On our way to Phoenix we did stop for a quick visit to San Antonio - The Alamo was on Arch's bucket list and I wanted to check out The Riverwalk.
One fact that became quickly obvious to us when we arrived in Texas is that Texans are different than other Americans. In many ways Texas is to the United States as Quebec is to Canada. The first state park we stopped at we asked if the America the Beautiful pass would qualify us for a discount (we understand it does in some states). "Not a chance" said the woman checking us it "as a matter of fact we shouldn't even be a part of the United States". Oh, OK!
No where is this sense of independence more obvious than at The Alamo, a "Shrine to Texas Liberty". It would take a very long blog to explain the historic value of The Alamo to Texans. Sufficient to say that the battle for the Alamo (in which its defenders all died) was the start of a long battle for Texas' freedom from Mexican rule. You can read a detail description of the Alamo's history here.
Today the relationship between Texas and Mexico seems to be much improved. As you approach The Alamo you cannot miss this red sculpture:
|The Torch of Friendship|
The contemporary steel sculpture was made in Mexico and shipped to San Antonio in six pieces. It stands 65 feet tall and weighs 50 tons.
It was commissioned to commemorate the relationship between the United States and Mexico and the two countries' increasing commercial ties.
As we were there on Jan 2nd and 3rd the Christmas decorations were still in place. I loved this Christmas tree at the entrance to Alamo Plaza:
The Alamo site itself sits in a city square surrounded be the usual schlocky tourist attractions. It reminded us of Niagara Falls.
This building is actually the church from the mission:
It serves as the entrance to The Alamo grounds. Once inside there are several displays and a museum telling you about the history of The Alamo from it's early days as a Spanish Mission to today. And the story of the Battle of the Alamo is told in 3 ways - in a short movie, by a storyteller and by re-enactors
The soldier above was explaining how the guns used in the battle worked.
As we wanted to see the Riverwalk wearing it Christmas lights we visited there in the late afternoon. It is a very beautiful and well done attraction that draws millions to downtown San Antonio each year. Hopefully the following pictures will give you a feel for its beauty.
First, in the late afternoon:
And after dark:
We walked the entire area but noticed that there were two other ways to take in the Riverwalk
And by tour boat:
So we decided to have a bite to eat in this restaurant:
And take in the Christmas lights from the tour boat: