Last night we had thunderstorms and rain but I heard very little. I must have slept really well. I had a lovely long hot shower in the bathroom block this morning. We went to the campground office to pay our site fees, and asked if there was any discount for ‘Veterans’ (I’d spent 7 years in the Royal Navy in my youth!). The receptionist wasn’t sure and so gave me 10% off as if I’d belonged to the ‘Good Sam’ Club. We also purchased two $4 return bus tickets to downtown San Antonio which included travel on the city’s trolley cars.
Our campground is located just one stop down from SeaWorld on the bus route, which meant there was a frequent service. It was a surprisingly long journey, I’d guess 10 miles or so. Once there we decide to go to the IMAX presentation ‘Alamo- The Price of Freedom’ in the Conference Arcade. This was quite entertaining, as it ought to have been at $19.40 for both of us. We thought it would be a good idea to visit The Alamo www.thealamo.org itself later in the day hoping that by then the cloudy skies and occasional drizzle would have cleared up and we could get some nice sunny photographs. To kill time we went all around town on the ‘Red’ trolley car route.
After our trolley bus tour we walked along quite a lot of the city’s River Walk. This is a popular attraction both for tourists and locals and set along 3 miles of the narrow and slow moving San Antonio River. Here restaurants, shops and café’s abound. The authorities have made a nice job of creating this facility, though it seemed a little manicured and artificial, more like a Disney attraction. Apparently the Christmas season is a popular time to be at River Walk, or Paseo del Rio, when 80,000 lights illuminate the historic facades and bridges, and barges take carol singers along the river.
We then went to visit The Alamo, site of the famous battle between Mexicans and a small band of Texans in 1836. Sadly there is little of the original complex remaining. This was disappointing, especially as we were told this building represented an important moment in America’s history. What does remain of this former Franciscan mission is dwarfed by high rise buildings around it. The most surprising thing of all was to find the names of 13 men from the UK listed among the 188 who died in the battle; in fact more fighters from the UK were involved in the battle than from the state of Texas itself. The best thing of all though was the free admission and the interesting hour or so it gave us.
Finally we decided to go up the ‘Tower of the Americas’ www.toweroftheamericas.com which at some 750ft was the tallest building in town, with a glass fronted lift going up the outside to the viewing area 700ft high. To reach it was quite a long walk from The Alamo, especially as by now the sun was burning through the cloud giving us a partly cloudy, hot and humid afternoon. We arrived there to find the admission fee was $22 including the confounded state tax which gets added to everything, yet is never included in the advertised prices. This was a lot of money, we were up there quite quickly, then walked around the observation deck, took a few photographs and having seen the price of a cup of coffee up there came back down again.
We had our first alfresco barbecue and shared the one remaining can of beer; in future we’ll have to keep more cans in, although neither of us are regular beer drinkers, a really cold ‘canny’ on a hot day is most welcomed.
LOCATION TONIGHT: Admiralty RV Resort, San Antonio, Texas.