Monday, February 22, 2010

San Antonio, Texas ~ River Walk ~ San Fernando Cathedral

Our RV adventure in San Antonio, TX began with a bus ride downtown to see the Alamo and the River Walk. We don’t usually ride a city bus but this was the best way suggested by our RV park hosts and it sure was a lot easier than taking the big truck downtown.

Olympics Storefront on Houston Street
Once we got off the bus we started over to the Alamo and passed a storefront on Houston Street that was showing the spirit of the Winter Olympics happening in Vancouver, BC. It was quite neat to see something reminding us of home when we’re so far away.

The Trolley Bus
We were just leaving the Alamo Plaza after visiting the Alamo when we saw this trolley, which is one of many in the city, they appear to be the bus of choice in the downtown core. We also saw horse drawn buggies which added to the spirit of the era that we’d just visited, being enjoyed by many on this sunny Sunday.

Paseo Del Rio
We only had a short distance to walk over to Texas’s #1 tourist attraction, the famous San Antonio River Walk. We’d heard that it was not to be missed by all who had been to San Antonio. The day was the first sunny day in awhile and that may have helped but there were lots of tourists and locals enjoying the restaurants adding to the excitement of the River Walk. The River barges are a very popular way to see the Canal, but on busy days like this day, you must buy your ticket early for a ride. We enjoyed the river barge ride including the tour guide, Mike’s information and humor.

San Antonio River Walk
The San Antonio River Walk, the Paseo del Rio is too long to walk all of it on our visit, a total of 21 km (13 mi), but we did make a good effort. The San Antonio River meanders through the city offering several miles on the River Walk, parts of it is the natural river and other sections have been manmade. It is a great place to enjoy the city for dining or a quiet stroll on the cobblestone walkway with overhanging very old Cypress trees. Quaint bridges and stairways invite you to stray from the river to see the sights there, too.

The very active Association for the River Walk produces 17 annual events, including the Mardi Gras which would be a fun event to see. It takes over two months to install the Christmas lights and that long to take them down, too, but there is no doubt that it would be a wonderful sight for a River walk or barge ride during the Christmas season.

A resident Egret
Our walk included some of the quiet areas of the River Walk and I don’t think this egret was as surprised as we were to see him on the Canal. It really doesn’t feel like it but we’re in the middle of a busy city and there is an egret sitting in the tree, we are used to seeing them out in the wild lands. He wasn’t in a hurry to leave and seemed quite at home. We’d seen several pigeons and ducks during our lunch at canal side and they were definitely at home waiting for any lunch scraps people were willing to share with them.

San Fernando Cathedral
The Main Plaza is considered the Heart of the City and offers a resting place in a busy downtown city center. What really caught our attention was the San Fernando Cathedral. The bells were chiming as many entered the church for a Sunday service. We had the opportunity to see the inside and I was surprised at how bright it was in there, so many old churches are dark. There were dozens of candles burning and voices filled the Church with hymns. The San Fernando Cathedral was founded in 1731 and is the oldest continuously functioning church in all of Texas.

Bexar County Court House
The statue of San Antonio de Padua, one of the most beloved of saints, was presented to the city by the order of the Alhambra in 1955. He stands in the Main Plaza across the street from the Bexar County Court House. This building, not the first court house built on this location, was built of red sandstone in 1892.

It is a common sight to see the American flag flying everywhere we go. This one was a photo opp. I was not going to pass by. The wind had them all blowing perfectly. A perfect picture to end our perfect day of sightseeing in downtown San Antonio, Texas.

We’ve more to see in San Antonio, Tx, watch for the day at the Missions in the area and our visit to the Alamo.

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