Sunday, July 09, 2023

Roadtrip Day 3: San Antonio, June 5 (a guest post by Miriam)

We started bright and early; we had a long drive ahead of us, and we wanted to get to Downtown San Antonio before it got too hot, and we had tickets to go in the church at 9:00. The day before, we read about Davy Crockett and the Alamo (the "Who Was" books for them), so we considered ourselves well educated about the subject. We were down in the lobby eating breakfast by 7:30, with the cars already packed. We weren't super worried about it getting too hot, because that morning it was in the 30's, and Dad could see his breath, but by the time we got there, it was the perfect temperature. 

It took us a little while to figure out where to park, but we eventually found some parking on the street. Here's Zoë pretending to drive the car while Mom was executing a diaper change (Phoebe got really good at car diaper changes while we were on this trip!).

You can see Dad and Grandpa figuring out how to pay for parking while all this was going on.

We did the riverwalk first. San Antonio is a much nicer city than New Orleans. A lot fewer people are smoking, and it's quiet. The riverwalk is really nice. There were sculptures at the top of the stairs, and it was really green and pretty.

When we went down, it was just as pretty. 

[Mom's edit: I just loved the river walk! It was beautiful and peaceful and (for whatever reason) more along the lines of what I expected New Orleans to be (but with Jazz). I was not expecting such a beautiful amenity in the middle of San Antonio, but it's there—and is definitely worth the visit. It made me think about visiting Venice (Andrew and I did a day trip there on our honeymoon). Definitely a highlight of our trip!]

Here we all are up on a bridge:

And here's Miriam (and Zoë) with Grandpa:

We also saw a massive duck (everything's bigger in Texas!)

It's a very pedestrian friendly part of town, and it was nice to walk around for a while. We finally headed back up to the street level, and made our way to the Alamo. I saw my first fire exit too.

The Alamo itself was really crowded. There was a school there for a field trip and just a lot of people in general. The church was really cold, but it was nice, as San Antonio was already heating up to the mid 80's. [Mom edit: Mom had arranged some timed tickets for us to enter the Alamo. Grandpa was excited to do this because when he and Grandma visited the Alamo before (about eight years ago; when they lived in Texas for a month for one of Grandpa's work projects), it was closed for some restoration work.]

[Mom edit: Mom kept bringing up the reservations she had made, first for the Alamo, and the next day for the elevator ride at Carlsbad Caverns. She'd tell Grandpa things like, "Everyone remember, the Alamo is on me. I've got tickets covered. Keep your wallets tucked away!" and "I'll pay for the tickets for Carlsbad, too!" This was funny because the tickets to enter the Alamo are technically just have to make a reservation online! And the tickets for the elevator at Carlsbad are $1 each (so Mom spent a grand total of $9 for our entire group when she booked our reservation online weeks before our trip (to make sure we'd be able to get inside the day we wanted)), while the entrance fee into Carlsbad (which Grandpa covered) is $15 per person! He purchased our family's National Parks Pass for us when we were in Florida, so that's how he covered the $15 per person charge at Carlsbad (and our entrance fees for the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone and everywhere). But Mom got us tickets for the Alamo, so it's pretty much equal now, right?)]

Here we are in front of the Alamo (Andrew is taking the picture):

And here we are again with Dad in the picture (Grandpa is taking it this time):

They're putting up an outdoor exhibit in front of the Alamo. It isn't technically open yet, but they had a small section open to the public as a preview. It looks like it will be pretty cool once it's all finished!

Here are some pictures from while we were waiting to get inside the Alamo:

They were pretty strict about not touching walls or anything inside, so Phoebe, of course had to touch the floor first thing (they didn't say we couldn't touch the floor!):

Here she is with the sign showing the flags that have flown over the Alamo (including the "Come and take it!" flag made out of a piece of some girl's wedding dress):

[Mom edit: I really question the wisdom of the whole Alamo thing. Like, we (the US) had just—quite easily—defeated the Mexican army when they tried to use the Alamo as a base. It wasn't well suited as a fort and we just took it. And then thought, "Hey, this would make a great fort!" Like, we already knew it was pretty difficult to defend from the inside...but anyway...]

Alexander forgot the saying "Remember the Alamo!" so he kept saying "Don't forget the Alamo!" 

Out in the garden, there were a couple rolly-polly's and so Zoë picked one up. But Phoebe, being the bug-lover that she is, decided that she, too, wanted a bug on her, so we had to help her do that.

Alex thought that was pretty funny.

It was possibly the most exciting things the kids did the whole day!

There were a billion black birds in the trees, and they were making the most horrible noise. They're called grackles, and are very annoying. The trees were just filled with them!

While we were walking through the garden, we were trying to take a family picture, and a very nice couple offered to. They were Australian, and after they finished taking the picture, Dad, Rachel, and I all looked at each other in awe, and were all like, "That's what an Australian sounds like?!". We've never heard one in person. But these are the family pictures:


Mom edits from here on out:

It's not quite true that we've never heard an Australian in person before. To Miriam's memory, this may be true. But Brother Levänen in our Cairo branch was from Australia, so we heard him talk quite often. And when I was growing up there was another man in my PoCo ward who was from Australia (and every time he bore his testimony he'd begin by saying, "Yabadabadoo, the gospel is true!"). And I know I've come across a few other Australians in my lifetime. It's true that we hadn't heard Australians speak in person in a while, but we have heard Australians speak a lot in our house because we're currently obsessed with the show Bluey. And that, in my opinion, is why everyone turned to gawk about having just had our picture taken by Australians—because "They're Australian!!"

Also, thanks to the live photo feature, I have the clip of the Australian man counting for us...because that's not awkward...

Now here is the family picture (taken by the lovely Australian couple—thank you, lovely Australian couple!):

Here we all are with David Crockett (who actually didn't really like to be called Davy—Disney did him dirty! And, oh, how I used to torture my own brother David by singing the Davy Crockett theme song to him: "Davy! Davy Crockett! King of the wild frontier!" My brother David didn't like being called Davy, either, so he had that in common with David Crockett. Reading about Crockett's life was fascinating. He seemed like such a nice guy. When he was all set to leave his wife and child(ren? I can't remember how many they had when he set out) to fight at the Alamo, I was like, "David! No!" I mean, William Travis, I was kind of were cruel to your wife and were cocky and unwise. But David Crockett?! He seemed like a pretty great dude (and I think he should have reined in his wanderlust just a little bit and stayed home)):

Pretty much everyone died at the Alamo. What a waste. 

And how did I not remember that from my US history course? 

I know that the cry: "Remember the Alamo!" was on the final exam (so Alexander would have failed, poor little guy with his "Don't forget the Alamo!"), but I don't think we were asked any actual fact about the battle. It's possible we didn't even learn any because Andrew was just as flabbergasted at the story of the Alamo as we were reading in in the car. were we (the US) thinking?!

After we went inside the Alamo, we toured around the gardens for a while, picking up bugs, listening to the grackles cackle (and violently attack squirrels and be altogether 100% chaos machines), and watching the fish. Phoebe loved the fish.

Everybody loved the fish:

But Phoebe loved the fish:

Here we are, having finally located the public restrooms, waiting for the last members of our party to join us (Alexander was holding my hand as I took this picture, and Miriam was walking beside me...the last members of our party were this is really just a picture of everybody waiting for us):

I think Benjamin was pretending he knew how to tap dance, for whatever reason. 

By this time, Phoebe was tired of tourism and in need of some milk and nap (even though she'd already had some milk because Mommy had sat on a bench and nursed her while everyone else wandered around reading all the posters and things in the courtyard). But for whatever reason, when Mommy rejoined everybody after our bathroom break, Daddy didn't give Phoebe to her mommy! He lifted her up onto his shoulders instead, which was altogether unfair. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment! It made Phoebe feel very sad.

But then we walked past the little canal again and asked Phoebe where the fish were and she forgot about wanting milk for a little while:

Finally, here's Alexander posing by a beautiful fountain:

It was a surprisingly wonderful stop!

Oh! And I almost forgot! 

I talked about how important it was that we have our timed-entrance tickets reserved to visit the Alamo (an expense (of $0), which I so graciously covered), but did I ever tell you about what happened when we were researching for this trip? I don't think so.

We originally thought we'd wind up in San Antonio on Sunday and, I suppose, we technically did arrive in San Antonio on Sunday (but we went straight to bed and woke up to do touristy things the following morning, which was Monday). But originally we thought we'd be in San Antonio on Sunday morning, so we were researching to see whether the Alamo was open on Sunday. Perhaps we could just stop by on Sunday morning on our way out of's mostly just a

Andrew pulled out his phone and looked up information for the Alamo.

"Yeah," he confirmed. "It looks like they're open on Sundays. They're open every day of the week from 11 AM and they don't close until 2 AM...wait..."

"11 AM?!" I asked. "Isn't that a little late? When I was looking at tickets before I thought they opened earlier, like 9:00, or something. And...they're open until...2 AM?! Like, what sort of nightlife does San Antonio even have that the Alamo needs to be open until 2 AM? I just...that seems..."

"Oh!" Andrew said. "This information is for a bar in Atlanta! We don't want that Alamo. We want this Alamo!" And he pulled up the information for the actual Alamo, which opens daily at 9:00 am (with 4:45 being the latest tickets available for a timed-entrance reservation). That information made a lot more sense!

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