It started with the Alamo.

Trip Start May 31, 2009
1
7
Trip End Jun 05, 2009


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Flag of United States  , Texas
Sunday, May 31, 2009

Our first stop is the Alamo.

I will admit that I am not a gun person. Which in my large family of hunters is not to be taken lightly.I like looking at guns and rifles for their craftmanship, but refuse to shoot one. 

I've read the postings about the Alamo being totally surrounded by high rise buildings and that it is overly touristy. Well, yes, it is in San Antonio, which is a big city, and yes tourists do come to see the Alamo. The advantage of just where the Alamo is located IS the location. Across the street is the National Park Service. If you're into Ripley's Believe it or Not, that across the street to. If you want a cheap $8 a day parking lot, it is 1 block up from the Alamo, the same side of the street as the National Park Service.

You're a few blocks away from River Walk, and all those waterside restaurants. And one block from The Buckhorn Saloon, which is a must see, even if you don't believe in killing those bear, moose, deeer, dahl sheep, and all the assorted animals they have hanging on the wall. The food is pretty decent there, added to the fact that you are sitting in a historic authentic old time saloon. 

We took some outside photos...none are allowed inside the Alamo, and went out to the gardens, then the small museum. There's alot to see if you are into history, which happens to be on the top of my vacation list.

Guess I just wasn't paying attention in my American History class in high school. First, I thought everyone in the Alamo died. And I thought that the majority of the soldiers were from Texas. 

Double wrong. 

First: General Santa Anna let the women, children, and Negro slaves leave, and gave them a note addressed to Sam Houston, calling for his surrender. Which, didn't happen, as Houston kicked butt a month later and overwhelmed Santa Anna, which led to the Republic of Texas. 

Second: Yes, there were Texans at the Alamo. At least 10 out of the almost 200 soldiers. The British Isles (Scotland, England and Ireland) were represented by at least 26 soldiers. Tennessee had 30, Pennsylvania had 14, and the assorted other states, and a few countries filled in the remainder.  

Third:  I thought the Alamo was a fort. Wrong again. Church.

The entrance door says: Be silent friend here heroes died to blaze a trail for other men.

When you are in the Alamo, it is amazing how most visitors obey that sign.

Ask when the National Park Service Ranger is going to give "The Talk." This really brings home what the Alamo was all about. And don't miss the free museum on site or the grounds around the Alamo. The Daughters of Texas have a museum on site also.

So who is the largest collector of Alamo memorabilia? Some Texan? Nope. It's Phil Collins. Yep, the British singer. He's donated quite of lot of his memorabilia back to the Alamo.  

So what is the most haunted place in San Antonio?  It's the Menger Hotel. Across from the Alamo. There are three documented ghosts who still haunt the hotel. One is good old Teddy Roosevelt, but he just hangs out at the bar. He also must have been out "riding" today, since we didn't see or "feel" him.  

Sallie White

Sallie White was a chambermaid at The Menger Hotel. One night she stayed at the the hotel after an argument with her husband. She may have stayed with another man. The next day, her husband threatened to kill her. Sallie was attacked by her husband on March 28, 1876 and died two days later. According to the hotel ledger, the hotel paid the funeral cost of $32..

According to legend, Sallie White roams the halls of the hotel's Victorian wing. She is described as wearing an old long gray skirt and a bandanna around her forehead. She is usually carrying towels, which she never delivers.

One man had an encounter with a rude maid. He described the maid who ignored him to the from desk. The uniform he described the maid wearing was from the late 1800's, which was when Sallie worked at the hotel.

Captain Richard King

Captain King was the founder of King's Ranch. King was a man of great wealth who had a suite at the Menger Hotel. When Richard King receiving news of his impending death from his doctor, he spent the last months of his life at the hotel. It was at the hotel that he wrote his will and said his farewells to friends. King's funeral was held the the parlor at the Menger.

Captain King appears occasionally and is seen entering his room, The King Suite. Many guests and employees have seen him. When he enters the suite, he does not use the door. Instead he walks right through the wall in a location where the door used to be located.

Theodore Roosevelt

President Teddy Roosevelt recruited cowboys for the Rough Riders at the Menger Bar. Over the years people have reported seeing Teddy Roosevelt having a drink at the bar.

There are actually 2 sections of the Menger Hotel. The older section, where the history and the ghosts tend to hang out is the best section. I love this hotel. But I'm still waiting to see a ghost. 

We're told that the newer section, although more modern isn't as nice. It does pay at times "to spend the gold to go for the old."    

The Alamo area has major attractions. Ripley's Haunted Adventure, Tomb rider 3D Adventure Ride, Ultimate Mirror Maze, Buckhorn Saloon & Museum, Alamo Trolley Tours, Guiness World Recod Museum. Most of these are within two blocks of the Alamo. There are "ticket" sellers across the street frorm the Alamo.

If you plan do do a combination of these, go on line frst and see what the individual admissions are. Then total up what you will pay. Then go to www.sanantoniotourism.com which offers packages for the attractions. 

You'll know if you are saving money by buying any of the three packages.

Or you can buy packages right on the street corner across from the Alamo. I don't know if they are the same price as is on-line.

Segway Tours run from $50 for 1 hour to $75 for 2 1/2 hours. Our problem was there is a 4 passenger minimum. We wanted the 2 1/2 hour tour, but didn't want to pay $150 per person. Which we should have done in hindsite.

We're going really touristy and riding the boat at the River Walk. One reason may be that we need to cool down for this heat and humidity. There are 3 pick up locations on the "Old Riverwalk."  The cost for the 35-40 minute ride is $8.25 Seniors and military get a discount. Price is $6.00 Not bad for a 2 1/2 mile ride.

The new North Riverwalk expansion just opened this week, but the only boats are the water taxis. We're told NOT to do this today cause the rides are free today and the wait time is forever.  

We wanted to make sure the barge would pass the USAA Federal Savings Bank to see the American Odyssey.

Juan O'Gorman, an Irish artist born in Mexico City, used 2 inch colored tiles native to Mexico to depict aspects of European and native Mexican cultures on this 100 foot by 22 foot mural

The mural is more than impressive. How many tiles are needed to make this huge mural...I wasn't a math wiz, so you can do the math...but remember you also have to account for the grout.   

And we got to see the "optical illusion" building. The building looks like it is flat, almost fake. But it is an actual office building. 

Even if you don't want to see the mural (which you could walk to) you get a little bit of history and local culture on the ride. 

You also pass by a lot of restaurants, so you know where you want to eat. Name brand and off brand stores are also on the Riverwalk. Forgot your sunscreen?  Rite-Aid is on "The Walk."

The River Walk area is 20 feet below the street level. The city shuts down the River Walk in January for cleaning. They drain the channell. It will be closed Jan 3-10, 2010.  

The Republic of Texas. Yes,Virginia, there is a "Republic" and they did have their own foreign embassy. The original building that housed the Texas Legation's Embassy of the Republic of Texas embassy still stands at No. 4 James Street, City of Westminister (London). They also had embassys in Paris and Washington D.C.

The plaque mounted at the St. James Street entrance reads "Texas Legation. Inthis building the legation for the ministers from the Republic of Texas to the court of St. James 1842-1845. Erected by the Anglo-Texas Society.
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