We squeezed sooo much fun into Saturday. We ate and ate and ate – but I think that’s a different post entirely! We also jumped on a riverboat tour early Saturday morning (before it got crazy crowded) and enjoyed the perfect weather as we cruised along. I wish I had taken more pictures, but some – like all of the gorgeous bridges – were hard to get into the shot. Some – like the beautiful cathedrals – were hidden behind buildings at street level. And other points of interest were obscured behind all of the lush greenery.
I think that was my favorite part about the Riverwalk – how green and lush and flowery everything was! It was gorgeous!
Like, look at this stairwell. A lot of the curved stairwells leading up to restaurants or shops were decorated like this. Some of the bridge stairs were boring and barren, but most were covered with more green. Spring is definitely a good time to visit!
Even street level was covered with gardens! You had to squeeze between the planters and the river – which made me very nervous! Gracie would not be allowed to walk on the river-side if she were with us! (Although the water is “only” four feet deep.)
There was a little open air amphitheater just a few buildings down from us, right on the riverwalk. I remember how close it was because it gated off our side of the path, with a sign reading “Bands only”, which meant we had to cross over the ancient stone bridge every time we wanted to walk in that direction. I have never more wanted to be in a band.
The theater is part of La Villita, which has shops and restaurants. It used to be one of the five missions of San Antonio, and uses some of the old buildings. The five bells above the stage represent the five missions (god, it sounds like the Five Families, doesn’t it?), the middle bell representing the biggest mission, the Alamo.
There were a lot of brick buildings around. Some were old warehouses, some were administrative buildings. Many were old, very old, but some were “newer”. It made me think of Boston, the way a lot of the buildings were cramped in on each other, and allowed to age. And all the mixed zoning, too. So of course I took a picture, because homesick.
There were all these oddities along the way – heads would appear carved into stone, gargoyles on buildings, old wooden doors would appear in buildings. I loved seeing some of the hidden items – and some oddities put there on purpose. I like the way those guys think!
Like this next one – doesn’t this wall seem to stand up on its own? That’s because it’s built like a triangle, with tight, sharp corners, causing the illusion. It’s also actually a hospital. At this point of the tour, Jeff turned to me and said, oh! good to know there’s one so close, sweetie! And then I smacked him, because he thinks I’m rather…shall we say “medically needy”? The hospital (whose name I’ve forgotten) was also the place where Carol Burnett was born. <Insert ear tug here, just because>
There were also a large number of mosaics throughout the riverwalk area, and really, throughout most of San Antonio. This one, on the face of the Lila Cockrell Theater and Performing Arts Museum, was created by renowned Mexican artist Juan O’Gorman. The piece is called the Confluence of the Americas. Adam and Eve are pictured in the middle. European civilization is pictured to the right, Mexican and American civilization to the left, and the child in the middle depicts our melding future. Another bit I love about the building is that it’s named after San Antonio’s first female mayor. That rocks, does it not?
After the riverboat tour, Jeff and I popped up to street level and wondered why there was a particularly dense sea of tourists. When they parted for a moment, we saw why: The Alamo.
I guess I expected it to be…not bigger. Everyone says how small it looks compared to everything around it. Maybe I heard that one too many times and expected this teeny tiny thing. Because I didn’t find it cramped by buildings and I didn’t think it was weird that a mall was nearby or that business buildings were to the left and right of the grounds. (NOT right up on the building like I had been led to believe.) People who think this is weird need to grow up in Boston, where we’ve built around history, because everything is history! It would have been great to get a picture without everyone creeping about, too, but you get what you get. See all of my newest friends!
So we walked about for a bit and read all of the plaques and enjoyed the museum. I loved that they included many inscriptions about the women of the fort, the ones who helped the mission at the time, and the ones (particularly widows and family members) who helped tend the grounds of the museum afterwards, making sure their memories weren’t forgotten.
It was a good morning and a wonderful way to start our San Antonio trip. Not to mention an excellent way to work up our appetite so we could go enjoy all of the restaurants on the way back through the Riverwalk!