Wednesday, November 28, 2012

DAY 98- San Antonio, TX...

I woke up to a thick fog.  At first I could barely see the interstate that was running along outside of my window.  Later it became lighter out and I could see the interstate but the tall downtown buildings were lost in the fog.  I turned on the local news and they were showing accidents and backed up traffic all around the area.  I had considered a morning bike ride but I didn’t think it would be safe now.
Photo- A foggy morning in San Antonio, TX.

I went down for the grab and go breakfast at the Red Roof Inn where I was staying.  A muffin, some orange juice, a coffee and US Today paper, I was back up in my room.  I figured I would just wait out this fog thing.  The weatherman said it would clear as it warmed up during the day.  It was supposed to rain later that night and bring in a slight cold front.  The temperatures would be in the upper 60’s; sounded pretty good to me.

A while later, I found myself at the yellow trolley stop a half block away sitting on one of two benches.  There were two black guys there that were sitting on the bench not waiting for a trolley but taking a work break from the auto repair just down the street. I talked with them for a bit while I waited.  As the trolley (which was a regular bus) came I wished them a good day.  I rode the trolley over to the San Antonio Market Square stop.
Photo- Outside at the Market Square in San Antonio.

San Antonio’s Market Square is a colorful walking mall area where there are a lot of Mexican goods for sale.  It has a very festive air and there’s a whole variety of things to look at.  It was rather fun window shopping.  I walked around for a little bit and then decided to get lunch.
Photo- Inside the Mi Tierra's Cafe and Bakery.

I went to Mi Tierra’s Café and Bakery that says it’s always open.  I walked in and was enveloped by some wonderful smells.  Upfront, there’s a glass enclosed counter where there’s a whole selection of mouthwatering freshly baked goods.  Yummy!  I went up to the hostess stand and she started to take me back.  “Where would you like to sit?” she asked me.  She asked if I would like to sit at the counter or a table.  I said whichever is more interesting.  She gave me a perplexed look.  I asked about the covered patio area and she happily sat me out there; looking a bit relieved to be rid of me.

Chips and salsa were brought to the table and I ordered one of the specials of the day just picking something at random.  Their prices were very reasonable.  A very hot plate was served with a cheese enchilada, Spanish rice, a covered container of warm tortillas (corn and flour), and a huge chicken leg.  It was all tasty.  While I was enjoying my lunch, a table of Latino men were sitting and chatting in Spanish.  It was someone’s birthday and one of them was getting a hard time.  A short bit later a trio of guitar players showed up at their table along with a group of restaurant employees.  It was birthday song time; all sang in Spanish.  The birthday boy was turning all shades of red.  It was so cute.

After lunch I walked around the Market Square a bit more.  I went in a few shops and was tempted to try on some of the cute colorful clothes but I didn’t have the room in my car; so I thought I better not.  I caught the yellow trolley back to my hotel where I jumped in my car and drove to one of the Mission Churches in the area.  There are four of them in the area and they are a National Park.  There are guided tours that they do at a few of them and I thought it might be interesting to catch one of these.  So with my Google directions in hand I wandered south through San Antonio.  I went south on St. Mary’s which changed names twice before I came to the San Jose Mission and it’s visitor center. 

The tour was given by a National Park’s employee named Nanette.  She was a cute native Texan gal with an amazing unique southern drawl that almost had a hint of Spanish accent.  It was just amazing listening to her as she gave the tour.  She talked about the history of the Mission San Jose and pointed out the different areas along the way.  We got to see the “apartments” where up to 20 Indians would live.  It made my Salt Lake City one bedroom apartment look like the lap of luxury compared to these two linked rooms; one of which had a fireplace where cooking was done. 
Photo- The cute Nanette with the wonderful Texas drawl accent.

Photo- The outside of the little "apartments" that line the outside wall of the San Jose Mission.

Nanette talked about what was expected of the mission Indians and what an average day for them would have been like during this time frame.  Most of their life was centered around the church.  They would get up and attend church in the morning; go back to their “apartments” for breakfast and then report to whatever work area they were expected.  Then, at the height of the day would be siesta time.  Then after their nap they would be expected to attend church again.  Then, it would be dinner and they had free time in the evening time.
Photo- The Famous Rose window.

During the tour, we steadily worked our way over to the church part of the mission where she ended her tour.  She told of two different legends regarding a Rose window on the side of the church and said we could decide which one was true.  The actual church was not part of the National Park.  Though, it was open to the public.  It’s an active parish church and run by the San Antonio Diocese. 
Photos- San Jose Mission Church, outside and inside.

After that I wondered around taking pictures and reading some of the displayed signs.  It was all very fascinating.  I walked over to the milling area which was just outside the wall areas.  It was the miller’s day off but normally they would have someone that would be operating the mill.  It was the only one of the four missions that had a working mill.  Most of the missions had been somewhat restored in the 1930’s.  It was while viewing this that I had this kitten rubbing up against me and getting all friendly.  It was a sweet thing but I wasn’t taking it home if that was what it was hoping for.

I headed back to the hotel where I did a quick shower and change before going over to the River Walk Area.  I got some change at the front desk just in case I decided to take the trolley back after dinner.  I walked over the 6 or 7 blocks to the River Walk taking a bit of a different route now that I was getting to know the area.  I walked along almost all of the River Walk area trying to decide where I wanted to eat dinner.  I went by almost every restaurant; checking quite a few menus.  I must have walked about 2 miles in all; nothing seemed to be sparking my interest.
Photo- Lighted carriages you can rent in the River Walk area.

Great deals of the restaurants along the River Walk are Tex Mex, Italian, and BBQ.  I finally decided to turn around and go back to the Waxy O’Connor Irish Pub.  They had a lamb stew that sounded rather good and it did turn out to go very well with a draft of Blue Moon.  I was enjoying the outdoor table until rain started to sprinkle just a bit.  I asked the server to move in and finished my meal indoors while watching a bit of Monday night football.  The rain started to come down a little harder and I ordered another beer in hopes of waiting out the rain.  It finally calmed down and I walked back to my hotel.
Photo- One of the restaurant areas along the River Walk.


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