Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Missions

Today started with a trolley tour around the city.  We made sure to be on the first tour of the day since we were too late and missed the last tour yesterday.  I love trolley tours, they are so fun!  We  bought the ticket for the grand tour not the hopper pass where you can get out at the different stops.  For any of you who may be planning a trip to San Antonio and are interested in the trolley tour, I would suggest getting the pass that allows you to get off at the different stops, while the grand tour was fun and exciting and very informative, we didn't really get too great of views of any of the land marks we were passing.  It would have been nice to have been able to get out at each stop and then get on the next trolley, there is a trolley at each site every 45 minutes.  The boys had a blast and thought the ride was totally awesome!

After the tour we stayed up on Alamo Plaza for a while looking through books at the visitor center and shopping at the Del Sol store next door.  The kids were amazed at how everything in the store changes color in the sunshine.  Grammie and Grandpop bought every grand child a cool, sun changing shirt they even bought me color changing nail polish.  They really are the sweetest people in the world.

Here are the famous shirts.  They are completely black and white indoors, but once you step out into the sunshine they turn all sorts of fun colors.  It really is quite magical.

Then we went in search of some creamy ice cream cones to cool us down a bit.  Today was the hottest day of the entire trip!  We found a cute little ice cream parlor that was on the second story of one of the buildings that over looks the river walk.  It was so fun to see all the festivities from that angle.

There was a mariachi band across the river that supplied fun music for our little lunch break.

After our very tasety lunch we once again went our separate ways to do all sorts of different fun activities.  I really wanted to see all of the San Antonio missions that are so famous.  We passed them by on our trolley tour and they looked like such interesting buildings.  My dad, being the sweet person that he is, offered to drive me to all of them and be my travel buddy.  Below is a map of "mission road," is shows were all five of the missions are located. 

{Mission San Juan}
We began our adventure at Mission San Juan.  Not too much is left of this mission complex, but it is well known for its bell tower, which still looks fabulous.

They make little passports for kids who are visiting all of the missions and they get to stamp their passport at every mission with a cool stamp of the actual building.  I didn't get a passport but I made sure to get a stamp at all the missions we visited.  I am such a little kid sometimes, but it makes life ten million times more fun

Props to my pops who was my photographer at all our different stops

{Mission San Jose}
San Jose was our next stop.  Both of us thought this mission was the most impressive, it is a gorgeous building with amazing stone work.

We explored the dormitories on our way up to the main building.  The repetition of everything made for great pictures, but they looked like cramped quarters.

This building looked very Moorish too me with the dome and the arches and the decorative brick above the window arches.  I, as a person who is obsessed with Moorish design, loved this building.

Here is the rose window that I mentioned in my last post.  Click here to see the replicas of this window they created for the River Center mall (it's pretty far down in the post so you'll need to scroll through a few pictures to get to it, but it's a cool comparison, I promise.)

I found it interesting that no one knows what this famous window was used for, or why it is so lavishly decorated

Inside was simple yet elegant. The fresco painting on the arches on the ceiling was delicate and tasteful.

Back outside, there were small sections of stucco, it looks like part,  if not all, of the outside was decorated with this brightly colored pattern.  That would have been a sight.

We walked around to the front and were surprised with an absolutely stunning front door!  I'm glad we made the descison to walk over there, we kind of thought we had seen everything that was there to be seen!

Dad finally agreed to getting his picture taken to prove that he had visited these places too.

{Mission Concepcion}
We made it to the last mission with just enough time to see it all before it closed for the day.  I thought this mission was so pretty with the twin towers and the palm trees that frame the front.  This mission stands proudly as the oldest unrestored, stone church in America!  This mission is famous for the original frescos that are inside.  They are basically sketches of what they used to be, but it was fascinating to see them they date all they way back to 1755. 

I know that I am blurry in this picture and really cant see too much of the church in the background, but I thought it was a cute picture of my dad so I am including it in the post.

What a great day!  We made it to all the missions but one, but I feel like the ones we saw were the most important ones with the most interesting characteristics.  That night we all met up agian for dinner at a nice italian place in the mall and exchanged stories and showed pictures of what our day had been like and how fun our different activities were.  So fun!