The train arrived in San Antonio ahead of schedule (that's right - about 45 minutes EARLY! ) We hopped a cab to the hotel, though finding one was indeed a challenge, due to other events in town and the early arrival.
It was a bit humorous at check in: the desk clerk saw the reservation was in my given (girly) name. And for some reason he assumed (remember that old adage about it making an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'?) that my wife was the person who made the reservation. I was checking in, with her beside me, but guess who he made eye contact with most of the time? Hint: it wasn't me. At the time, I interpreted his actions as though I was the husband who was simply doing the paperwork and paying the bill, with a credit card in my wife's name. (Never mind the fact that he had my ID, with my name and sex on it.) He gave most of the verbal info directly to her.
And then he promptly upgraded us to a room with a balcony!
So I presumed that my hair, nails and purse weren't enough to pass muster. It could have been that shorts, a ladies' polo, and white sneakers weren't feminine enough. or maybe it was simply being in the shadow of my wife's radiant image! But whatever the cause, that clerk did an especially efficient job, and soon we were in our room. (With a ceiling fan and an efficient air conditioner to ward off the outside's over-100-degree heat index.) And it was on the east side of the hotel, so the hot afternoon sun was not an issue.
As you can imagine, evenings relaxing on the balcony were wonderful!
The very first stop on our sightseeing list was the famous Texas landmark, the Alamo. This was built in the 18th century as Mission San Antonio de Valero, a Roman Catholic Mission and fortress compound, and today is part of the San Antonio Missions World Heritage Site. It was ceded to the Texan army in December 1835, and occupied by a small number of American soldiers. They (including Davy Crockett and James Bowie) were killed by the Mexicans during the battle of the Alamo on March 6, 1836. And during the Mexican retreat from Texas several months later, they tore down many of the walls and burned some of the buildings. Today it is being restored and maintained by the Texas General Land Office.
And "Remember the Alamo!!" was Sam Houston's rallying cry to the Texan army at the battle with Santa Ana's forces in April of 1836 at San Jacinto,. The Texans won, ending the land battle for the Texas War of Independence.
In one of our evening strolls, I took a picture of the Tower of the Americas, a landmark remaining from HemisFair, the 1968 World's Fair. It was clearly on our list of sights to visit, though time wouldn't permit a meal at the top (and we didn't bring nice enough clothes for a decent restaurant anyway.)
From the enclosed observation deck, that view was absolutely spectacular, all 360 degrees of it. And in this picture, the red-roofed buildings to the right of center and a bit below, are NOT that famous motel chain with the red roof. They're Sunset Station, where the Sunset Ltd and Texas Eagle Amtrak trains arrive.
Following is another view of the Tower of the Americas (HemisFair, 1968 - in the background), with the very, very red "Torch of Friendship", created in June of 2002, foreground. This sculpture stands for the unity and friendship that exists between Mexico, the USA, and Canada, and reflects the different facets of those interrelationships: sometimes festive, at times complex, at times very strong, but in the end, integrated and harmonious. Given the political and economic events of the last few weeks/months, I hope the "complex relationship" between the three neighbors will survive intact and eventually prosper once again!
More to follow!!