"Not all those who wander are lost" J.R.R. Tolkien

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Buckhorn Saloon, Texas Ranger Museum and the Riverwalk

Today we finally made it into San Antonio.  It has been chilly and rainy most of the week and we have put off exploring in hope of more warm weather.  Even though it is still rainy and cold I just had to get farther out than the laundry room today.  We started out by exploring the Buckhorn Saloon and the Texas Ranger Museum because they are in the same building.  The Buckhorn is the oldest Saloon in Texas and boasts an amazing number of stuffed wildlife from around the world and bizarre oddities such as shrunken heads, an 8 legged lamb and a two headed calf.  The Texas Ranger Museum showed the history of these important lawmen who made Texas safe for the pioneers including an impressive display of guns and knives and a Texas frontier village.  

Yes, those are my children in jail and at another historical saloon.  I promise, we do take them to symphonies, musicals and art museums too!  We had a great time but I have to warn any prospective visitors:  the price tag to get in, while inclusive of both the saloon and the Ranger museum, was incredibly steep, even with a military discount.  We spent about two hours touring and it cost $17 per adult and $13 per kid.  We all agreed it was neat to see but really only worth about half that price.  We also made the sad mistake of eating lunch in the saloon.  Lining up, cafeteria style, should have been our first warning.  The over priced food should have been the second warning.  Sadly, the meal was pretty awful.  Oh well, this is what touring is all about.  Live and learn!

What really redeemed the day was the Riverwalk.  I really had no conceptualization of what it would look like having never seen a photo or read anything about San Antonio.  Both Donald and I were overwhelmed at how beautiful it was even in the drizzle!  The Riverwalk is easily reminiscent of European cities with its lush greenery, the Spanish architecture, the beautiful stonework lining the river walls and sidewalk and the surprising waterfalls at regular intervals.  If you look closely at my amateur photo you can see pink flowers in full bloom on this tree. 

Another great thing about San Antonio is its concentration of military personnel.  Being there today was special because literally dozens of very young men and women in Air Force uniforms, freshly minted from Basic Military Training, were touring the Riverwalk with family.  Parents and Airmen alike beamed.  It made me want to shake each of their hands and tell them thank you and good luck.  They are at the beginning of an amazing life adventure.  Which also reminds me to say thank you to my little brother who leaves tonight for his third tour in the Desert.  Good luck, Buddy, and we'll be praying for you!

Our weather is warming up significantly and hopefully this next week will have me reporting on the Alamo (which we walked right by today) and various other Missions in the area.  Next Saturday should see us back on the road again.  Stick around to find out where we go next!

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