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Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

San Antonio, Texas – A Photo Diary (and a few words too)

In Uncategorized, USA on February 13, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Hazy and hopeful with a pinch of spice, San Antonio, Texas is a great weekend destination. With a thriving arts scene and a strong historical tradition, there are a number of things to see and enjoy (many for free). Whether you’re all about great food, Mexican culture, the rodeo, romantic walks along moonlit canals, or super-sized malls, San Antonio has got it all.

The San Antonio Riverwalk. The water is brown because it is actually (in this part) an actual nature made river with a mud bottom.

The San Antonio Riverwalk is one of the city’s proud main attractions. A portion of the Riverwalk surrounds an actual river with a mud bottom, hence, the murky brown water. Three feet deep in this section, there are apparently snakes and fish lurking below. Further down the Riverwalk, there is a damn with a drop-off, a man-made river continues from here.

I know the water looks dirty, but apparently it is really clean. Locals say you can see fish  in the water when the sun is shinning. I don’t know if I buy in to that one? One really cool thing about the water though, is that people are allowed to bring out their canoes and paddle boats for a nice afternoon ride.

San Antonio was so clearly laid out. A pedestrian friendly city, everywhere we went, there were signs directing us to main attractions. Finally, a city I can navigate easily. I have a notoriously poor sense of direction, but I didn’t get lost here.

I found myself outside the home of the old Spanish Governer. I can only assume that this is a statue of the man himself.

                                                                  Here he is again. What a handsome and dapper gentleman.

                                                 Speaking of handsome and dapper, here are my two men taking in the sights.

There is so much colonial history in San Antonio. Its a city seeped deeply in history in general. So many things happened here. So many characters of ole’ floated through this town, from Davey Crockett, to O. Henry – who knew? Texas, to this New Yorker, is as exotic as any foreign country.

                                                             Everywhere we turned, there were historical landmark plaques.

There was a remarkable variety in the architecture. Some buildings looked Old Hollywood, while others were Spanish and French colonial. Then there were small cottages left over from the early German settlers. It was all very interesting to take in.

                                                                                            More historical landmarks…

You are looking at the side of the O. Henry House Museum. That’s right, the writer himself once lived in San Antonio.

Now we’re looking at the front of O. Henry’s house. I didn’t take pictures inside out of respect for the museum, but it has been left as it was. To the right there is a small bed and towards the back there is a kitchen and writing desk. So quaint, so cute- O. Henry!

                                        The trolleys were a great touch. I counted two service lines, there may have been more.

I loved this part of town. Historic Market Square in La Villita, was very Mexican and very artsy. The streets were festive and full of restaurants, shops, a farmer’s market, a museum and an artisans bazaar. This is the largest Mexican marketplace north of the Rio Grande.

           Sombrero stand in La Villita. There were over 100 shops and stalls peddling everything from silver to vanilla extract.

                                                                                       Guess what…..more sombreros!

                                                                                Love these colors. Mini-guitars in La Villita.

                                                       A lovely Canadian tourist, snapped this photo of me in front of a tin horse.

                                             Marionettes, so much fun! I was tempted to buy one for Ohm but self-control won.

                                                           This building is so Texan. This is the entrance to Market Square.

The family shrine in the lobby of Mi Tierra restaurant. This place is a fun time (great atmosphere, not the best food to be honest, but hey…). Make sure you stop by the bakery for dessert though, the bakery is extraordinary. If you are a fan of good Mexican food, there are tons of local places to go to, to satisfy your craving. The locals are more than happy to point you in the right direction.

                                                                            The entrance to the Market Square shops.

                                                                           Market Plaza, same building as Market Square.

The Museo Alameda was fantastic! Affiliated with the Smithsonian, the museum chronicled the Mexican Revolution through documents, artifacts and (best of all) some of the most compelling oil paintings. The paintings were absolutely breathtaking. I know I’m a big museum nerd, but this one is a must-see if you are in San Antonio. I learned so much about the Mexican Revolution and the subsequent renaissance. Being a New Yorker, I knew very little about either.

               I happened to come across the Museo Alameda on the perfect day- “Free Day Tuesdays!” I left a donation though.

                                                                                             Downtown San Antonio

This beautiful monument is the San Fernando Cathedral, the first cathedral in the United States. In front of the Cathedral is a lovely square with cafe tables and chairs- the good life…

                                                                                   My men gazing at the Cathedral.

                                  My little cutie taking in the sights. Hmmm…he doesn’t look impressed. He’s a tough audience to please.

                                                                                       Taking a walk along the Riverwalk

                                                  The Riverwalk walkway. One of the many. The Riverwalk stretches for miles.

                                                                                        Ducks playing in the river.

                                                                                                  The Riverwalk

                                                                          The trail (rather, one of many) along the River.

                                                                                      Boat ride down the river.

On top of every building there seemed to fly the Texas flag. The lonestar state is a mighty proud place. I’ve lived in New York state for the majority of my life and could not tell you what our state flag looks like.

                                                                                    A monument near the Alimo

The courtyard surrounding the Alimo, San Antonio’s first mission (formerly Mision San Antonio de Valero). This area was very melancholy but beautiful.

Here she is, the Alimo herself. I must say, she was much smaller than I thought she would be. The Alimo originally served as a home to Spanish missionaries and their Indian converts.

                           Here’s a more intimate headshot. The Alimo has been beautifully restored and stands proud.

Apparently the Alimo was almost destroyed until the Daughters of the Republic of Texas stepped in and demanded that it become a historical site.

Eating lunch at Mi Tierra in La Villita. Can you spot the baby? Behind us was a beautiful mural depicting important Mexican American figures. Sadly, I must admit, I was not able to identify most of them.

Ohm came, saw, and conquered San Antonio. Here he is in the hat he picked out with his drool covered little fingers at the farmer’s market in La Villita. Finally, a satisfied customer.


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