Monday, November 16, 2020

11/16/2020 San Antonio

    San Antonio is the first metropolitan area we've run into in Texas. So far, we've traveled hundreds of miles through a land of nothing, just tumbleweed and oil fields. We decided to stop here to visit the well known Alamo mission and fortress, but it turned out to be little disappointing. Only a church and a garden, worth about a half-an-hour walkaround. A few displays explaining the history of the fort and a lot of visitors, making us uneasy in these Covid-19 times.
    Fortunately, we discovered other things around San Antonio to entertain ourselves. Since the Alamo Fortress is in the center of San Antonio, we ventured to a quite unusual downtown park, the River Walk. It is a network of walkways along the San Antonio River, one story beneath the streets with many restaurants, shops and hotels. Unusual placement and really great idea how to turn a busy commercial place into an island of tranquility.
    Then, we visited the San Jose Mission, well preserved ruins of an 18th century settlement. The place was quiet, mainly because the visitor's center upfront was closed and a lot of people just turned back. Luckily, we found an opened gate behind the center and strolled inside.
    Second nice surprise was the Japanese Tea Garden near San Antonio Zoo. Nice and quiet place with ponds full of colorful Koi fish, waterfalls and nicely arranged plants.

Random facts about San Antonio:
    - San Antonio is the most visited city in Texas.
    - Charles Lindbergh received training at Brooks and Kelly fields in San Antonio.
    - Theodore Roosevelt recruited his famous Rough Riders in the Menger Hotel, still located in downtown.
    - The Milam building was the first air-conditioned office building in the US, opened in January 1928.