The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

A Whirlwind Tour of San Antonio

Since I was gone all day Friday, I missed the email message from another Women RV forum member saying she would be in town on Friday on her way from Florida to California.  Thank goodness she texted me Saturday morning when she was about two hours away.  I gave her directions to my house and a little later she arrived.  She said she really hated to just pass through San Antonio without seeing the Alamo and the Riverwalk so, after a little backyard time for her dogs, we decided to make that wish happen.  My son Steve and grandson Cameron said they were always up for a trip downtown too so off we went.  It took just a bit of time to find parking as this was a three day weekend and people were in town to take advantage of it.

This is Carol demonstrating how small you have to fold up a $10 bill to get it into the slot for your parking place.

We walked down the street and through the courtyard of the Hyatt Hotel to the Riverwalk.  We enjoyed a nice lunch at a table right on the river.

Cameron was peaking down at us from the bridge next to the restaurant.

After we walked around part of the Riverwalk, we headed topside to see some of the city.  San Antonio is the City of Yellow Roses.

This was taken on the Main Plaza which has the Bexar County Courthouse on one side and San Fernando Cathedral on the other.

San Fernando Cathedral is the oldest, continuously functioning religious community in the State of Texas. The Cathedral building has the added distinction of being the oldest standing church building in Texas, and for all of its more than 281 years, has been serving the people of the Archdiocese and San Antonio.  From its founding on March 9, 1731 by a group of 15 families who came from the Canary Islands at the invitation of King Phillip V of Spain, this church was planned to be at the center of the life of this city. The church was completed in 1749 and the original walls still stand today forming what is now the sanctuary (the area around and behind the altar) of the present church. These walls are the oldest standing structure in the State of Texas. The dome of the original church was the geographic center of the city and the point from which all mileage was calculated to San Antonio.
In 1793, the Alamo, Mission San Antonio de Valero, was secularized and closed as a church. It’s people became members of San Fernando. The total population at the time was just over 1,000. The next year the other four missions in the area, San Jose, Concepcion, Espada, and Capistrano were also secularized and their lands divided among the Indians. In 1824 Missions Concepcion, San Jose, and Espada were made a part of the San Fernando parish.

The Battle of the Alamo in 1836 began after Mexican General Santa Ana raised the flag of "no quarter" from the tower of the church. In the back of the cathedral today there is a marble coffin with an inscribed plaque that the remains of William Travis, Jim Bowie, and Davy Crockett defenders of the Alamo are buried there.  This was the first time I saw this.

Our next stop was the Spanish Governor’s Palace. This building was the original Commandancia (residence and working office) for the Captain of the Presidio. After the threat of French encroachment in East Texas was gone, King Carlos III appointed the Marquis de Rubí inspector of frontier presidios. Rubí’s inspection resulted in the Royal Regulations of 1772 that ordered the capital of Spanish Texas be moved from the Presidio at Los Adaes, east of Nacogdoches, Texas, to the Presidio de San Antonio de Béjar. Rubí’s orders also stipulated that the captain of the presidio at Béjar serve as Governor of Texas.

By the time Spain lost control of Mexico and Texas in 1821, the Presidio had ceased to function as a military post. However its owner and former captain Ignacio Perez and his descendants continued to use the building as a residence through the mid-1800s. The building’s function changed from residential to commercial in the mid-1870s and through the 1920s it housed a variety of businesses including a pawn shop, a wholesale produce store, saloons, and a clothing store.  It was restored in the 1930's and is now owned by the city of San Antonio.

We didn't go inside because Carol wanted to see as much as she could and preferred to read about the buildings outside.

Next we had headed down the street to El Mercado.  Not a great picture but a fun place to visit.  We walked around the inside of the Mercado building and took a quick peak at the bakery and inside of Mi Tierra.  Mi Tierra and La Margarita next door are both very popular restaurants open 24 hours a day.

After our time at the Mercado, we headed back in the direction of the Alamo.  Carol really enjoyed all the unique architecture of buildings along the way.  There are a lot of old buildings and many of them are being renovated and repurposed for continued use.  My camera battery died just before we got there so I had to pull out this picture of the Alamo.  There were actually a crowd of people visiting with a long line to go inside the church portion.  Of course, those that know their Alamo battle history know that the church was no longer in use when the famous battle was fought.  It didn't even have a roof at that time.  We walked around inside the stone walls of the courtyard.  There is an enormous tree there that was actually moved there when it was 40 years old.

We spent about 4 hours and many miles walking around the downtown area and it was time for us to head back home to let all the dogs out.  We sat out on the patio at home and talked about all the sights to see.  I told it was such a shame she was going to pass through without seeing any of the Hill Country.  Plans are made in jello and the next thing we knew, Carol decided she wanted to see Fredericksburg.  So, rather than spend the night and leave very early the next morning to head for Fredericksburg, she decided she would rather drive in that direction and boon dock near Comfort.  She also decided that she would probably change her return plans and come back through San Antonio instead of further north.  So, with hugs and promises to see her again in the next couple of months, she was off.  It was a great "get acquainted" visit.  


  1. Love the Riverwalk and it was good to see it again.

  2. You guys really did cover a lot of territory in a short period of time. Glad she changed her mind about her route.

  3. Nice visit and tour. We still need to go see the Spanish Governor's Palace. I'm not even sure where it is.

  4. Hopefully one day we will be able to stop and visit with you and the fur kids.


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