Exploring San Antonio

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Today JoLene and I drove to San Antonio, nearly a two-hour drive, to spend a half day seeing some of the sights. We rode the red City Bus, with its narration of the main points of interest.

I suppose the best-known site in this city is the Alamo.

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It was originally named the Mision San Antonio de Valero, and served as home to missionaries and Indian converts to Catholic Christianity for 70 years. In the 1800s the mission became a military headquarters, occupied at various times by Spanish, Rebel and Mexican forces. It played a critical role in the Texas Revolution against Mexico. In February 1836 General Santa Anna, President of Mexico, and his soldiers surrounded the Texans – about 200 of them –  in the Alamo. The defenders held out for 13 days. Then Santa Anna’s men were victorious, killing every Revolutionary fighter in the Alamo.

In April of that same year General Sam Houston led the Texans in defeating Santa Anna’s forces in the Battle of San Jacinto, the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. This battle lasted only 18 minutes and led to the Republic of Texas becoming an independent nation, which continued until Texas joined the United States in 1845.

The iconic Alamo building we see today was originally a church and is only a small part of the original Alamo complex.

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Here you see the plot  plan for the entire Alamo. The large rectangular space in the foreground marks the walls of the Alamo. The church (its facade is shown in my first photo above) is the small structure in the upper right section of the plot plan. Evidently during the battle of the Alamo the “church” served as ammunition storage.

Reflecting on the friendly relations between Mexicans and Texans today, I pondered the thought that surely there must be a better way than war to lead to friendship.

Later we rode an elevator up the Tower of the Americas.

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A 750-foot tall observations tower and restaurant. As we had lunch in the Chart House restaurant, the restaurant slowly revolved a full circle so we had awesome views of the entire city.

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Yes, the person sitting at the barely-visible table is JoLene.

Extensive water features are found on the grounds below the Tower.

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San Antonio has an attractive River Walk.

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Since today was cold and windy, we did not follow the River Walk.

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During the bus tour we saw this creative and impressive mural.

As for birding, en route to San Antonio through ranch lands we got a brief glimpse of the striking Crested Caracara.

Crested Caracara

I went on the internet and found this superb photo by Matthew Studebaker. You can check out his work at http://www.studebakerbirds.com.

I am also seeing many White-winged doves.

White-winged Dove

This image is from John Schwarz at http://www.birdspix.com.

What city have you visited recently? Or  what notable birds have you sighted?

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