San Antonio: city of contrast

The Alamo (downtown!)

The drive to San Antonio from where we’re staying in Bay City took nearly three hours yesterday morning, but the city was well-worth the time spent in the truck. The city has such a strange character that a visitor needs not spend a dime to enjoy. There is for instance an old building fit neatly in between the streets and sky-scrapers: an old Mission famously called “the Alamo.” The building’s sun-bleached stone visage contrasts with the contemporary jungle of metal and concrete around it. People come in and out of the old walls in a constant flow. Standing inside and peering at the old walls around me, I could not ignore the outcropping buildings that stretched above the fort. It was difficult for my imagination to keep up with these modern disturbances. Unlike the other missions, I couldn’t picture the people of past centuries living and dying on the ground which I stood.

the beautiful San Jose Mission




the Espada Mission




Another feature of San Antonio that contributes to this feeling of contrast was the “River Walk.” We descended a staircase to a level of the city just below the main traffic ways. On this level, the river had been reigned in to the appearance of a canal and the city’s buildings rose above it like walls of a canyon. The river’s bank was replaced with a winding side-walk. Trees had been left to complete the strange contrast between nature and industrialism. They stretched tall in fair competition with the buildings, not to be outdone by these brick invaders.
Everywhere I looked, I found something to contradict the scene from a moment before. One moment, a duck dipping into the water. The next moment, a blur of cars on the bridge above.
My camera at the ready, I walked and watched: my favorite Monday activity.

river walk


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