Monday, March 25, 2013

Cool, Clear Water -- Mon., Mar.25

Bakeries, a general mercantile and cool, clear water. After breakfast we headed north to New Braunfels, Texas. Naegelin's Bakery was our destination to eat our "breakfast dessert." So many choices for us German ladies who had a bakery in our family in Germany. We know good pastry. With our treats bagged up, we headed to Landa Park.

I took Mom and Jan to see Comal Spring, headwaters of the Comal River. While we were there, a man came to the spring with three plastic gallon bottles to fill them for free, direct from the fast-flowing water coming out of the ground. We walked to the car and found six empty water bottles to fill. The spring water is very good, almost sweet.

So many ducks and geese were out and about. When my sister got out of the car with the bag of pastries, two geese immediately approached her, honking and insisting we feed them. We didn't. Because of all the geese at our first stop, we drove to a different location in Landa Park with a view of the river, that was in the sun, where we could eat our rolls in peace. A table in the sun was important because it was cold outside! When we left the 5er at 9:00 a.m., the temperature was 44 with wind chill of 35 degrees. Most of the day we wore our heavy coats.

As we ate our pastries, geese, ducks and a nutria came to visit us.

Male wood duck
Muscovy duck
Jan and Mom at Landa Park.
From Landa Park we drove through Hinman Island Park along the Comal River and made another stop at Naegelin's bakery. Mom and Jan wanted more pastries because the first ones they ate were so good. A quick drive through old town New Braunfels and we cruised past the Sophienburg Museum which chronicles the beginning of New Braunfels.

Gruene was a place Bob and I had driven through on a crazy-busy market day so we hadn't stopped due to the crowds. Today we headed to Gruene (pronounced green), easily found parking, and walked through town. The Gruene General Store held our attention for almost an hour. Mom and Jan bought gifts for family and friends in Oregon. Plus we goofed around, read signs in the store and had a regular giggle fest.

Antique store
Historic marker -- Gruene General Store
Gruene General Store
Old license plates adorn the floor
Gruene General Store has an old-time feel.
Many signs to read.
We be stylin' Minnie Pearl style.
Jams, jellies, relishes, salsas, butters, syrups.

Across the street from the General Store is the famous Gruene's Dance Hall. John Travolta's angel movie "Michael" was filmed here.

Beautiful display of cacti.
For our lunch choice we were headed to Oma's Secret Garden, but it wasn't open today. We found Gruene River Grill instead. I think we were meant to stumble back off the main street and eat here. We found exactly what we wanted: a cup of homemade tortilla soup and a shredded oriental salad. Plus we had a view of the river flowing by a couple of stories down.

Shredded Oriental Salad
Gruene River Grill decor.
Mom & Jan inside Gruene River Grill.
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
While Mom is here, she wanted to go on a glass bottom boat tour. What better place than Texas with its fresh water (72 degrees), clear water? In San Marcos we drove around the old downtown to see the courthouse and historic buildings, then went to Aquarena Springs, headwaters of the San Marcos River, at the Texas Rivers Center. After buying our boat tour tickets, we had 1/2 hour to look around. We went in the museum to read up on aquifers, springs, swamps, lakes and reservoir. Then we headed out to the boat.

Aquarena Springs glass bottom boat tour.

On the tour the boat floats effortlessly over many kinds of seaweed. The Balcones Fault is visible in the underwater canyon as are hundreds of springs bubbling up from the sand below. The force of the water flowing out of the springs is so strong, no aquatic plants can take root. We saw turtles, bass, sunfish and tetras.

The newly built/restored Wetlands Walk was quite relaxing. We watched turtles sunning themselves, tilapia darting away from us in a frenzy of activity, great egret preening itself and a great blue heron hunting.

Turtle camo
Another turtle.

Great blue heron stalking prey.

Great egret with breeding plumage.
Our tour day is complete. Now all we have to do is drive an hour back to San Antonio. Was today a holiday? Traffic was very light.

Enchiladas verdes plates from Taqueria Guadalajara across the street from the RV park had just the right food at just the right time. The enchiladas came with seasoned rice and refried beans.

We ate our food while we watched a movie Mom had brought it with her from home. "Queen of Versailles" is a documentary that shows the extravagances of some people with money. They were in the process of building their 90,000 sf dream mansion when the real estate bubble burst in 2008. They lived so extravagantly.

After the move, we sent Mom and Jan on their way. I am falling asleep at the computer, so I better get some sleep. Tomorrow's a big day in Corpus Christi/Padre Island. Oh boy. We get to stick our toes in the Gulf water!

Good night!