Thursday, March 7, 2013

Old and New -- Thurs., Mar. 7

New Braunfels, Texas is where Peri and I did our Volksmarch today. Within the first half-hour of our 11K (6.8 mile) walk we saw a couple of examples of old and new juxtaposed next to each other. That's how I came up with today's title.

Temperature 72 degrees, partially overcast, medium humidity. 

Our walk started at the historic Faust Hotel. The first set of old and new that I noticed was this old cash register with a new laptop sitting next to it.

This is the original cash register used in the hotel.

The 1929 Travelers Hotel (now the Faust Hotel)
Next door to the Faust Hotel were the Faust House and the First Protestant Church (cornerstone laid in 1875).

The Faust House
First Protestant Church
New Braunfels has quite a few large murals. I only have a few in my blog. Many of them are too big to capture in one photo. We walked in the old downtown and passed the Seekart Opera House and the original hardware store, which is still in business.

Seekatz Opera House
Henne Hardware
As we turned off the main street, Seguin, we paralleled the railroad tracks. Our next example of old and new showed up in the old fire station (now a museum) and new fire station next door to each other.

Old fire station built in 1918
New fire station
When we walked past the new fire station, I saw a bright yellow sign on the front of the building that said "Infant Safety Zone." I asked Peri what that meant because I had never seen that on a fire station before. She explained that a baby can be dropped off at the fire station with no questions asked. That must be because young mothers are throwing their newborns in dumpsters or leaving them beside the road. So sad.

As we continued down the street, the next set of building were these silos (?). We don't know what they were for, but there was a distinctive bad odor emanating from the building. Gag me.

As we turned the corner and crossed the railroad tracks, we entered an older residential neighborhood. Immediately next to the tracks was a hair salon called the Hair Depot. Good name. I wonder if it was on the right or wrong side of the tracks? Heh heh, a little blog humor. 

Just up the hill we walked past the Sophienburg Museum which chronicles the history of New Braunfels, Texas. The website gives a quick history on its main page:

In 1845 Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels and a group of emigrants set out from Germany to start a colony in the Republic of Texas. The Prince chose a site on the Comal River because of its abundant water, lush vegetation, and "a good omen." He and his band of pioneers founded New Braunfels, named for his hometown in Germany.
Prince Carl chose a hill overlooking the beginnings of the town and began his plan to build a castle on the site. His home was to be called Sophienburg — Sophie's Castle — for his fiancée, Lady Sophia, Princess of Salm-Salm. He returned to Germany to bring Sophia to Texas, but she refused to leave. Prince Carl chose his fiancée over Texas and stayed in Germany to marry Sophia. He never returned to Texas. Today the Sophienburg Museum and Archives stands on the hill chosen long ago by Prince Carl."

What a story! It will be interesting to go back and visit the museum. I plan to do this walk with Bob because he loves history. This walk is chock full of history markers to read. 

Here are some of the more interesting homes along the walk today:

Back on Seguin Ave., we conquered the other side of the street. The rail line that goes through town has 26 trains a day. We were lucky enough to have to wait for one. It looked like the cars were carrying crushed limestone, probably from one of the quarries in the area.

As soon as the train passed and we walked over the tracks, we were at the Train Museum. Today was not museum-exploration day, so this will be saved for a return visit.

New Braunfels Railway Station built in 1907, now a museum

The next building, the Brauntex Theater, is near and dear to Peri's's where she went to see her niece perform (sing). Peri is a Texas girl who grew up in San Antonio. She has relatives (in-laws) who live nearby. It's fun to hear her take on places she's been and how she grew up.

Brauntex Theater
We walked around one side of the downtown Plaza and saw the Bandstand which was built in 1905. Across the street from the Plaza is the Comal County Courthouse built in 1898.

Comal County Courthouse
I loved these bikes! Quelles couleurs (What colors)! Looks like spring.

We also saw the local poor house...I think we'd only want to go there if we weren't walking or driving.

From downtown we passed the Wurstfest Celebration buildings. Wurstfest is like Oktoberfest on steroids. In 2013, the festival runs from Nov. 1-10. The hall is enormous. It must be a blast to do the chicken dance with that many drunk people. LOL.

The building below is historic Dittlinger's Flour Mill.

See photo below to see what's in the bottom window.
A gigantic stein

Maibaum (May pole)...each scene depicts a part of town history.
Upon entering Landa Park we are near the headwaters spring of the Comal River, the shortest river in Texas. There is so much to see in Landa Park. Murals on the side of a building in the park give the history of the springs, starting with dinosaurs, progressing to the power plant. Here are my favorites.

See photo below for example of what this wall looks like.

Founder's Oak--this is one very OLD tree. Planted in 1700.

Many Germans settled the area. This is an "Early Settlers" memorial with history plaques on all four sides of its base.

Egyptian geese--lots of them in this park.
Earlier we saw the Seekatz Opera House. Here is the monument that tells who Seekatz was. He was one of the oldest settlers of the town (1863). He and his associates manufactured saltpetre from guano for the confederate army.

We walked throughout the park (except the Panther Canyon Nature Trail--another trip!), past the dance slab,  springs, the playground, and trees with identification you'd see in an arboretum.

Upon exiting the park, we passed by the back side of the Wurstfest Hall and found the most colorful murals of the day.

Here we walked along the beautiful Comal River in Hinman Island Park.

 A side stream flowing into the Comal River.

The very best waterpark in the San Antonio area as heard from many locals is the Schlitterbahn Water Park. The park is fed by the spring waters of the Comal River as well as city well water. I can imagine this would be THE place to go when it's 90-100 degrees outside in summer!

Comal River
By this time our feet and legs are tired, our tummies are growling and we're getting whiny. Only 1.6 miles left to go. Next stop was Naegelin's Bakery for some pastries (and we bought some to take home to our spouses too). From there we only had 1/2 mile to go back to our starting point at the Faust Hotel.

It is so much fun to do these walks. Today's walk is one of my favorites in the area (besides the two Riverwalk Volksmarches). There was so much to see and read about. Now I've learned what to bring Bob back to see too. On my Volksmarch Centurion Challenge I have now completed 22 out of my 100 walks for the year.

From the Faust Hotel we drove to Fork and Spoon for lunch. Peri had a turkey/cranberry/cream cheese sandwich on focaccia bread and I opted for macaroni and cheese with a side salad and broccoli. Both of us were full from our pastry so we ended up taking most of our food home.

But wait, my day isn't finished yet. From the walk, I headed north to Camping World to buy a part for our 5er. I got out of there only spending $3.87. Must be a record!

Then it was off to Costco to have my tires balanced and rotated. That was going to take an hour, so I did a little shopping at Costco and made it out of there for $38. Anytime we get out of Costco for less than $100, it's a good thing. When my car was ready, I was told they couldn't rotate the tires because two of them were down to half life and two of them were in good condition. The two bad ones were on the front of the car where the bad suspension was. I guess the suspension problem was bad longer than I thought!

Oh, a correction to the blog about the repairs to my car's front end. The important part that had to be replaced was a coupler. The coupler controls the steering column. It was close to breaking. I can't imagine what would have happened if that broke and I couldn't steer! I'm glad they got that fixed.

Finally it was time to head home. I was beat. And that's it for today. If you read this far you should get a medal!

Welcome to our new follower, Judy of Travels with Emma. She travels with her dog, Emma. Judy loves nature and bird-watching. She is known for ending her blogs with a photo that we referred to in the newspaper business as a "butt shot." So happy to have you as a follower. You can help me identify birds and plants!

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