San Antonio and Austin

Trip Start Jan 27, 2010
Trip End Apr 28, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hello everyone, we are enjoying Texas. It is really warm. We went and had a look in downtown San Antonio on Saturday and saw the Alamo, a very important part of Texas history. We went inside the Mission San Antonio de Valero which serves as a shrine to the Texans who died during the war for independence against Mexico. The mission church and a few barrack wall fragments are all that remain of the Alamo. We saw a short film which told the story of the 13 day siege, it was really interesting. We went for a walk along the Riverwalk, a really pretty walk along the river, right in the center of downtown below the street level. It's lined with shops, cafés and restaurants. There were heaps of cute little ducks swimming around. Went walked down there on the way to the Alamo early and then later we went back along it and then it was packed with people. We also walked to the marketplace, a historic market square and some of the shops building date back to 1820. It was nice to walk around and was like being in Mexico, selling Mexican souvenirs, food and drink. It got quiet hot by the afternoon and went back to our hotel for an afternoon nap, we aren’t used to it being warm! We had dinner across the road from our hotel, the meals were pretty good and they were huge.

Today we drove to Austin, only about a 70 mile drive from San Antonio. We stopped in a really nice town on the way called Gruene. We were pretty early and nothing was opened so we just had a walk around the town and saw some of the historic buildings. We got back onto the highway and drove through some towns and past some cattle farms. The landscape was really green. We saw our first longhorn cattle. There are wildflowers everywhere along the side of the road and we saw lots of the bluebonnets, the state flower of Texas. There were some many huge Texan state flags flying, they are very proud of their state. We got to Austin and we drove to the Mellow Johnny’s bike shop in downtown which is owned by Lance Armstrong. There are lots of the bikes Lance has ridden on, on display along with a signed jersey from all of his Tour de France wins and also photo’s and other memorabilia. Alan was in heaven! We just bought a heap of drink bottles for people at home, a couple of t-shirts and some bike clothes for some-one else back home. We drove to the Texas State Capital building which was built in 1888. It was really interesting building and it’s actually 15 feet taller than the US Capital building in Washington. We had a walk around the downtown area and went to the spring fed Barton pool. The water was really and clear and the park was full of families having BBQ lunch for Easter, they all smelt really good. Some families had everything but the kitchen sink and it must have taken hours to pack everything! We went for a walk along the river, a pretty walk.

We checked in to our hotel about 5 miles from the capital building and had dinner at the ihop restaurant next door which has home style cooking. We both had a schnitzel which cost $10 each, they were huge and even Alan couldn’t eat it all!

We drove back to the downtown after dinner and went to the Congress Ave Bridge. We’d read that up to 1.5 million Mexican free tailed bats swarm out nightly from under the bridge, between late March to November. We got a good spot right next to the river and waited. We saw some huge turtles on the bank and a small one came quite close for a while. We had to wait a fair while and a woman next to us said because the night was a bit cooler we wouldn’t see many. It was nearly dark when we started to see a few bats flying over and then we saw quite a few together. Tomorrow we are driving to Fort Worth where we are staying for 3 nights, talk to you soon, Dianne and Alan
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