San Antonio! What a Town! February 17-20

Part 1

We arrived at Braunig Lake RV Park (Passport America $27/night) around 1:30 PM on Sunday the 17th. We did a quick set up and headed downtown. Being retired and not keeping up with what day it is can sometimes come crashing in. It was Sunday, and the following day was the President’s Day holiday and we certainly remembered when we entered downtown! Whoops!

We got downtown with no trouble but the place was packed. The wait to get in to the Alamo was more than 2 hours and the Visitor’s Center was overrun. Plan B: we decided to do a riding tour around the historic areas and then eat some Texas barbecue. We go local and enjoy eating at local restaurants in all the places we visit. No chains just good, local, delicious food. We chose Big Bib Barbecue on Lanark Drive. 4.5 stars on TripAdvisor, yelp, and google plus several locals recommended the place.

Big Bib smokes their meats for 14 hours on mesquite and have many options. The food was okay but the people were awesome. I had the chicken and Ray got the brisket. Fresh Texas veggies, drink, bread and a variety of sauces (all home made and I liked the Bib’s hot and spicy) all for under $20 for two. It was finger lickin’ tasty

Smoked Chicken, Potato salad, collards, and bread!

We went home and prepared for an early day on the 18th. We headed for the Alamo and arrived before it opened. We were 7th in line and talked to a great Texas Ranger while we waited. He was from Lake Erie and moved to a warmer climate. Interesting person. The Alamo is free admission and they have several rules concerning reverence, including: no hats, no food or drink, and no photography. The Alamo is considered to be a Shrine of Texas Liberty and hallowed ground.

The fort/mission is 300 years old and was a mission from 1700-1793 but is best known as were the siege of the Alamo occurred in 1836. Texas gained freedom from Mexico in 1837 and was the independent Republic of Texas until it joined the Union on February 19, 1846. The walls of the Alamo are under restoration and can not be touched as they are very unstable. There are several period re-enactments on the grounds that are very informative.

The defenders of the Alamo were everyday folks. Best known were: Colonel James Bowie, Colonel Davy Crockett, and Lt. Colonel William Barret Travis, The soldiers who survived were ordered killed by President General Antonio López de Santa Anna and their bodies were burned. More info on the defenders: http://www.thealamo.org/remember/history/defenders/index.html

Interesting fact: during restoration graffiti from the soldiers was found on the second floor beams. The graffiti survived the destruction of the battle. Fact 2: the battle was one sided and the siege lasted 13 days:
189 Defenders from the Union
3,000 Mexican soldiers

I was very moved by this experience and learned a lot more than was taught in history classes. The Alamo holds an important place in our history and should be visited. 3 Million visitors go annually. To put it in perspective, Myrtle Beach, SC gets 14 million annually. Ummm.

Historic Hotel alongside the Alamo

After the Alamo we headed to San Fernando Cathedral, built 1738-1750 by Canary Island settlers and is the oldest cathedral in Texas. It is a combination of Gothic, Gothic revival, and Colonial architecture. The remains of the defenders of the Alamo are interred there and prior to the siege of the Alamo General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna raised the flag of “no quarter” from the cathedral tower. https://sfcathedral.org/our-parish

Part 2: Briscoe Western Art Museum and Riverwalk – to be continued!

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