We took a day trip on Sunday to a fabulous city an hour and a half south of here, called San Antonio. It is a very old city, full of history. We loved it!
The first thing we did was the riverwalk. What a beautiful place! It's like what the canal in Indianapolis wants to be when it grows up-- full of very nice restaurants, shops, and beautiful landscaping.
At one place on the riverwalk, there are stairs up through a little riverside open-air theater to go visit the "Historic La Villita." It's a tiny little village of stone houses and a church, built in 1819. There's one main road and then just a conglomeration of the little houses. So sweet! The church was beautiful. La Villita is now a "thriving arts community." http://www.lavillita.com/
We had lunch on the riverwalk, too. It was SO YUMMY! We chose it because the menu looked affordable and yet gourmet, and because they provided traditional ponchos for every customer! It was still a bit chilly from the morning, and someone decided to dress for the high temperature instead of the morning temperature. Let's just say that only one of us had to wear the poncho.
Next, we visited this really awesome square. It's called the Main Plaza and it sits between these two historic buildings: the courthouse (in shadow-- sorry!), and the oldest cathedral in the United States. The San Fernando Cathedral was built by immigrants from the Canary Islands, Spain, between 1735-1750. It's still a vibrant center of activity for Catholics, as the Plaza is for San Antonio with its farmer's markets and festivals.
Speaking of farmer's markets and festivals, the most disappointing thing of the day happened as we were leaving, and I realized that the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico, called El Mercado, was only a few blocks away. We drove by just slowly enough for me to snap a picture. And cry inside.
I think I'm getting the events out of order by now, oh well. Another place we visited was the Alamo. Remember the Alamo? ;) It looked just like it did in History books. Except the entire area around it had been turned into a retail theme park! It was so weird! Ripley's Believe It or Not, a Wax Museum, the Guinness Book of World Records museum, and all sorts of other odd touristy shops and carnival-esque businesses littered the surrounding block. And surprisingly, Brandon had no interest in visiting!
The Alamo itself is just the main building, but there are two other buildings inside the stone wall. We waited in line (it was short) to get inside the main building, and it was interesting (no photography allowed), but the grounds were beautiful! The other two buildings had been turned into a museum and a gift shop, I believe.
In the afternoon, we left the main downtown area and drove around. We found some really neat architecture and a super awesome historic neighborhood called King William Historic District! The bottom two pictures of this set are in that neighborhood. It was sweet!
And just before leaving, we drove south a few miles to see one of the Missions. It looks like a castle, doesn't it?! There are a few others in the area, but we decided to get back on the highway toward home.
"Alamodome." Yep. A sports arena. Crazy, right?! Very odd.
And that's the last of our fabulous day trip to San Antonio. We loved it, and it's even cooler that it's so close to home! We have to go back sometime so I can visit that Mexican market...