Sunday, August 08, 2004

San Antonio Weekend

Our weekend in San Antonio began Friday with our check-in at the Riverwalk Vista. The hotel was originally a mercantile store in the 1800s, converted into a bed-and-breakfast in the 1970s. All-wood floors and period furniture, combined with photos of old San Antonio helped preserve the quaint atmosphere. There was a fishbowl on the desk with a lazy blue betta and a teddy bear on the bed.

That night we had dinner at Mi Tierra, a popular establishment that sells pan dulce in addition to the usual dinner and drinks. After dinner we took the riverboat tour. The guide pointed out several historic buildings and a tree that had been caught in the branches of another tree back in the great flood of 1921. It's still there.

Saturday: Our hotel was only a couple of blocks from the Alamo so we walked over. I've been there once before and I'm horrified to say it's been about 25 years. Err... yeah. Anyway, the Alamo is the closest thing to a holy site we have in Texas. Inside is a little museum with artifacts owned by Davey Crockett and James Bowie. They don't allow photos inside.

This photo shows what some people claim to be the numbers 666 in the side of the Alamo. I can only see one 6, and I believe the other two to be wishful thinking by paranormal conspriacy theorists! They say it doesn't show up pictures until the mid-80s.

In the evening we joined a ghost tour of the Alamo area. Our guide talked about the sightings that have occurred there over the years. He described a man seen peering out this window and another man in a duster seen walking around the east side of the Alamo. From there we visited the Emily Morgan hotel, which was a hospital when it was originally built in the 1920s. Two floors in particular are said to be haunted. After the tour we bought ice creams and rode a horse-and-buggy around the area.

I'm getting ahead of myself. After the Alamo we visited the Ripley's Museum and the Haunted Adventure (a Halloween-style haunted house that turned out to be pretty creepy). Then we strolled over to the Riverwalk area and ate lunch. After all the walking and a heavy lunch, we went back to the room for a nap and in the evening went on a Ghost Tour.

Sunday: We walked over to the rotating restaurant tower for lunch. The tower was built in 1968 and reminded me a lot of the space needle in Seattle. There are two stories: the restaurant and the observatory. From the top you can see San Antonio laid out below, a clean and colorful city.

After lunch we left San Antonio and went to the Natural Bridge Cavern and explored. The cavern was discovered in the early 60s and is now a national park. It's over 1.5 miles long but we only saw a small part of it. The cave is huge and impressive, but it was hotter in there than we expected. The stalagmites are still growing, and they form odd, almost human shapes, like misshapen statues.

All in all, a fun break from the routine of work-school-sleep-work-school-sleep I've gotten into!