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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Visiting the Alamo

Yesterday was a long day. We drove 500 miles from El Paso to little ole San Antonio, Texas. Frankly the biggest thrill of the day yesterday was the motel we stayed at had make-'em-yer-danged-self waffles shaped like the State of Texas. Mighty good eaten they wuz too pard'ner.

We stopped for lunch in the tiny & charming little town of Ozono TX. It had a cute little plaza (not that small really), a big beautiful courthouse and a statue of pioneers in front.  Around 4PM we pulled into San Antonio. A quite pretty city, I am told it is culturally rich as well.

We booked a room a couple of blocks from that long famed bastion of Texas, the Alamo.

The Not as Huge as one might expect, Alamo
The following day, we were up early for our tour of the Alamo. We walked over and soon gained entry to the Texas stronghold. I wasn't allowed to take photos inside, because I really didn't want any of the Texas Rangers (two of which are shown on the right in the photo above) to have to wrestle me to the ground for my camera. The Alamo interior is a bit dark, and as tall as the height of the building. There stand numerous free standing showcases full of interesting artifacts, such as deeds, paperwork and a fair number of weaponry.

It took about 20 minutes to satisfy my curiosity on the Alamo itself. Hum... come to think on it, it took only 3 minutes for me to satisfy my irrational need for an Alamo National Historic site stamp for my  National Parks Passbook. Am not totally sure the Alamo is even a part of the National Park system, but hey, they have their own way of doing things in Texas.

So, what's my best fact about the Alamo?  That the Alamo is Spanish for 'Cottonwood tree'. A peaceful name for a site whose history is indeed, plenty violent.

Diorama of the famous Battle that took place between February 23 and March 6, of 1836.
Another view of the Alamo
The Alamo grounds
Ancient tree on the Alamo grounds
Where you buy boat passage

After our tour of the Alamo and its grounds, we got directions from a nice lady in the gift shop and headed for a boat ride to tour little ole' San Antonio. Now, read carefully, these are the directions we got from the lady:  "Y'all walk to the Mall, then take the escalator down to the tour boats".

Take the escalator DOWN to the boats? Huh?

Turns out we did just that.The photo to the right shows what the river (the green stuff on the bottom of the photo) looks like from the mall. The city of San Antonio is elevated high above ground level so when you are at the Alamo you have no idea initially that you are walking in the clouds, so to speak.

The little boat tour takes passengers and their guide along the 'River Walk' which is famous for its points of history, shops, restaurants and at night, it's bright sparkly lights. It's a great walk for tourists, but I'd rather ride, thankyouverymuch.

A San Antonio tour boat showing off the steps
Yellow-crowned Night Heron

The surprising bit about the boat river tour was when I got aboard, I was expecting to see natural riverbanks, flocks of wild waterfowl and gentle reeds blowing in the wind. What one sees on the boat trip is a cement contained waterway lined by the aforementioned restaurants and shops. Mind, that's not a bad thing, but it wasn't what I expected. What I did expect... well, actually what I expected and prepared for, I got - Yellow-crowned Night Herons! The southern water birds were high up in the trees over the riverway, and I was ready with my zoom lens and got a few pictures. It as a fun & relaxing little water run, but don't take my word for it, see for yourself.

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