On a Mission

I made it to San Antonio!   What a beautiful city, but then…I already knew that.  I’ve been here several times before and have always loved it.  Unfortunately, this visit was a whirlwind one with just a day and a half to see a few sights before heading off again but it was still a great time.  My sister-in-law and I stayed right along the Riverwalk and were able to walk along the river in the cool of the evening and during the daytime, too.  How pleasant.

We found time to take the boat tour of the Riverwalk area and I’m so glad that we did.  First of all, it was nice and cool on the water and secondly, we learned a lot about the Riverwalk that we hadn’t known.  I highly recommend taking the time to do this should you visit the area.

We walked down to the old Marketplace, which I remembered from my sister-in-law taking me to years ago.  It’s a riot of color and you really can get overwhelmed.  I was constrained from snapping up so many things mainly by the fear of wondering how I’d ever get the fragile pottery pieces back to Pennsylvania without having them break.  Oh my, there were some gorgeous handpainted sinks there for such reasonable prices.  As the Commander would say, ….”In the right house….”   I would have snapped some of those up in a heartbeat.

In the cool of the evening, we rode the elevator in our hotel up to the roof and snapped pictures of San Antonio from all compass points.  This is looking towards the  San Fernando Cathedral.

Yesterday, before flying off to Houston, we drove over to the Mission San Jose.  The weather was perfect for sightseeing.  What a beautiful old mission.  It is the oldest one in the group around San Antonio.  The movie we watched at the park center was an eye opener.  It told the all-too-familiar tale of indigenous people groups being wiped out by disease after contact with the Europeans although many of these tribes still exist in a way in some of the people of the South Texas area today, who are a mix of the indigenous Indian tribes and Spanish settlers.  Many of the Indian tribes originally fled to this mission for protection from the marauding Apaches but over 70% died of disease brought by the Spanish.  How sad.

The indians that came to the mission lived in these little rooms built into the walls that were built around the mission.  The rooms were tiny with a door and a window.  At least there was a window.  They did their cooking within the courtyard of the mission, using ingredients grown adjacent to the mission under the irrigation system introduced by the Spanish.

The mission is beautiful in its rustic simplicity scattered here and there with some attempts at more ornate carvings done by craftsmen brought over from Europe.  Most of the building (rock by rock) was done by the indians.

What I didn’t realize was that these missions were then painted in bright, decorative patterns originally.  Here you can see some faint remnants of the original paint job.  Isn’t that amazing?   I guess I figured they were always that brown color.

Once we finished touring Mission San Jose, we headed to the airport and flew off to Hobby Airport in the Houston area.  I made the mistake of relying on my GPS to get us to the hotel.  Big mistake!  That thing got us so lost, trying to take us on non-existent highways and taking us off onto wrong exits, etc. that I got totally flummoxed and ended up calling the hotel from a parking lot almost in tears for directions.  I am NOT a calm driver under the best of circumstances in a big city that I’m not familiar with and this just exasperated things.  To make matters worse, the hotel clerk told me to turn the wrong way (she misunderstood where I was, thinking I was at a mall instead of the shopping center on the other side of the street) so I had to do a U-turn and head back the other way.  Oh, boy!  I wasn’t a happy camper but we eventually made it to the hotel and there were Jason, Laura and darling Mika!  I was so excited to see them all that I forgot to take pictures.  I’ll do better from now on.  And so ended our first day in the Houston area.  I am firing the GPS, by the way.  It will be replaced and not a minute too soon.

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