Sometime during the early 1700s, and while Texas was part of Spain, it was decided that something needed to be done to stop the French advancing from Louisiana and a mission and fort were built along each other. The mission was named San Antonio de Valero and the presidio or fort was named San Antonio de Bejar. Several families travelled from Spain and formed a settlement known as San Antonio de Bejar and in time it would become the city of San Antonio. The mission later became known as the Alamo and played a part in the battles over territory that ensued over the years. In fact, Texas proudly boasts six national flags: Spain 1519-1685 and 1690-1821, France 1685-1690, Mexico 1821-1836, Republic of Texas 1936-1845, Confederacy 1861-1865, and USA 1865 to present day.
The most remarkable thing about San Antonio is that everybody speaks Spanish. I had the feeling of still being in Mexico, not just because of the language but the crafts and clothing too. A walk around the market was most puzzling, exactly like being in Mexico.
The Spanish Governor’s Palace is what in the old days was the Presidio. It is pretty and well preserved. National Geographic Society calls is “the most beautiful building in San Antonio” and I am sure it is true. The gardens are very sweet and peaceful. I was thrilled by the Alamo as it was the first place I have visited in weeks that was free though there were guided tours for sale outside. I challenged the tour price as they were asking more than what the board said but they refused to honour the board so I declined. And just as well too, for the interior is very disappointing and is just a shell with a few period guns on show. The gardens were lovely and much larger than expected.
My favourite was walking along the River Walk from the Pearl to near the Alamo, pretty and well kept. Full of flowers and teeming with restaurants. A wonderful contrast of peaceful and full of life. All in all a very pleasant stay.