San Antonio, 4-Apr-2014

Friday was Mission day. Having already visited The Alamo, we headed south to see more, then the San Antonio Museum of Art in the afternoon.

We enjoyed not being roused awake in the morning before we were planning. After breakfast, Celeste and Jean picked us up to head south.

Mission Concepción

 Mission Concepción

Mission Concepción

 Mission Concepción

Mission Concepción

The first mission south of The Alamo is Mission Concepción, which is the oldest unrestored stone church in the country. The original mission was originally built in the early 1700's in eastern Texas, but was moved several times before it ended up at its current location in 1731. The church itself took about 20 years to complete, and I was impressed with both its condition and craftsmanship.

 Mission Concepción frescoes

Mission Concepción frescoes

There are several frescoes in the church, which avoided deterioration because of the integrity of the church building. While frescoes were all over both the inside and outside of the church, you can clearly see remnants in only four rooms.

Mission San José

 Mission San José

Mission San José

 Mission San José

Mission San José

Next on the list was Mission San José, sometimes called the "Queen of the Missions". Its condition is also amazing, although restoration work has been done (and was being done while we were there).

As you can see in the second photo, there was yet another portrait being taken on the grounds, this time a woman in her wedding gown.

Unlike The Alamo and Mission Concepción, the outer wall of the mission is intact at Mission San José. It gives you a real sense of the area in which people lived. We could also see some of the living quarters used by the natives.

 Mission San José mill

Mission San José mill

One of the unique exhibits was a working mill. You could see the water go through the mill house, hitting the water wheel, then go inside and see the millstone turning. A docent even demonstrates putting wheat into the mill and the resulting flour.

Lunch

Since we wanted to have enough time to go to the San Antonio Museum of Art, we decided to skip the two other missions (Mission San Juan and Mission Espada) and looked for a place to eat lunch. We decided to try Rudy's Seafood, and had no trouble finding the store. The parking lot was not only small but it was extremely tight. We lucked out because someone was just pulling out of the spot right next to the front door, so we pulled in.

Entering the restaurant, the line was about a dozen people long, and all the tables were taken either by people eating or waiting for their orders. We decided what we wanted (really hard since we didn't know how much food it would end up being) and found a table which had just freed up. The place was so busy that it took well over a half hour for our order, but it was well worth the wait. Melody and I shared an order of fried oysters and another of fish tacos. There was more than enough food, but we did finish everything.

Since our next destination was close to the motel, Celeste parked by our room, and we put her and Jean's leftovers into our fridge. We noticed that housekeeping hadn't been by yet, so rushed out to go see some art.

San Antonio Museum of Art

 Entrance to the San Antonio Museum of Art

Entrance to the San Antonio Museum of Art

We had walked by the San Antonio Museum of Artseveral times, both on the River Walk and on the street. The building has a very imposing edifice, with several floors of flat stone right next to the sidewalk.

 Steinway at the San Antonio Museum of Art

Steinway at the San Antonio Museum of Art

As would be expected, there was a lot of Southwest art, but they also had good collections of Asian artifacts. They also had a Steinway piano from the early 1900s which had very intricate wood inlay, and even had six legs.

Relaxing afternoon, separate evenings

We were ready to relax for the rest of the afternoon, but we were trying to figure out what each of us wanted to do in the evening. One option was to go to Travis Park to get dinner from a food truck then watch Ballet in the Park, with excerpts from Don Quixote and other pieces. Jean and Melody decided to do that, while Celeste and I opted for just relaxing.

Having decided on a plan, we went back to the room, but of course that's when housekeeping decided to show up. We quickly gathered our things while she worked on the room next door, then headed out.

There was an errand to run, picking up a rental car for us to have more room while we went on the road trip part of our vacation. Celeste drove us there, and it didn't take us long to pick up the car. We then went to Local Coffee to kill a couple hours, as well as get good internet access.

The three of us then drove towards the park, and I was hoping to find a good spot so I could join Melody and Jean for dinner, but, not too surprisingly, nothing was available. They hopped out of the car, and I went back to the motel to consider my options.

I settled on walking down the River Walk to eat dinner at The Luxury, a permanent food truck which is extremely popular. It was so popular that they ran out of table markers, so each order was taking a long time, since they had to wait for the next order to go out to give to the next customer. I had a sandwich with fried plantain, black beans, guacamole, ham, and salsa. It sounds bizarre, but it was quite good.

Coincidentally, the ballet program ended about the same time as I finished eating, so I headed south while Melody and Jean headed north, then we all walked to the motel. As we went past The Luxury again, there was a guy sitting there with his laptop plugged into a lamp post. What's interesting is I saw the same guy when I was walking down to dinner.

We drove Jean back to Celeste's, and upon returning to the motel, heard a quite loud concert was going on not far away; it was a bit, but not a lot quieter in the room. By the time we were ready to go to sleep, however, we didn't hear it any more, so that was good.