Saturday, March 23, 2013

Missions and King William Historic District -- Sat., Mar. 23

Last night we picked up Mom and my sister, Jan, from the San Antonio airport. Online I had been following their flight status all day. Their plane had been delayed in Portland and again in Salt Lake City. All evening, their predicted flight arrival time was 9:56 p.m. We planned to leave the 5er at 9:40. Just before we walked out the door at 9:40, I checked the arrival time and the web site said their flight landed at 9:40 p.m. Yikes!

We raced off to the airport. We figured they would need a few minutes to de-plane and collect their baggage. At 9:54, my cell phone rang. It was my sister wondering if we were on the way. They were waiting at the curb with their luggage. We got there eight minutes later, hugged, gathered up their bags and were on our way.

They are staying at one of the "cabins" at our RV park. It is very nice to have them only six sites away. Their cabin has a full kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, desk area, dining area and a sofa bed in the living room. It's cool because there's a room divider to close off half the living room to make a private room.

Today started out mellow at 10:45 a.m. Our first stop was Mission San Jose where we watched the National Park Service movie and walked around the mission grounds.

[NOTE: Today's itinerary sounds like it would take a long time, but the distance between the missions is only two to three miles each, about eight miles total roundtrip. This does not include The Alamo.]

Water powers the grist mill. The park service
only runs this on weekends.
The grist mill.
Inside the mission grounds. Indians
lived in rooms built into the outer wall of the compound.
Jan, Mom and I in front of the Convento.
Jan, Bob and Mom
Jan, me, Mom
 Next stop, the acequias (aqueduct).

And on we went to Mission Espada. Mission Espada has not been restored, but is preserved so it will not deteriorate more. Priests live next to the Convento. They have plantings of gorgeous flowers, and a couple of fluffy cats roaming the grounds.

There is a fused glass art gallery on the premises run by Brother Jim, who is the artist.

Bob explaining how horses came to Texas
(brought to North America by the Spaniards.)
The church at Mission Espada
Mom and Jan outside the priests' quarters. (The fused glass
art gallery is here.)
Brother Jim with his art. He makes plates, bowls,
glass window hangings, and necklaces.
Another piece of Brother Jim's glass art.
Some of Brother Jim's glass art is 3-D. He achieves this effect by "tacking" pieces of glass to the top of the original art piece. He heats the base and smaller glass pieces to a lower temperature and they become tacky. He places the smaller decorative pieces on top of the base and they will stick but not completely melt together. 

Next up: Mission San Juan. This mission was under construction the last time I went AND it was after hours, so I didn't get to spend time there. This time we were able to walk the grounds, although the visitor center was closed for lunch. The 1/3 mile Yanaguana Trail beckoned to us and we hiked that too.

Mission San Juan in miniature
Mission San Juan. (Interior closed for refurbishing.)
Bob, Mom & Jan at Mission San Juan.
Permission to Enter Mission San Juan--you had
to talk to the portero.
Yanaguana Trail at Mission San Juan.
Baby blue eyes flower (Nemophila phacelioides)
Jan, Mom, Bob on Yanaguana Trail,
Mission San Juan
We were getting hungry and hot. Time for a break! Off we went to the 5er and had tuna sandwiches, garden salad, chips, and tangerines. With full tummies, we headed off to King William Historic District and drove through to (1) locate the Beethoven Mannerchor Halle und Garten for an event this evening (Stiftstungfest) and (2) to show the beautiful homes to Mom and Jan.

Bob was our tour guide, giving us his knowledge of the history of San Antonio, The Old Spanish Trail, and facts about places we visited. He did a wonderful job. For a special side trip, he took us along one part of the Riverwalk where he runs, about two miles from our RV park, to show us a lovely field of blooming bluebonnets. We also saw some pink evening primroses which are in full bloom. Thank you History Sponge, Bob.

After the brief driving tour of King William Historic District, we did a Costco run and showed Mom and Jan where Bob works. Mission complete. Groceries needed to be put away so we headed back to the 5er.

Bob elected not to go with us to the Stiftungsfest. Oregon Ducks basketball was on TV, a game not to be missed.

Mom, Jan and I were on our own to go to the Stiftungsfest event which we thought would include German food, a biergarten, polka and chicken dances, and a nice evening sitting outside drinking. Ha! We wish.

The reality was this...We arrived at Beethoven Mannerchor, walked in the door, and nothing was really happening at 6:00 p.m. People just looked at us. This is the clubhouse for a German society. There was a bar and some people were eating. We looked and felt lost.

Then a gregarious German gentleman welcomed us from his table. We asked him about the event. He told us the music would start about 7:00 p.m. We asked him if there was food. He pointed to a table that had four big crock pots and a sign that said $5.00 which included everything on the table: bratwurst, sauerkraut, marbled bread and a stew-like dish made with corned beef, cheese and potatoes. He said we could take a plastic spoon and sample the stew and we did. The bartender came over and gave us "stink eye" (as we said in Hawaii). We told the bartender the German gentleman (to whom we pointed) told us we could sample the "stew." He didn't seem very happy about that. Anyway, we bought the $5.00 dinners which were good. The bartender made a happy face.

With an hour to kill before the event started, we walked Eagleland Reach on the south part of the Riverwalk. A long building above the Riverwalk on South Alamo St. had murals along the length of it. My sister spotted a red-tailed hawk sitting in the tree. Here are photos from our Riverwalk and King William Historic District.

Jan with a flower in her hair.
A small part of the mural
Are you interested in owning a historic 1912 church?
This one's for sale.

Esperanza, yellow bells (Tecoma stans)
A stand of cypress trees along this part of the Riverwalk was
saved in 1964 by a group of citizens. The trees are still there today.
Red-shouldered hawk.
Eagleland Reach, San Antonio Riverwalk South
Pie-billed grebe.
San Antonio River
Pioneer Flour Mill tower.
The ultra-shy least bittern.
King William Historic District.
The following house was the home of Robert H. H. Hugman, architect of the Riverwalk, from 1927 to 1930. In 1970, the home was converted into four apartments.

This cute house is for sale in King William Historic District.
This historic home houses the offices of the
San Antonio Teachers' Association.
Another cool-looking house with great brick work.

Claret cup cacti
At the end of our Riverwalk exploration, we headed back to Beethoven Mannerchor. When we arrived, the guests were dressed in suits and nice dresses. We were in jeans, shorts, slacks, casual shirts. Hmm, definitely not the kind of celebration we were expecting! A couple of people explained they were celebrating their club's birthday. We met a lady in the restroom and told her we didn't feel dressed enough to attend. She said, "Pshaw!" and invited us in. She and the gregarious gentleman we met earlier in the evening were the only two who asked us to join them.

Instead of being outside on a nice spring evening, the people were all crammed in a little room in the clubhouse. The program was all German but, from what I could read, there were going to be band performances and the club choirs were going to sing. All the seats were taken. No one in the room invited us in when they saw us standing outside watching the band play. Of course almost every seat was taken. Extra chairs were stacked against a far wall, but no one was putting them out for the people standing who WERE a part of the club. We called it a night because it definitely wasn't the fun, oom-pah-pah party we expected.

On the way home, we stopped at H-E-B so Mom and Jan could buy a few provisions for their kitchen. I gave them a box of Kleenex and four eggs from our 5er because we have plenty.

Today is a wrap. Tomorrow's itinerary: the downtown Riverwalk, The Alamo, Brackenridge Park, maybe the San Antonio Botanic Garden, Hemisphere Park, Tower of the Americas with dinner in Chart House's revolving restaurant at sunset.

Travel Bug out.