San Antonio Sabbatical

Sightseeing Tour: San Antonio Mission Trail

Posted on: November 13, 2010

  • In: Diversions
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Okay, so I’ve taken another tour.  This latest tour was of four of San Antonio’s Catholic missions; it did not include the Alamo, which I had visited on a previous trip.  The San Antonio Mission Trail Tour is operated by Historic Texas Tours and costs $35 (there’s a reduced rate of $30 for San Antonio residents).  Thursday’s tour began with our pickup at Alamo Plaza and lasted for 4 hours, and had five participants (including a honeymooning couple).  Our tour guide was Alex Reynolds, the same friendly guy who conducted my foodie tour almost two weeks ago.  The weather was comfortably cool for our 9:00 a.m. departure, and then it warmed up throughout the day.  San Antonio is rich in history and the Spanish missions — which reflect the conflict between Spaniards and American Indians — are a large part of it.  These missions are part of the National Park Service; their churches have active congregations.  Alex shared his knowledge of the area and its history as he drove us to Mission Concepción, Mission San José, Mission San Juan, and Mission Espada.  We toured the grounds and saw inside the churches that weren’t holding services (there was a funeral service in progress at one of them which included drum playing and other traditional ceremonial rituals).  Informational brochures were available at the missions.  At Mission San José, the largest of the four, we saw a 23-minute film, “Gente de Razón”, which gave some good background information about the missions.  Along our ½-day San Antonio Mission Trail Tour, we saw a grist mill, an aqueduct, acequias (drainage ditches), and prickly pear cactus with cochineal bugs that are used in juices.  The buildings’ Spanish colonial architecture, detailed artwork (for example, the wall paintings — “frescoes”), and overall splendor of these historical sites is just amazing.  The San Antonio Mission Trail Tour is a wonderful outing, and will leave you with a greater appreciation for the history and culture of the area.

After the tour ended, I saw a movie — the new comedy, “Morning Glory” at AMC Huebner Oaks 24 theater.  Then I went to the OLLU campus for the evening kickoff of the NLPA conference (more to come in a future post).  What a busy day! 

The day before the tour, I attended another Spanish Language Meetup.  We met at 7:00 p.m. at España Bar de Tapas (because we needed a larger meeting space), a restaurant that I had not been to yet.  I hadn’t planned on attending this month because our usual Thursday meeting would have conflicted with my NLPA conference this week.  But because Thursday was a holiday (Veterans’ Day), Ricardo arranged for us to meet on Wednesday instead.  So, I was in luck.  I’m so glad that I went.  There were 12 attendees (several were new) and we met for about 1¼ hours.  Surprisingly, I spoke a lot — in Spanish!  I had several short conversations about a variety of topics with different people.  It was fun.  Despite the negative reviews online about España Bar de Tapas, I found the food and service to be very good on the night of my Spanish Language Meetup.  I ordered the Tortilla Española (potato, onion, and egg omelet), Chorizo al Vino (chorizo sausage cooked in red wine), and an iced tea.  The chorizo was too spicy for my taste, but all in all, this tapas meal was satisfying.  I like this meetup because it allows me to practice my Spanish.  Unfortunately, it was my last one.  I won’t be able to attend the December meeting because I will be moving.

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