Mission San Antonio
San Antonio, TX
San Antonio, TX
There is always more to see and enjoy in this beautiful, historic city. Today we set off to ride the tourist trolley. Since the trolley tour starts at the old Mexican Market square (El Mercado), we started with breakfast at Mi Tierra, a touristy Tex-Mex tradition. As we walked back to catch our trolley, we found ourselves in the middle of a popular Fiesta event, the High School Band competition.
El Mercado features mostly souvenir shops, but for a while there was a Smithsonian museum here, Museo Alameda, that closed only a year after it opened. I was pleased to see that the San Antonio branch of Texas A&M University has reopened the building and is once again using it as an art venue.
Our trolley ride took us first to the Visitor Center of the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park. The Park includes the Alamo as well as several other Missions that were built here by the Spanish in the 1700s. The indigenous nomadic people who lived here for hundreds of years were facing drought, environmental degradation, and attacks by more warlike tribes like the Apaches. All these factors made them receptive to the pull of the missionaries.
Mission San Jose, at the Visitor Center, is still a working church, with mass held every Sunday. Very little has changed since here since the 1700s, except for the way the friars communicate!
From here we took the trolley back downtown and caught the Riverwalk tour boat. Our guide talked about the history of the area and showed us the dams and floodgates that control the flow of the San Antonio River. We saw parts of the Riverwalk I’ve never been to, including the River Center Mall area and the Convention Center. A very relaxing way to see the city!
On our last day we took a walk south from our hotel towards the historic King William district. The Americanized name was chosen by the early German settlers to honor Kaiser Wilhelm. These early settlers became wealthy merchants, as you can see by the huge mansions lining King William St. After our walk we sampled the apple strudel at the famous Guenther House restaurant.