Friday, March 19, 2010

san antonio

St. Anthony de Padua is the patron saint for the recovery of lost things and conciliating couples.  Born in Lisbon and related to the King, he was a follower of St. Francis of Assisi.  In the 17th century, Spanish missionaries came across a small Native American community along the river on the feast day of St. Anthony and built a mission in his honor in San Antonio, Texas.  We explored numerous sites on just a small patch of land and fervently walked all day, despite blisters on the feet.  Since it was spring break, the town was loaded with visitors all the time and the energy was electrifying.  The first destination was the famous Alamo where Davy Crockett (rifle and raccoon hat) and Jim Bowie (knife, not related to David) held down the fort with less than 200 other brave soldiers against thousands until they were captured and lost the battle.  It is quite sacred and you could feel the reverence from people while on the grounds. 
All the Winds are salsa and nacho freaks, sampling a variety of hot and spicy salsas (lately Alamo is our favorite) but never deviate from the El Ranchero chips.  We frequented many Tex/Mex restaurants and each dip was just as delicious as the next.  Margaritas and lemonade were our thirst quenchers.  I dabbled in my first tilapia fish taco at Rosario's, and we were determined to feast on steak at Texas Land and Cattle Steak House.  We sampled fresh seafood at Landry's on the outdoor terrace on the Riverwalk and took a break from touring with a refreshing dish of ice cream from Jardin's.  Did you know that corn tortillas originated from Mexico, but flour tortillas came from the Germans who settled in Texas? 
We visited the Market loaded with stores featuring the local souvenir stuff, mostly from Mexico, but including cowboy boots, leathers and many cute crafts.   We spent the whole afternoon just browsing and taking photos (318), then dined at a wonderful authentic Mexican place called Mi Tierra.  The rooms are vibrant and colorful; and the murals provide constant stimulation with all the significant figures.  This family-owned restaurant is a must see; their fourth-generation hombre greeted us upon arrival. 
The main attraction of San Antonio is the Riverwalk.  It is seven miles long and winds through a plethora of hotels and restaurants.  We took a leisurely ride in the riverboat and learned a bit about the buildings and bridges.  The foilage is just beginning to bloom but huge trees grace the walkway year round.  I was a little nervous walking near the edge and was told someone always falls in (yep, someone did while we were there) but not me, thanks be to God. We strolled during St. Patrick's celebration so green was dominant and as the day wore on, people were louder and happier.  Mariachi's entertain outdoors and the old Aztec theatre provides talent in a lovely hall.  It is so cool to look up and see the hotel verandas everywhere.  My favorites were the Omni La Mansion and Hilton.  Did you know the Marriott actually moved the historic Fairmount Hotel from its original dwelling and built their hotel in its place?  Our hotel was right next to the Fairmount and you would never know it was originally somewhere else. We typically visit a church on our travels and St. Ferdinand's was truly stunning.  There were smaller, quaint churches and a cute little chapel with adorable stain glass windows. 
During our last leg of the trip, we decided to purchase our souvenirs at Jake's Place, an exclusive store for Life is good goodies.  This is the best feel good store and we kept returning and finding new items to gush over.  We continued our journey at La Villita, next to our hotel, which offered delightful crafts, jewelry, clothing and artwork. The sweetest thing was finding little kitties and peacocks just meandering around the grounds.  All the proprietors were very friendly and genuinely hospitable.  I must give a shout out to Rocky, bellman/concierge at the Marriott, for upon our arrival, we asked for his favorite eatery suggestions and every one he recommended was absolutely aces.  Muchas gracias.
Here we are, the three muskateers.  Wayne-O worked, but the time we were together, we made the most of it.  Stevie was my constant companion and I am grateful we bonded.  :)  I missed Mike and Dan, and of course, our puppies, but we look forward to our upcoming family trip in the not-too-distant future and plan to just hang out together all day long - no touring - no walking - only rest and relaxation as a family.  Thankfully, my feet will be blister-free, unlike most touring trips.  No biggie, they heal quickly.
Until then, I will enjoy spring and rest my tootsies until it's time to garden.  Today I am grateful to be home, safe and soundly, and cherish the memories of our trip.  I hope you are inspired to visit this lovely part of our world.  xo

The stars at night are big and bright,
deep in the heart of Texas...