Monday, March 4, 2013

Sights in and around San Antonio

Whoa! I am really behind on the blog.  What have we been doing since Valentine's Day?  Seems like it is hard to stay inside where you can see the computer screen when it is bright and sunny outside.  And, of course, my brain isn't at its best during the evening hours.  Today I promised myself I would catch up.

Spent a beautiful sunny Sunday, February 16, on the San Antonio river walk. What a fun place to walk and people watch.  Lots of folks out, many young Air Force recent graduates with their parents in the crowd as well as convention goers and other tourists.  We tried to get a Segway tour that day but they were all full.  On weekends you need to make a prior reservation I guess.  We saw two groups of Segways on our walk through town and it looked like fun.  Maybe we can do that while we are in Austin.

Not very good pictures this trip. but you can get the idea of walkways on both sides of the canals, with every kind of restaurant and shop in existence lining the edges.  After an hour of wandering we decided to eat at Salt Grass, an eatery we had tried in Galveston and really liked.  Their balcony overlooked the river so we had entertainment while we ate.

Hilton Hotel runs the river right through its  lobby.

 Marlin on the Salt Grass Restaurant balcony

 View of the Riverwalk from Salt Grass

 Small boats give tours of the canals constantly. This one seems to be empty but most were full the entire time we were eating.  It was fun to hear how different each tour guide explained the historic details of the area.  Seems the building where Salt Grass resides was a private casino during prohibition.

We had planned to come back to San Antonio again, but our time seemed to get filled up with other venues as well as a head cold for Marlin.

When we were in Indianola, we read that after the hurricane of 1886, most of the German population moved inland to towns like Fredericksburg, Victoria, New Braunfels, and Groene.  Along with recommendations from friends and local people, we visited some of these places.  All these cities have managed to preserve an area that reflects the original German towns that dominated this area in the late 1800.

2/17/13  On our way to Fredericksburg, we took a  short detour into Luckenbach Texas.  Unfortunately Willie and Waylon and the boys were not there that day, but they did have a local group playing on stage.  A fun place to stop.

 Looking for a new cowboy hat.

 Popular spot on the weekends.

 Fredericksburg is not only a vibrant shopping spot, nestled in old limestone buildings, it is the home town of Admiral Nemitz and the location of the Museum of the Pacific War.  One of us went shopping and one of us spent the day (plus the next day) in the museum and each had an entertaining experience. (I neglected to take pictures of the town)

 B25 the type of plane flown in the Doolittle raid

 An Australian tank.  If you look closely there is a hole blasted in the top right side.

 The five Sullivan brothers from Waterloo Iowa were on the same ship when it went down.

2/19/13 Another quaint town we visited was Gruene, which is pronounced "Green".  Lots of old buildings, fun shops, fishing guides, and local history.

 This is billed as the oldest dance hall in Texas.  They still have music here on weekends.

 These huge wind chimes were in a tree outside a unique shop selling antiques, junk, candles, jewelry and multiple sizes of these wind chimes.

2/21/13 Not far from Guadalupe River State Park are the Natural Bridge Cavers that we thought we should investigate.  Going into an underground cavern we expected it to be cool so we packed a backpack with fleece and vests.  This cavern was unusually hot and humid.  Our guide had no explanation of why these caves were so warm.  These 180 feet deep caverns were discovered by four St. Mary's University students in 1960 and then developed by the land owners into what is now a busy tourist attraction.

 A short way into the cave there is this live fern growning.  Again, our guide had no idea why or how this green plant could be growing in the cave with no light at all.  He thought it must have been brought in on someones clothing or shoes.

 The Natural Bridge entrance and our tour guide.

 the "Natural Bridge"

Our little cameras did not take very good pictures of the cave formations but when you learn that each calcite deposit grows at about one inch per year, they look much more impressive.

the Natural Bridge from the exit view

2/26/13 We spent a few days on household chores like laundry, cleaning, groceries, etc and a few more recovering from an uncomfortable head cold, then moved on to McKinney Falls State Park just outside Austin. 

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