Leaving Big Bend to go to San Antonio felt like we were leaving the wide open southwest and heading into densely populated country. We were surprised to learn that San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the US. Luckily it didn’t feel like it. We really enjoyed San Antonio.
We took our time getting there. At a photo stop atop the bridge over the Pecos river, we ran into a group of guys filming a segment of The Daytripper with their drone getting great shots of the lead guy driving across the iconic bridge.
We also stopped at Langtry to see Judge Roy Bean’s home and courthouse. He named the place – in fact the whole town – after a British actress who he apparently had a huge crush on. He even christened his home “The Opera House” and invited her to come sing there. (Can you say “slightly creepy”?) Sadly (for some), she never took him up on his invitation to perform there and only visited the town after his death.
It was a cool little roadside attraction stop before we headed back to the highways.
This was our first stay at an Elk’s lodge – and we had a very good experience there for $15 per night for full hookups. All of our RV friends recommended we join the Elk’s because they have a nationwide network of lodges and most have some type of RV accommodations. So we did, and it worked out very well in this case. We were just a twenty minute freeway drive from downtown and the famous Alamo and Riverwalk.
I’d heard a lot about the Riverwalk and was excited to see it at night – so we went down after getting settled, not really knowing what we were going to. We found signs and found parking, and I didn’t realize the whole thing (river, shops and restaurants) were a whole level below the streets of downtown. Being a Wednesday night it wasn’t very crowded, but they did have these “lantern” boats going around that were really pretty at night.
We walked around a bit, checked out the bars (but didn’t stop at any) and decided it would be a great place to see in the daylight.
So the next day we headed back to downtown to tour the Alamo and check out the riverwalk and downtown again.
Really nice downtown area – didn’t feel that big city at all.
The museums at the Alamo were quite interesting and we learned how there have been six different flags flown over Texas: The Spanish, the French, the Mexican, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America and finally, the United States of America.
The Alamo also had really beautiful gardens, and it was a fun (and free!) tour.
Also fun because we met up with Santana RVing again and had drinks at the famous Buckhorn Saloon and then a nice lunch at a recommended German cafe and set off on an adventurous walk to the Tower of the Americas – or as I liked to call it, the space needle of San Antonio. Tom wanted to pass on the $13 per person ticket to the top floor, so instead we went up to the bar and had a view for free (after paying for a $13 cocktail!). Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little.
But either way you do it, it was a cool way to see the whole city from up high. We made it back to the riverwalk/downtown area as it was getting dark and parted ways again.
The next day we decided to go to the Japanese Tea Garden and the Botanical Gardens.
Kind of a gamble since it’s barely springtime so not a lot of flowers are blooming yet. Plus, not necessarily Tom’s idea of a good time. But we were both pleasantly surprised. There were quite a few plants in bloom, and it was a very large area with trails that took you through all the different climate zones of Texas. As well as giant “green houses” filled with exotic plants from around the world.
I had a grand time and Tom enjoyed it too, as there were cabins to inspect and fish in the ponds (to watch, not catch).
And we got a lot of hiking in in a setting that wasn’t sidewalks and skyscrapers.
But we weren’t done with the Riverwalk. We returned yet again, this time to experience riverside dining.
After an okay Tex Mex meal, and some good Margaritas, we took the riverboat cruise at sunset – not that they have a sunset cruise, and we didn’t actually see the sun set, but it was that time of day. It was a fun touristy thing to do.
San Antonio has a lot to offer. We didn’t do the Aquarium or Six Flags Adventure park. And we didn’t tour any of the missions – which would have taken a whole day. But we had one more thing on our must do list: the Saga at the Main Plaza. We first heard about it from a video by The Motorhome Experiment (thank you Paul and Lorena!) and we may not have learned about it otherwise. It’s not like I saw a lot of signs or advertisements for it as we were walking around town.
What is it? An extraordinary art show by a French artist that’s done by projecting lights onto the facade of the San Fernando Cathedral. It was the story of Texas in images and music that reminded me of a kaleidoscope. The images would change and melt into one another and suddenly you were looking at an entirely different scene.
It was well worth the time we spent waiting for it to start. We arrived at the plaza early to get a seat because we were tired from all our walking, but it’s only a 25 minute show and we could have easily arrived when it started and still had a good view.
So that is about all we’ll see of San Antonio, but it’s someplace I’d definitely like to come back to.
Peace & Love, Joy