San Antonio 2016 (3/4): Friday, April 8

Day 3: Friday, April 8, 2016

[Click here to go back to Day 2.]

We planned our Friday activities around being able to drive out further from downtown San Antonio using a rental car. Put on your seat belt — I have lots of photos to show you!

We started the morning by driving south to Mission Espada, one of five missions on the so-called Mission Trail.

The missions were communities surrounded by stone walls established and run by Spanish Franciscan missionaries in the 1700s. The priests converted and trained the local Native Americans to become citizens of the mission. They learned the Catholic faith and the Spanish language.


The missions gradually became secularized by the early 1800s, but remained church-based communities for many years.

The church building at Mission Espada is still in use today.


The inside is simple but beautiful.



This is Mission San Juan Capistrano, a few-minutes-drive away.



The third mission we visited was Mission San José.


The grounds were beautiful.


The facade of these buildings used to feature colorful Spanish designs.


…of which only the remnants exist today.


Unfortunately, the sanctuary at Mission San José was being used for a private event that day, so we did not have the opportunity to see the inside. But we did walk through some of the other rooms.


The fourth mission was Mission Concepción.


Another beautiful sanctuary.


Spanish influence was everywhere.


Look up to find the pull for a bell, coming through the ceiling.


We caught a glimpse of this lizard outside.


The fifth and final mission of the Mission Trail would be the famous Alamo that we toured the day before!

By this point in the day, we had worked up a good appetite. We drove to the Pearl Brewery area — a historic brewery complex now offering dining, shopping, a farmers’ market, and more. It is a trendy, hip place to be.

We ate lunch at Cured, a restaurant featuring hand-crafted cured foods, from meat to pickles. As usual, we ate outside in the sun. 🙂


We ordered and shared the chef’s selection of six cured meats to enjoy with crackers. It was so. good.


Paul was running on “E” for caffeine, so we went into “Local Coffee” for a cappuccino and a chai tea latte.


We also enjoyed ice cream at Lick. They use all pure, wholesome ingredients — sourced locally when possible. We each ordered two scoops so we could try more than one flavor. Paul ordered Coconut Strawberry Basil and Lady Bird Lavender Crisp. I ordered Hill Country Honey & Vanilla Bean and Lady Bird Lavender Crisp. Their ice cream is to die for.

Then, we drove to the San Antonio Botanical Garden to spend the afternoon. My camera battery ran out at this point in the day because I had forgotten to charge it the night before, so I did the best that I could taking photos with my iPhone!


I don’t remember the type of tree, but we saw these usual roots growing upwards from the ground in various places around San Antonio.


It was fun to see the native greenery, including cacti and palm trees.


This is called a Golden Shrimp Plant. I love that yellow.


From the succulent room:


This plant is called Swiss Cheese Vine. 🙂




The bluebonnet is the Texas state flower. We saw bluebonnets within the botanical garden, but I snapped this one at the curbside of the parking lot.


Next, we drove to the Japanese Tea Gardens. The gardens originally opened in an abandoned  limestone rock quarry in the early 1900s. A local Japanese-American artist, Kimi Eizo Jingu, moved to the garden with his family at the city’s invitation in 1919. Kimi died in 1938, and rest of the family was evicted in 1941 due to anti-Japanese sentiments during World War II. In fact,the garden was renamed for a period of time, to: the Chinese Tea Gardens. Eventually, the original name was restored.


There were friendly koi in the water.


The photos don’t do it justice.


For dinner, we returned to the Pearl Brewery area to try out a Latin Gastro Bar called Nao. Paul ordered the grilled lamb skewers and duck-filled arepas. I ordered the smoked-roasted carrots, which were accompanied by goat cheese, quinoa, and a molasses vinaigrette.


And, of course, we HAD to return to Lick Honest Ice Creams. Paul ordered Goat Cheese, Thyme & Honey and the Dark Chocolate with Olive Oil & Sea Salt. I ordered the Lady Bird Lavender Crisp again and the Toffee Dunked Donut.


After returning our rental car, we walked back to the hotel to chill for a bit. At 9pm, we caught The Saga — a video/art projection show on the San Fernando Cathedral at Main Plaza. Here is how the building looks in daylight:


And here is a photo during the show:


The show lasts for 25 minutes.


The images and music celebrate the history of San Antonio.


We slept well that night, after all that sight-seeing! Stay tuned for Day 4.

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