Sunday, June 22, 2008

Tourists In Our Own Town

About 1:00 this past Friday, Doug and I looked at each other and said..."let's leave our office work behind and go have some fun!" Once we decided not to spend 3-4 hrs in the car driving a round trip to Hunt, TX, we decided to look at what San Antonio had to offer.

La Canarias
It was obvious that we should start our afternoon with lunch on the Riverwalk. The restaurant is one of our local favorites in the La Mansion del Rio hotel. Situated under a shade tree overlooking the tourists enjoying their passeggiato, Doug had the hamburger and I had a shrimp and brie quesadilla.

Mission San Jose
Founding ceremonies for this Franciscan mission were held in 1720 and construction began in 1768. The mission's mission statement was "to convert indigenous hunters and gathers (i.e. Indians) into Catholic, tax paying citizens of New Spain." I found it impressive how practical the priests had to be...this mission was basically a fort, where religious instruction, farming and sentinel guardianship were necessary for the community to continue to exist. Indian families resided in two room apartments. The mission operated for 104 years. Our surprising discovery was to find the reds and yellows of Andalusia's Cordoban Cathedral used within the modest church.

4 Defenders of the Alamo

Next door to the Alamo Mission is a Haagen Dazs shoppe. We made a bee line for this delicious oasis. After all, we did decide on the spur of the moment to visit a mission in 100+ weather in the middle of the afternoon. After purchasing a pistachio two scoop and chocolate milk shake, we headed over to one of the benches around the courtyard fountain. The fountain sits under a century old tree. Completely shaded and enjoying a slight breeze, we payed our respects once again to the legends who met their death so honorably in the battle of the Alamo: Crockett, Bowie, Bonham and Travis. Their names are memorialized on plaques placed on each of the four sides of the fountain. Doug sits beside the Crockett plaque.

Movie at the Rivercenter AMC
Next up was an air conditioned couple of hours watching the latest Indy Jones flick. No surprises but still good fun.

Final Riverwalk stroll
At 7 pm on a Friday, the sun is going down and the tourists are pouring into the creekside path lined with restaurants, shops and entertainment venues. There is a line to board one of the river taxis, which run back and forth along the river. Doug and I headed down to another local favorite but this location paled in comparison to our northside haunt. We quickly packed it up and headed home. Besides the people watching, it was exciting to come across one of downtown's mosaics.

Bell "Grotto"
By now, the sky is darkening and the clouds are tinged with a salmon color left behind from the sunset. We cooled off in our plunge pool and enjoyed a limoncello on the patio as we contemplated our future. Doug thinks it resembles a grotto with all its rock, waterfall and dark, deep water.

We've been living in San Antonio over two years. This was the most we have played tourists in the whole time we have been here. We feel lucky to have so much Texan, Spanish and Indian culture right outside our back door. Next time you and your honey have a few hours on your hands, you too might enjoy your city's sites...without the hassles of encountering TSA security.

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