Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Shopping

Today L went shopping without me. I lazed around in the morning, and for lunch I headed down to the Buckhorn Tavern. This place was very close to our apartment, and bills itself as the oldest saloon in Texas. The name comes from the legend that the original owner would trade either a shot of whiskey or a beer for deer antlers. As you can tell, the strategy worked, as the walls are covered with stuffed animals of all kinds. The marble and wood bar is original, and very cool. This place had good food and beer at good prices. I recommend it, for the ambience if nothing else. Of course, if you are a staunch ASPCA member, you might want to avoid it.


After lunch, we decided to go check out the Tower of the Americas. This is a large, 750 foot observation tower built for the 1968 World's Fair. In addition to the amazing view from the top, you also get to view a "4-D" film showing highlights of Texas. it was pretty fun, the seats moved, it blew wind and water in your face at times, that kind of thing.


Here are some shots from the observation deck, 750 feet up.

In the lower center of that bottom photograph you can see the roof of The Alamo.

After dinner at Casa Rio, which is an excellent restaurant by the way, we walked up the see The Alamo at night. Wow, it looks dramatic at night.






After that, it was time to stroll home. Tomorrow, we plan to go see the historic King William historic area south of downtown.

The Alamo

Today we got up relatively early and walked down to The Alamo.
We were smart to get there early, because there were very few people there. What I didn't know is that what people usually call The Alamo, pictured above, was really just the church for the large mission that was around it. Much of that original property is now under modern San Antonio, but some of the more significant buildings are still extant, such as the church and the long barracks. Even though a lot of the mission is now destroyed, the site consists of beautiful grounds and several buildings some of which contain very interesting displays on the history of the site.
The grounds.
This is currently a research library.
This is the long barracks. This is one of the original buildings, and has some very interesting displays inside.
Here is another view of the long barracks.

This is a monument in Alamo Plaza, which would have originally been inside the compound.

We also got to hear a really good lecture by one of the staff giving some history of The Alamo. It was really good, since he was a good speaker and it is an interesting story.

After chilling at the apartment for a bit, we decided to head back to La Villita, which is a little historic district that has been converted to shops. While I was not really interested in the shopping, there were some very cool old houses.



After shopping for a while, we had a couple of drinks at Dick's Last Resort, a bar and grill on the river. I liked this place, it had a good vibe and big beers.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Market day

After a lazy morning, we headed down to A Taste of San Antonio, which was being held at Market Square, which is apparently a very old market. We decided that since there were so many street vendors we would eat on the street instead of at a formal restaurant. Wow, were we glad we did. The best thing we had was gorditas.
They were all made right there, with one woman making the casings, grilling and then frying them, and the other woman filling them. We had chicken and bean and cheese, all with hot sauce and guacamole. They were really amazing. We had some other things too, good tamales and fajita tacos, but the gorditas were the standouts. Note the line at the gordita stand; there was always a line there, which is why we chose it.

We also saw a really cool Tejada band, all the members of which wore classic Mexican wrestling masks. How awesome it that?
We saw the wrestling masks for sale, and I still wonder if I should have bought one. What I did buy was a guayabera shirt that I really like. Those of you that know me will no doubt see it soon enough. I might buy more. I like them, they are the original camp shirts.

Here are some pictures of the market.

All in all, it was a very fun day. We stopped at an Irish pub on the way home for a mid-afternoon snack, so there was no need for dinner.

Riverwalk is nice

We are staying at the Wyndham resort in San Antonio. This is a nice place. The building was built in 192, and was originally a hotel. It has really cool concrete floors, and many exposed concrete beams in the room. Here are a couple of pictures of the room.
The bedroom.
The living room.

After checking in and chilling for a bit, we decided it was time for some lunch. We headed down to the Riverwalk and strolled around for a while. The Riverwalk is really cool. Being Saturday afternoon, it was really crowded. There are many shops and restaurants along the Riverwalk, and it's larger than I thought, over 3 miles long, total according to the literature. My internet connection here is very poor, so I am having trouble posting more pictures. I'll post more when I get home.

OK, I bought a better internet connection, so here are some more pictures.
This is a very representative picture of the Riverwalk. It is basically lined with restaurants and bars, with a smattering of shopping thrown in. It is very pleasant and quite pleasant.
The restaurants and shops seem to do excellent business. There were a ton of people everywhere.