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~ Kathy M.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The River Walk Area of San Antonio, Texas:

Hello, Friends!

San Antonio, Texas was named after St. Anthony.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

The River Walk is a city park in San Antonio.  I have had such a hard time choosing which photos to put on here of the River Walk itself.  I took so many! Some of the pictures turned out awesome, some not so good, especially the ones that I took at night.  I've decided to not try and go in chronological order on this post, so don't worry about things being shown in the daytime and then nighttime.   

I went on two boat tours, once with us girls (on Saturday night) and the other time with Cary during the day on Sunday. Later Sunday evening, Cary and I caught a river taxi which is the same  (you can buy a 24-hour pass) and had an off-the-beaten path tour of our own because we didn't get off when we were supposed to.  We learned a lot about San Antonio from the two captains that we had on that adventure. 


We were staying at the Grand Hyatt, which is next to the Convention Center, the star on the map on the bottom left hand side of the map.  The horseshoe part of the river is where the action is; full of walking paths, bridges and places to eat.  See that little star on the bottom right hand of the map above?  It says "Locks and Dam".  This the smallest locks in the United States, and here are some pictures that I took on our last night on the River Taxi.  The captains can adjust the water level of the river at the dam so that they can cross over it back and forth.  We met a woman captain and got on to her boat, as our first driver headed up toward the Pearl Brewery.  Just scroll over to better study the map.


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews



Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews



There was a short wait to get aboard the tour boat.  You buy your tickets near the River Center Mall; they cost between $6.00 and $8.50, and I feel that the tour was really worth the money.  The tours run from 9:00 a.m - 9:00 p.m.


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

This the River Center Mall.  It has 1,000,000 square feet and has lots of stores, restaurants and a Macy's where I bought my new boots.  They have music playing outside, often live.  There is also a Hooters, where Cary kept taking the grandsons so that they could get their pictures taken with the nice ladies.


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews



Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Our tour boat captain was Doug.  That pretty lady is my step-daughter Cheri.  Cary and I ended up with Doug too, so I got to hear his spiel twice and most of it sunk in.


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

The gals are hamming it up and were having so much fun!  Kylie, Halie, Cheri, Bev, Jen and Susan are glad that we all got good spots to sit. I sat behind Susan, and we were at the back of the boat.  I was on a mission to take pictures.  There was a motorcycle group sitting next to me, and they were really nice folks.  One guy made sure that I got my answer to how they got all of those Christmas lights on the trees.  They used climbing ropes.


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews


We were lucky that the river had water in it.  This is the first year that they didn't drain it during the week of the Army All-American Game for cleaning purposes.  This is what the river looked like when we were there two years ago: 


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews


This year:


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews


We were also lucky that they still had the Christmas lights plugged in, as it was the last weekend for that.  The colored lights made everything that much more magical.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews


There was so much to see from the vantage point of the boat!  Here are a few of the historical buildings seen from The River Walk:


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
The Mission Bells wall represents the four Spanish Missions that are located in the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, plus The Alamo.  In 1718, Representatives from Spain, along with Franciscan Monks, built their first mission in San Antonio.  Over the next thirteen years, there were five total.  To learn more about those who helped to settle San Antonio, please check out my friend Little Nell's (from Sepia Saturday) husband's blog, The Lanzarte They Left.

We didn't make it over to Mission Park.  There is so much to see and do in San Antonio, that we barely scratched the surface of the downtown area, let alone the rest of the area.  Maybe someday we will be able to go back and take tours, go to the historical museums, parks and experience more of San Antonio.  I hope!



Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

The Tower of the America's is the second tallest free standing building in the U.S., second only to The Stratosphere in Las Vegas.  You can ride an elevator to the observation deck on top to take a look around San Antonio.  It was built for the 1968 World's Fair, and is located in HemisFair Park, behind the Convention Center.  We ran out of time to go to the park, but here is a super link if you want to learn more about it: The Texas Explorer.com: HemisFair Park.


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

St. Joseph's Church still holds services in German.  Please scroll over to read more about it in the photo of the plaque below.




The Courthouse made for some pretty pictures:


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
There are so many bars and restaurants along the River Walk.  I'll be highlighting some with reviews and stories, but here are just a few of them:

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

The Lone Star.  We were not treated well at this joint.  I'll talk about it later.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
The Original Mexican Restaurant.  Our group ate there the night before we arrived, and they were not too happy with it either.  I'm thinking that if you are in a large group, you have less chance of good service.  They all add on a 20% guaranteed tip, regardless.


One of our boat captains mentioned that the owners of this restaurant were the ones to think of beginning the water taxi and tours in the 1980's.  Great idea, you guys!



Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
These guys were taking our picture as we were on the boat, so I took theirs.  That guy is cracking up at me.  I love this picture!

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

This place was really neat.  We just had a drink, but the atmosphere was great and the bartenders were nice.


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
More about the River Walk Itself:


The River Walk is one story below street level.  This means that you can get to most of the shops and restaurants by car or walking down the sidewalk, or you can walk along the San Antonio River and get there that way.  The river is spring fed, and I think that I learned that it surfaces around The Witte Museum.  The river is a real river, and in the shallow parts of the downtown area, it is only between two and five feet.  The main stretch of the river is about 15' deep.  There are waterfalls that circulate the water for oxygen, and this is also a way to keep the spring water as San Antonio's source of drinking water.


 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews
The River Walk is essentially a much needed form of flood control.  There are gates that come down from some of the bridges, and ramps that flip up from the bottom of the canal to block the water during times of heavy rain.  Before this system was developed by Mr. Hugman in the late 1920's and implemented by the city beginning in 1939, flooding was an unfortunate and expensive hazard of doing business downtown.  Over time, the hotels, bars, restaurants, shops and theaters have located in the coveted riverside area.

 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews

This building was named after the man who designed the canal, Mr. Hugman.  He moved his business there to show that he believed that the flood control would work, and others soon followed.

And finally, the city was working on widening a sidewalk, and I loved how they got the Bobcat up and down to the river:


 Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews


Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy ~ Kathy Matthews


There is so much more to tell, but I'll break down the rest into separate stories.  Lots of ghostly vapors and faces showed up in my photos, so stay tuned for those.  There will be reviews on where we ate, where we stayed and much, much more over time.  I need to stop now, because I am afraid that this 5 hour post will crash on me if I don't.

~ Kathy M.

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2 comments:

Grammy Goodwill said...

I always learn so much from your posts and your outstanding pictures. I was captivated by the lights on those trees. It looks like all of you had a great time. Did I miss the Hooters pictures? hehehe Funny about the guy taking your picture while you were taking his. When we were touring New Orleans and I was taking pictures, a guy waved at me - so I asked him to do it again while I took HIS picture.

Little Nell said...

I feel as though I was there with you. What an amazing trip you had and some fantastic photos. I’m learning so much about San Antonio.

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