I’ve been in Texas now for 7 months (!) and yet other than my weekend in Houston in December, I haven’t really ventured out of Austin very much, despite the fact that I’ve been meaning to go see the Alamo pretty much since I got here.
As you can see, it was really rainy and gray, but that didn’t stop Victoria and I from having a fabulous time, (although it was legitimately too wet and chilly to be walking around as much as I usually like to when traveling.)
The whole motivation for the trip was my desire to see the Alamo, based mostly on repeated childhood viewings of the John Wayne movie, and the strange reaction I got from pretty much every Texan when I told them I wanted to see it. Based on those conversations I was told to expect a small, uninteresting place. And yes, it was a small, short trip, but I found it very interesting. You can’t take pictures inside, but I thought the memorial itself, essentially an altar with the list of the men killed there, was very well done. I especially liked the way that they handled the fact that many of the men were immigrants from Ireland and Scotland and other countries as well as the free black man who died there whose last name was unrecorded. These were layers I never knew of the story (or had forgotten) and I found the inclusion moving.
The same goes for a plaque marking the room where the women and children waited out the search. It was a small room within the cavernous architecture and all I could think about was how the noise from the battle outside must have reverberated around.
That being said, the current exhibit on guns of the frontier is definitely not designed for me, and while it was an armory I wish they would have kept those cases out of the spaces that felt sacred and somber to me.
Another surprise, despite being right in the heart of downtown, the gardens were gorgeous:
We then quickly walked through the Riverwalk, which was very pretty, but again it was raining:
So we made our way to the San Antonio Museum of Art which we managed to arrive at 20 minutes before closing. So we ran through the Contemporary Art wing, which was really great, but by then I had Instagrammed too much and my phone was dead, but Victoria took a really cool picture of this piece in the parking lot:
The next day we continued our plan of eating a ton of food, starting our day at The Guenther House, which is a combination historical house museum and brunch place, which may be what my personal Heaven is like:
After that we made our way to The McNay Art Museum, which is one of my new favorite places in the world. An art museum in a converted mansion, it has a really impressive collection and a delightful vibe. They seemed to have a sense of humor about their collection, and they were having a screening of Footloose the afternoon we visited. We only made it through like a 3rd of the museum, but managed to see a Rodin, a Warhol, the set designs from the original Broadway run of Spring Awakening and another Gary Sweeney:
I really fell in love with place, and I cannot wait to go back and see the rest of the collection.
Also we stayed at the very nice, Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, which had great service and was very comfortable, but was trying very hard to seem hip, and for some reason had this weird grating on the hallway ceilings that made the hallways reminiscent of post-apocalyptic movies, but it led to my favorite picture of me: