo is free. There are numbered points of interest in the buildings, with signs giving historic information. You can rent a handset to hold to your ear for $6.00 that takes you to the points of interest, also. Carole and I rented the handsets, but felt we didn't get a lot of worthwhile information. Pictures aren't allowed inside.

Here are a few bits of information I learned about the Alamo from our visit. The Alamo mission was called Mission San Antonio de Valero. The original mission consisted of just four walls without a roof. There originally were no interior rooms. The arched doorways are Spanish architecture. When the military occupied it, they added four small interior rooms with rectangular doorways. They also added a roof. During the Texas Revolution (1835-1836) the Alamo was mostly destroyed, and so much of what you see now is a reconstruction.

Across the street from the Alamo is the entrance to the famous San Antonio Riverwalk. I learned from an informational sign in the center of this area that the southwest corner of the rock wall surrounding the fort was located here. The walls made-up the exterior of long barracks and artillary towers. This corner of the wall is significant in that it is the location where the Mexicans scaled the wall to overtake the fort. With the information gained from our visit to the fort and a little bit of Internet research afterward, I had enough of a working understanding to really enjoy the 1960 John Wayne movie called, The Alamo. We happened across the movie on a television program called, "An Officer and a Movie". The program is on the Military channel, and consists of a present day General giving perspective on events depicted in war movies. I really enjoyed the addition of the General's commentary. It seems like our retirement activities are heightening our interest in history.

This is the walkway that goes through the lower level of the Hyatt building to the main riverwalk.

This is the downtown portion of the riverwalk. I'd advise you to come hungry, as there are lots of places to eat. We didn't take a river ride, but I later found out that it's only $8.50 for a 30-40 minute narrated ride. There is a Senior discount lowering the cost to $6.00. There is also a reasonably priced one hour narrated trolley ride to points of interest in San Antonio. The trolley ticket can be purchased as a day pass that allows passengers to hop on and off the trolley throughout the day. We'll definitely be back.

A great day was had by all, except for having to say our goodbyes.