Another quiet breakfast Thursday morning on the river walk...this time we caught the birds in the act of grabbing the "Sweet and Low" packets. Actually, it was the Urraca that stole it, and left it for the sparrows. Our server says the birds are getting crazier and crazier as they consume more artificial sugar (and sometimes the real thing). One of the younger sparrows could barely walk, and looked a bit tipsy!
Mario has been urging us to do something "fun" while we are here in SA. ("What?" I thought, "You mean visiting all the historic museums in town at breakneck speed isn't fun?") Dan and I asked him what he meant by "fun", and of course, it was all the things we can do at home: water parks, paint-balling, bicycle riding, etc. I have two rule for our family vacations: we can't eat in a restaurant we have back home, or involve ourselves in an activity we could do at home. So, for obvious reasons, those did not apply. But, being the good mother I am, I brainstormed a bit. Hey, how about a Segway tour? Yes, we have them in Chicago, but we will visit new sites.
And that's just what we did!
Segway Nation did a fantastic job with our 1 1/2 hour tour. Not only did we visit most of the places we have not had the chance to see, but we saw more than usual, because it was just the three of us. Doug gave us a quick lesson in Segway maneuvers, and with a few minutes of practice, we were off! Mario had a bit more trouble at first, being too quick in his movements, but soon, as usual, he was way ahead of Olivia and me. This machine creates quite a paradigm shift as you control it with only a slight movement with your toes and heels. There is a gyroscope inside, so you never want to leave one foot on the platform, with your other on the pavement. The Segway will spin in a circle, and carry you along with it. And don't be fooled by our photos...we are in constant motion while having our pictures taken. A slight movement, but a movement nonetheless. We are never standing still, even when we are standing!
Alamo (formerly "Misión San Antonio de Valero) and Hemisfair Park, which has a few standing structures, including the Tower of the Americas, left from the World's Fair in 1968. The park also has a branch of the Mexican university, and the Institute of Texan Cultures on the premises.
Main Plaza, which in Mexican terms, was the center of town where two perpendicular main streets intersected. Off of this plaza was a red brick Court House, and the San Fernando Cathedral, the oldest Roman cathedral sanctuary in the US, where David Bowie, a hero of the Alamo was married. It also houses a marble coffin with the bones of 180 patriots who were killed in the siege.
When the massacre was over that early March morning, Santa Anna came into the compound to survey the carnage. He ordered his army to collect the bodies of the dead Mexican soldiers, and give them a Christian burial. Not so with the Alamo dead. Santa Anna made it clear to President Jackson he would not be following the protocol for war victims. His soldiers were commanded to gather the bodies and burn them. A year later, one of the couriers for Colonel Travis's plea letters, collected the bones, and brought them to San Fernando, where they received a proper burial in this sarcophagus.
Around the corner to the 1700's Spanish Governor's Palace, given recognition by National Geographic for it's beautiful artifacts and decor. We must return tomorrow to view it, and, believe it or not, Mario was okay with that! Nearby, was author O. Henry's home in San Antonio. Although he had a colorful life, Porter (his real name), finally reformed when he settled down here. That is why it was repositioned near the courthouse, as a lesson...reformation is possible. Henry, while in prison, wrote many of his surprise ending stories, and memorized every word in the dictionary. Now that is using one's time wisely! Because of the prison reform connection, the tiny museum's docents are probationers who receive credit for their work.
Next was Market Square, with it's brightly colored Mexicana goods, open air market,Tex-Mex restaurant, and an authentic Mexican bakery open 24 hours a day! We will return tonight for dinner (and dessert??). Evidently this is the place for festivals, folk dances and mariachi music...
Whew...what a trip! Our toes and feet are tired, but thankfully, we arrived safely.