Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Sunday, 13 January 2013 – We were very lucky today as not only did the Westin where we were staying give us free wifi, as it was Sunday we also received a 3pm checkout!! No strings attached! That gave us plenty of time to get out and see more of the beautiful city of San Antonio. Our first stop was the River Walk Center to grab some breakfast and it was there that I encountered my first Cinnabon of the trip. Absolutely sensational with a cup of Starbucks Awake (read “British Breakfast”) tea!
The cinnabon!
Fuelled up, we walked across to the Alamo. A quick history lesson for those who are not aware of the legend of The Alamo: The Alamo as it appears today represents nearly three hundred years of human activity. The Spanish started building the Alamo in 1724. For most of the 1700s the Alamo was a Spanish mission. They stopped using it as a mission in 1793. In the early 1800s, the Spanish stationed soldiers at the old mission and after Mexico's independence from Spain, Mexican soldiers occupied the Alamo. Back in those days, Texas was a part of Mexico. Due to changes in the Mexican government, Texans wanted to be independent from Mexico. Also in those days, Anglo-Americans in Texas were called "Texians" and Hispanic-Americans were called "Tejanos". In December 1835, a group of Texan volunteer soldiers fought against the Mexican soldiers in San Antonio and won. The Texans then occupied the Alamo. This "independent-mindedness" didn't sit well with the Mexican government so on February 23, 1836, Mexican General Santa Anna arrived outside San Antonio with about 6000 men to suppress the rebellion. Even though there were only around 200 of them, the Texans inside the Alamo decided to stick together and defend their position. Some of the defenders included famous people, like Jim Bowie (who created the Bowie knife) and Davy Crockett.
Despite the overwhelming odds, the Texan defenders held out for 13 days against Santa Anna's army. The Mexicans' final assault on the Alamo started around 5.30 am on March 6, 1836. They attacked the walls of the Alamo on four fronts. The defenders fought back bravely, but eventually they were overwhelmed. An hour later it was all over and Mexico had won the Battle of the Alamo. About 6 weeks after the battle of the Alamo, on April 21, Sam Houston's army defeated Santa Anna's army at the Battle of San Jacinto. So according to legend, the brave men of the Alamo had not died in vain. From their sacrifice emerged Sam Houston's battle-cry, "Remember The Alamo!" that led to Texas liberty.
Remember the Alamo!
Before coming on holiday to Texas, Justyn pulled the movie ‘The Alamo’ with Dennis Quaid and Billy Bob Thornton out of the collection. While I realise that it was a ‘Hollywoodification’ of the battle, I am glad that I had watched it to give me a greater appreciation of the reverence that The Alamo is held. After the obligatory purchases, and photograph with Davey Crockett hat, in the Alamo gift shop, we decided to stroll around the River Walk area for an hour or so to get a different viewpoint in daylight. Apparently the river is drained for cleaning and maintenance the first week in January except for 2013 so we were very lucky! San Antonio would not have been as beautiful with a dry creek in the middle of town! Finally it was time to leave San Antonio – but not without some fun facts!
  • San Antonio is the 3rd largest city in Texas with over 1.1 million peeps and the 11th largest in the US 
  • San Antonio was named in honour of St Anthony of Padua the patron saint of children 
  • Chili was ‘invented’ in San Antonio in the 18th Century. It officially was "introduced" to the nation at the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. • 
  • Arguably the most famous San Antonio resident is Tommy Lee Jones.

 Our next destination was Houston which is nearly 200 miles (or a three hour drive) east of San Antonio. So we loaded up the White Kitty and purred down the I10 EB at the speed limit of 75 mph (125kph woo hooo!!) towards Downtown Houston. Our accommodations for the next two nights was at the Embassy Suites Downtown so we could do some washing!
A grackle
Grackles galore surrounded all the buildings in this area but as it was a Sunday night the traffic and people were light on the ground. We valet parked and checked in before heading off to eat at Hearsay Gastro Lounge a very popular dining destination (and historically important building designed by Eugene T. Heiner) for the locals and fortunately for us open on Sundays!!
Hearsay Gastro Lounge
Dessert - Chocolate gateau
While the dude who sat us was a touch testy as his team the Houston Texans were in the process of losing to the New England Patriots in the NFL finals series being held in Boston, Justyn enjoyed the beef brisket sandwich and four-cheese mac n cheese and I went for the stuffed chicken breast washed down with a Gin Gin Mule and a Karbach Hopadillo. After dinner we tackled the washing and then it was bed time!

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