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So we did San Antonio, almost in one day. The famous River Walk we found lovely in spots but too commercial. And our timing sucked....it was Spring Break week! And also St. Patricks Day week. There were hoards of people, college kids, families with children. It was busier than a New York sidewalk at lunch hour. And for the occasion they dyed the river shamrock green!!! The whole river. "Yep, Y'All had to see it to believe it. Flat boats loaded with tourists streaming by as if it was a boat ride in Disneyland, or in one of them thar fancy hotels in Las Vegas, like the Venetian with it's green Canal and them funny canoes." And the interesting shops we though we'd see along the way? Mostly over-priced restaurants. There was one section called The Valitta, a spur off the main walk, which had some interesting gallerys and shops in old adobes. There was also an outdoor theater which I'm sure is very nice and atmospheric with a smaller crowd on Summer nights
The Alamo was no better. There was a quarter mile line waiting to rent earphones and get into the main adobe building, the one you see in all the pictures with rifles sticking out of all the holes and guys in buckskin fighting the Mexican Army. The famous Jim Bowie knife is in there somewhere. And I think the Davie Crockett coonskin hat too. We watched Remember The Alamo from a redbox movie rental a day before the actual visit. You could rent it if you want to know more. We wouldn't recommend it though. It's a three hour movie and about two and a half hours too long. Sam Eliot sleep-walked through this one. Very fitting that most of scenes showed him in his nightshirt.
We wanted to go inside the adjacent museum and view the exhibits but you couldn't even get close to them for the crowds of people, four deep in front of every artifact. We walked around the grounds and left, past the hoards of families crowding the venues just across the street from the famous iconic Mission-turned-fort. Lined up in a honky-tonk display to rival San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf were the Wax Museum, Ripley's Believe it or Not, and The Hall of World Records with the nine foot guy sitting in the window, mechanically nodding to everyone entering the dark doorway
We then did the City Walk from the Old Market Quarter, with Ilana as tour guide, a task she accomplishes with unrivaled excellence. We saw many of the old town's historic buildings and squares and learned the history of San Antonio.
Towards evening we drove a short ways to the King William Historic District, in the late 1800's the most elegant residential area in the city. It was an odd mixture of elegance and decay.
All in all, we found San Antonio to be a patchwork quilt of different areas looking for a connecting thread. It holds very loosely together with no central theme running through it. Definitely worth seeing but two days was plenty. We are camped out near Canyon Lake now on the Guadalupe River, America's most southern trout fishery.......and probably the biggest toobing hole in the world. More about that later. Happy Spring Break Y'All!