San Antonio River Walk

San Antonio River Walk
The San Antonio River Walk at night.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

San Fernando Cathedral- San Antonio Texas

For more on San Fernando Cathedral, see my photos and brief mention on this blog from last year.  This place is so spectacular though, we knew we had to spend some more time here again this year.

Here are a few photos from the church (and a few from the museum/gift shop right by the church).

I am not an expert on etiquette at a Catholic church, but this place seemed welcoming and pleasant.  No one seemed to mind our exploring the place and taking photos.  A man did ask us if we knew where candles were sold, and my wife told him about the gift shop.  I do like the whole candle thing, and I think its very sweet.

I do like the statues around the place too, and all of the tradition that goes along with the faith, and with an older church like this.

AND I LOVE this church's very direction connections to the famous Battle that happened in 1836.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Rosarios Mexican Restaurant in San Antonio Texas

Rosario's was recommended by everyone in San Antonio, so we stopped by.  This was the best meal we had while in town, and we really liked this place!  The service was great and quick, and we really enjoyed their salsa.

For the record, we ate at a few other Mexican places in town- they were OK, but not worth mentioning here.  One place served salsa that was comparable to hot tomato soup.

BUT, Rosario's was that one great Mexican restaurant we hoped to find while in town.  Check out my photos!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Turkish Lamps on the River Walk San Antonio

I wanted to take a moment to give a HUGE endorsement to my new pal Halid's Turkish Mosaic Lamp business.

Check out these photos I took of some of his lamps on display along the River Walk.  The pictures look good, but they absolutely do not do them justice.

They are MUCH more colorful than the photos show.  He said that they are made in Turkey.

We went by his set up about 3 times and loved them.  We knew we were going to have to buy some, but we walked by on our way to some other attractions around time.  We weren't able to carry lamps around as we explored.

BUT, we made a special trip to visit Halid at the end of our time in town.  No joking, among my party of 4, we ended up buying SEVEN lamps from Halid!  He gave us a GREAT deal, and we were all thrilled with our purchases.  I have a gorgeous blue and purple one in my house right now that I LOVE!

These lamps are spectacular, and I have seen similar ones for a LOT more than what Halid was charging. 

Halid was set up along the River Walk one weekend when several other local artists and merchants were also set up.  We did notice that a kiosk in the Rivercenter Mall was also called River Walk Gift Shops selling the same lamps- so make sure you check them out if you are in town!


Monday, March 20, 2017

Sisters Grimm Ghost Bus Tour San Antonio Texas

Last year in San Antonio, we did the Sister's Grimm Ghost Walk.  We had a good time.  Also, our guide told us that the company was just starting to do a "Ghost Bus Tour" which we thought about trying to squeeze in on that trip, but we ran out of time. 

So, on our visit this year, we made sure we had time to do the Ghost Bus Tour with Sisters Grimm.

Our guide, James, was great.  he was funny and witty... and also dark when the time was right.

The bus tour got together in front of the Menger Hotel.  Well, after introductions and all, James drove the Ghost Bus maybe a few inches, then stopped so we could all go into the Menger.

James told us some interesting stories about the historic hotel.  Standing next to the Alamo, the Menger has a ton of history in its own right- with a bunch of ghost stories, and the fact that Teddy Roosevelt spent a lot of time here.  Many other Presidents have stayed here too.

James then took us to a few more places around town, including the old red light district.  A very interesting part of the old red light district relates to a book that was available for a time WITH A RATING SYSTEM for the girls in the area.  I did not make that up, and I am pretty sure James didn't either.

We also stopped by the old jail in town which is now a hotel.  James told a brutal story involving a hanging that occurred there.  Everyone on the bus was paying attention for this one!

Our last stop was at a cemetery where we walked around as James told several stories relating to graves.  Names like Menger and Borglum came up as we explored.  We had a very nice time walking around here too!

As James drove, he kept the stories coming.  When we passed by the Sheraton Gunter, he told us about a very creepy crime committed in that hotel.  He also displayed various photos relating to the stories on a TV screen at the front of the bus.

Flashlights and EMF detectors were made available during the tour for those interested.

James and his wife Lauren have written a book on the ghosts of San Antonio too, so it was pretty cool getting a tour from an actual author!  The book has some of the stories James covers on the Bus Tour and more, so you definitely want to read that before your visit to town!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sheraton Gunter Hotel in San Antonio Texas

We swung through the Sheraton Gunter Hotel in San Antonio again while we were there.  We ended up spending a bit more time there this time than last.

The place is old and historic, and it has such a cool vintage vibe.  I really love being able to stand in a spot that probably looks the same as it did many decades ago.

We stopped by again, because this hotel is a "must visit" for any blues and rock fan.  I explained the Sheraton Gunter Hotel's significance before, but half of the still existing recordings of blues legend Robert Johnson were done here in room 414.

ALSO, on our ghost tour we did with the Sisters Grimm, they told us about another very violent and strange crime that occurred here.  I won't go into the details of that one, but the hotel does have some strange history- adding another interesting story to the history of San Antonio.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tower of the Americas- San Antonio Texas

I do love space needles, and anywhere high where I can look out over a beautiful town.  Well, we stopped by the Tower of the Americas again on this trip. 

I kind of covered its history, and gave more info about it here last year, so I won't repeat myself.

We did enjoy stopping by here again though, and we loved seeing their 4-D movie about Texas again.

Anyway, here are some photos from this year!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Kings X Toy Soldiers in San Antonio Texas

I don't admit this to everyone, but I love to paint toy soldiers.  I have done it for a long time now.  I started in my teens, painting mostly 32nd scale WWII soldiers.  Lots of Germans.  That is a popular era, and quality toy soldiers of that time are readily available and affordable.  I would buy mine at Wal-Mart and K-Mart back then.

Well, I have really been on a Civil War kick over the last few years, and I got back in to painting soldiers again through my interest in that conflict.

AND, with our recent visits to the Alamo, and reading up on that fight, I have found myself painting 2 inch tall Alamo Defenders and their attackers.

My cousin actually used to live in San Antonio, and he told me that I had to stop by the toy soldier shop in the Menger while there.

Well, Kings X is that toy soldier shop in the Menger. 

Kings X sales mostly very detailed miniatures produced by King & Country.  They have an amazing diorama set up depicting the Alamo in their shop.

There were some other battles shown around the shop, but obviously with the actual Alamo just feet away, that battle is what you want to see in miniatures.

AND, a highly detailed hand painted miniature is, in many ways, the PERFECT souvenir of your trip.  Also, with the Menger's connection to Teddy Roosevelt, picking up the Kings X exclusive Teddy figure here is a no-brainer.  Yes, I bought one.

I also picked up a bag of very detailed TSSD Alamo soldiers that are unpainted- so I can paint them back home while remembering our time in San Antonio!

Their Alamo diorama alone is worth stopping by to check it out.  It is amazing!

Buy something while you are there though.  Like I said, having a cool Alamo soldier, bought from a place where the battle happened makes for a cool shelf item to take home.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

San Antonio and the Alamo

So, like I said, we JUST got back from our second trip to San Antonio in less than a year.  San Antonio is the kind of place that is worthy of repeat visits.  It is alive and colorful.  It is unique and fun.  AND, there is enough history to justify several trips to soak it all in.

On this trip, there were many things we did the first time around, that we felt the need to do again (visit the Alamo, stop by some of the historic hotels, walk all over the River Walk).  AND, there were some things we wanted to do this time we missed out on the first time around.

One of our friends said that they wanted to make sure that we did the River Walk.  I tried to explain that, downtown, doing the River Walk is like doing the sidewalk in most other cities.  Its everywhere, and you are going to be on it as you get to most places.

I personally wanted to get more Alamo time in this time around too.  I was also particularly excited about learning more about the battle and all.  Luckily, the Alamo offers "Battlefield Tours" several times a day for those people wanting to learn more....  Plus, there is an impressive museum inside of the mall by the Alamo that has some great relics relating to the historic fight.

So, over the next few days I will get some of my photos from the trip up.........

Friday, March 10, 2017

"A Time To Stand- The Epic of the Alamo" by Walter Lord

I read Walter Lord's "A Time To Stand" shortly after reading "Exploring the Legends of the Alamo" by Wallace O. Chariton.  In fact, "A Time to Stand" was mentioned in the Chariton book a few times, so I thought it would be worth picking up.

Walter Lord's book is simply an interesting read, that offers an easy to understand telling of the events that went down at the Alamo.  He tells about the people involved, what brought them to the Alamo, and he explains all of the politics surrounding the fort and it's importance.

Like Chariton, he does get into some of the mysteries and questions that still linger (there is a brief chapter towards the end of the book titled, "Riddles of the Alamo").  Lord brings up the various questions, and then gives brief, to the point facts known abut the legends.

He also notes all of the men who fell at the Alamo, clarifying that, as newly discovered records sometimes pop up, the list can change.

I would highly recommend this one to anyone thinking about visiting the historic place.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

"Exploring the Legends of the Alamo" by Wallace O. Chariton

After visiting the Alamo in San Antonio in 2016, and knowing that we would be there again in 2017, I wanted to read up a little more on the Alamo.

The story is a great one.  A rugged bunch of pioneers against Santa Anna's much larger army.....

Plus, it went down in 1836.  Reports, first hand accounts, and records in general are pretty scarce.

AND there are some conflicting bits of information here and there.

Luckily, Wallace O. Chariton has put together the very fun to read book, "Exploring the Legends of the Alamo".

Even if you aren't familiar with the story of the Alamo, this would be a good starting point.  Chariton gives most of the basics of the battle and the events as he discusses "the Legends."

In this volume, Wallace Chariton is trying to resolve some of the mysteries about the battle.  He looks at who said what about the events.  He discusses the reliability of the sources too, which gets interesting!

Chariton discusses some intriguing topics/legends/rumors.  He debates the possibility that some of those at the Alamo surrendered, and did not die fighting.  He asks about why a 400 person army did not come to the aid of those at the Alamo- and he also considers what may have happened if they had helped.  He speculates about how survivor Susanna Dickinson's reports have preserved...  and confused the story.

One chapter in particular that I enjoyed covered a man who MAY have left the Alamo just before the final battle.  His intriguing story becomes very cloudy since his existence is in question, and his stories are told by someone else, many years later.

There is confusion about numbers (how many men exactly died at the Alamo?).  There is confusion about names, and who was where during the battle.

Luckily, Wallace O. Chariton covers it all in a very easy to understand way, making this a fun and interesting book to read about the legends of the Alamo!

Monday, March 6, 2017

San Antonio Texas..... AGAIN!

You may recall that last year, we went to San Antonio to visit the Alamo and some other sites....

Well, we had a great time, and that town quickly became one of those places I was looking for an excuse to visit again!

So, a few months ago one of our friends that travels with us sometimes was suggesting some weekend trips we could all do together.  Well, San Antonio made its way into the discussion.

Our friend had never been, and, after thinking about it, we realized that we would be game for going back again less than a year later!

This also gave me a chance to read a few more books on the Alamo, to research the area some more, and to just indulge in all of that San Antonio coolness.

Over the next several days, we will be bringing up our SECOND visit to San Antonio Texas!

Friday, March 3, 2017

"Remembering Kentucky's Confederates" by Geoffrey R. Walden

Geoffrey R. Walden's "Remembering Kentucky's Confederates" from the Images of America series is a great reference to have around if you are interested in the Civil War in Kentucky.

It is mostly photos, with descriptions about the person or people in the shots.  There are photos and names you would expect to see in a book on the Confederacy in Kentucky.  Sue Mundy, John Hunt Morgan, and John C. Breckenridge all appear.  You know members of the Todd family show up too!

I was most impressed with some photos relating to Morgan's Raiders.  It is probably one of the most famous photos associated with the group.  It is a rough looking bunch of Morgan's men taken at Western Penitentiary in Pittsburgh, where the men were held prisoner at the time.  Well, this book contains some more information on each of the men in the picture, including individual photos of each man!

There are some great reunion photos from after the war too, along with some cool early photos of monuments around the state!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

President Chester Asrthur State Historic Site in Fairfield Vermont

We drove a bit out of our way to visit the President Chester Arthur State Historic Site in Fairfield Vermont.  We were OK with the driving though, as driving anywhere in Vermont is part of the fun.

The replica house (built in 1953 using photos of the original) is very small, and only open on certain days.  Unfortunately, we were there on a day when the actual house was not opened up, but we were able to look around, and see through the windows.  Again, it is small, and I am not sure if going inside would have added much to the visit.

The area is very secluded.  We did see one person jogging on the road nearby, but otherwise, we felt like we had the area to ourselves.

There is a monument where it is believed Arthur was born right beside the replica home.

We did not spend a lot of time here, but it is always exciting visiting a site associated with a President's birth.