San Antonio- Living History and Active Living

Jan. 27, 2015

Map of our travels to date.

Our week in San Antonio flew by so quickly! Lots to see and do related to the diverse history of the people and area. Day 1 we took a very informative bus tour of all the city highlights ( Alamo, the Missions, King Willliam district, beautiful churches, Mexican Market area, LaVillita/Blue Ribbon/Pearl Brewery arts districts and of course the beautiful River Walk area, giving us a good reference for the rest of our stay. The city center Riverwalk reminded me of Venice, complete with gondola type boat rides along shops and restaurants lining the river banks. (pics)

The next few days we further explored these same areas on our bikes. Once again, we were impressed with the extensive biking system in this US city, with it`s well marked city street bike lanes or wide asphalt trails along diverse terrains within/outside the city center. The magnificent 10 mile Mission route wound its way down either side of the San Antonio River, with stops at each of the 5 restored Missions, providing a peak into life in the 1700 and 1800's. It’s hard to believe this river originates at an artesian well in the city center called the Blue Hole. We also enjoyed exploring the Greenway System which connects parks throughout the city winding through wooded/wetlands/rural areas, along river banks, as well as parellel to highways and even over an old city landfill site- that has been greenified of course! We were told by some avid bikers we met in New Orleans that SA is a biker’s Meca, and we couldn’t agree more!(pics)

It is amazing the work that has been done to preserve and restore historical landmarks, not only as tourist sites but also converting them to modern day businesses, entertainments centers, government/municipal offices, and even funeral parlours! There is such a blend of cultures- Mexican, Spanish, native American Aboringinal. From the local people we spoke with, they are very proud of their heritage, despite the conflict that has occurred. This was most evident from our visit to the restored San Jose Mission where we attended a beautiful church service with vibrant Mariachi Musicians directed by a 90 year old woman who founded the group 40 years ago, and still co-directs them along with her neice. The local people believe that although their original ancestral nations are extinct, they live on through their children. This vibrant parish still meets the needs of its surrounding community- a real living example of history today. (pics)

Our accommodations , a comfortable 3 room apt built behind a 2 car garage, was located only 15–20minute car ride from the city center. Our hosts, Irma and Leroy, were very helpful providing us with tourist information and suggestions for places to visit and eat. The weather was mostly beautiful with temperatures vairying from a low of 3*C to 21*C. Unfortunately, the hectic driving deterred us from driving into the city at night, so I missed seeing the spectacular laser light show which depicted the discovery and development of San Antonio as depicted on the stone front of historic San Ferndando Cathedral.

And look what we saw every evening on the neighbours lawns- and we thought only Saint John had urban deer problems!

Another place to revisit next time we’re in SA, would be Fredericksburg, an historic German founded town about 1 hr north of SA in “Hill Country”, which is also in the heart of wine country! Unfortunately it was a cold 3*C and raining the day we visited so no pictures to show for it- only a beautiful caribou on a ranch (look at that rack Hunters!) and the interesting geological feature called the Enchanted Rock (wish we could have climbed it!). We did buy a few bottles of fine wine though, and next time will enjoy some wine tours! Lots of clothing & antique boutiques, a dozen wineries, 3 breweries and miles of country biking would make this a perfect weekend get away!

So after travelling 7000 km, an oil change, tire rotation, 300km biking and bicycle tune up, we’re on the road again.

Next stop, Roswell, New Mexico where we hope (NOT) to commune with Aliens!!

Ann and Don

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