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Riverwalk and Alamo

October 16, 2013

Texas – Wednesday, October 9

I had read quite a bit about San Antonio and was looking forward to seeing some of it. I headed to the post office first to mail some postcards, and that was right downtown by the riverwalk. I had to drive around a bit to find a place to park, and the lot I found was close to one of the many entrances down to the riverwalk, which is one level below street level. And it was fascinating. The San Antonio River runs through the heart of downtown, and this part of it looked like a canal. In the downtown area, there were lots of restaurants with seating right by the canal/river, and other shops also opened up to the river level. It was designed to be reminiscent of the canals in Venice, complete with arched bridges and tourist “barges” for guided tours. From the downtown area, the riverwalk continues on through other parts of town, and turns into a bike trail, so there are miles and miles of trails altogether. I passed some tile artwork, including one with a chocolate lab walking along the riverwalk! Tula and I walked 7 miles without stopping. There were dog water bowls wherever there were drinking fountains – San Antonio was a very pet-friendly city. As we returned to the downtown area, I had worked up an appetite, and found a dog-friendly cafe to sit down at right by the canal/river. They even brought out a bowl of ice water for Tula! I splurged a bit and ordered a half rack of baby back ribs – I love ribs and hadn’t had any for ages, so I was really looking forward to them. When they arrived, they weren’t quite what I was expecting – huge bones of pork that really weren’t very tender. I asked the server if they were out of baby back ribs, and she said there might have been a problem, and went back to talk with the chef. She came back to tell me the chef insisted they were baby back ribs – just a bigger cut, and that I couldn’t argue with the chef. Huh? I politely disagreed with that, and finished eating because I was starting to run out of time for my next plans.

Tula had had enough walking, so I put her back in the van and turned the A/C on – it was really hot and humid out. Then I headed for the Alamo, which surprisingly is not a national park site – definitely a historic one though, and I was glad it was a place I could visit. The defense of the Alamo is a huge piece of Texas history, even though it wasn’t a winning defense. Nearly all the soldiers defending the fort died in the battle, although the women and children inside survived along with a few other people. Jim Bowie (of Bowie knife fame) and Davy Crockett were both commanders at the Alamo, and both lost their lives in its defense. One of the signs said the stubborn defense of the Alamo earned its defenders hero status and the Alamo its status as a shrine. The fact that the Alamo is called a shrine surprised me. I always thought shrines were religious places, but I learned there are also patriotic shrines, and that’s what the Alamo was. The Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and the Vietnam Memorial in Washington DC are 2 other patriotic shrines. Visitors could go inside the original buildings (with very thick walls!) and look at some relics, but the lighting was kept low, and photos were not allowed. There were donation boxes in several places, and it had been a long time since I’d made a historical donation, and you can’t get much more Texan than the Alamo! It was fun to put a donation into a box inside such an old historic building.

I headed back to the van and got Tula out for a short walk through one other historic part of town, and then headed back to the motel. I had walked 9.5 miles today. I thought a little more about my disappointing meal, and thought I would call the manager – I know I wasn’t eating baby back ribs, and didn’t like how it was handled. The manager listened politely to my story, and then he told me it was very interesting on several counts – the chef had not been in today (there were cooks but not the regular chef), and the chef had also been experimenting with wild boar ribs for a holiday dish, and he suspected I’d been given wild boar ribs instead of baby back ribs, and he asked me how I liked them, and I was honest – not something I’d order again! He invited me back for a meal on the house if I could get back there, so I’ll see how the day goes tomorrow.





























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