So first I went to the "Queen of the Missions" which is Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo. This is the central of the five and the biggest. This is also headquarters for all the San Antonio Missions. The best part about this mission is that the entire grounds have been restored to it's original size. In addition to the church, are all the support buildings, housing , and fortress walls that would have existed during it's original occupation. While there, I met a great park administrator named Martin Rodriguez. He gave me the standard shpiel on the mission, but the cool part was that he told me the whole history of the creation of Texas. He and his family are all San Antonio natives going back to the time of the original settlers, so you can't get any better than that. We got to talking about The Alamo, and did you know that the massacre there was not the only one and not even the biggest? Only weeks later after the Alamo battle, twice as many patriots were killed at nearby Golliad, Texas but no one remembers. It's ironic because the famous saying is "Remember the Alamo!".
Anyway, after checking out Mission San Jose and Mission Concepcion (church only is restored),
I made my way downtown. I didn't mention this, but San Antonio is huge! I always thought it was a mid-size city, but it's just as big as San Francisco and probably with a larger population. I first drove around the river area and downtown. There is a nice old historic neighborhood at the end of the RiverWalk so I snapped a few pics of the houses.
One of the main points to see was the downtown RiverWalk area.
It's actually not that big, probably only two miles long with only a few blocks worth of shops and restaurants along the way. I kept seeing these tour boat go down the river and wondered where they entered. San Antonio was the first place on the trip where the weather was warm. It was so comfortable (80 degrees), and nice to wear shorts finally. I had some ribs and a margarita at a riverside cafe and just soaked in the sun!
Of coarse, the star of the show is The Alamo. The first two missions were very quiet and peaceful, but the Alamo was pure chaos! Every school kid and their families were there from every state in the country. I had to constantly wait to take a picture of the outside as people were not-stop walking in and out. The bummer was that you can't take pictures of the inside, but no big as the interior is empty except for a few placards and memorials of the "Heroes of Texas".
Not sure why, but a Navy band was playing outside the Alamo and rock'n the house. I have a great vid of it, stay tuned for the video blog entry.
It was a great time, but now have to push on towards Florida.
"Don't mess with Texas!" : )
So I told you guys that I was crazy about mission churches right? If you visit San Antonio, or course you have to see "The Alamo" (which is a mission church), but I struck gold because San Antonio has FIVE mission churches within 10 miles of each other and I didn't even know it till I got there! That said, I only visited three of the five as time was running short and I wanted to spend time downtown.