I was hoping for a bit of warm weather before the frigid onset of winter in New York by taking a long weekend in San Antonio, Texas, to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family.
Unfortunately, the humid heat that greeted me at the airport lasted only a few hours before a cold front moved in that was just as chilling as the weather I’d left in Brooklyn. Still, it was a great, if too brief, trip and I always love spending time down in San Antone.
I left NYC on Thursday morning and flew (first class, for the first time!) to Dallas for a brief layover and then took a short flight to San Antonio. I made it just in time for the traditional Thanksgiving feast.
On Friday, we walked from our hotel on the River Walk down to the San Antonio Museum of Art. I read that the River Walk was constructed in the mid-1900s following a devastating flood in 1921. What was originally proposed as a storm sewer is now a lovely pedestrian walkway lined with lush foliage, shops, and restaurants. The River Walk was extended in 2009 to reach the museums further out of downtown, including the San Antonio Museum of Art, which is inside the old Lone Star Brewery building.
By an odd coincidence, the museum was hosting To Live Forever: Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum, which I’d already seen in Brooklyn. Life sometimes feels like it’s composed of tightening concentric circles. Good thing one does not really live forever, or after only a few lifetimes we would have found the webs between everything and would then spend the rest of eternity trying to track down something that is completely our own. Or perhaps we would just getting really rich and learn many languages, like fictional vampires do. Anyway, the exhibit is a wonderful one, and I yet again was enchanted by the ancient paper and fiber pieces held beneath dark fabric and glass.
As the museum was once a brewery, it has a lot of beautiful, large open rooms. I especially liked this new Roman art gallery, where I spotted a few Antinous statues (my personal travel scavenger hunt).
Later that day I walked to Fort Sam Houston from my relatives’ house to pay my respects at the grave of Pat the cavalry horse.
When Pat died in 1953, his formal military funeral was attended by over 100 people. There are still horses at the military base, although now they are only used in the funeral processions of people like past presidents.
We also visited the San Antonio Botanical Garden, which has as its centerpiece these futuristic greenhouses.
Here is the inside of the tallest, high enough to hold those towering palm trees. Others had desert plants and forest recreations, including one with a miniature waterfall.
Some confident ducks had a pond, where a pretty heron was nesting and turtles were resting on a rock in the center of the water. I’m guessing they were also not ready for the cold weather.
That night we watched the annual River Walk Christmas parade from the deck of our hotel. The boats that usually give tours of the river were decorated with lights and had bands and dancers riding on them.
I’ve been going to the Christmas River Parade for as long as I can remember, but this year has to be among the coldest. Since we were at the end of the route, the boats seemed to be hurrying in a group to the end to get off the frigid water.
On Saturday we visited Guadulpe River State Park, which has beautifully clear water where trees were gnarled in the shallows.
Ah, I sometimes miss nature being in New York. Not that it’s completely absent. I live by a huge, green area with tons of leafy trees…there just happens to be 600,000 graves under the grass.
I seem to have lost all my rock skipping skills after the year of city living, but I’m still fairly good at rock and fossil finding and found one to take back to NYC for my collection. I have a little group of rocks on a bookshelf from places I’ve been, like the castle ruins in Valence, the beach of Nice, and the Montauk lighthouse.
The next day I flew back to NYC, unfortunately being surrounded by a sick person, barking dog, and screaming child on the long leg of the flight. Oh well, I had a book of horror stories and my iPod and watched the flat puzzle of the Midwest disappear under clouds. Soon we were breaking through to the New York skyline, and I think I spotted my apartment building as we cruised along the harbor.