Getting on/off a public bus. Walking up to 2 miles, climbing up/down stairs to access River Walk area, standing in museum up to 2 hours.
Each day at the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as make-your-own Belgian waffles, scrambled eggs, sausage, fresh fruit, oatmeal, biscuits and gravy, and more.
Since Spanish Conquistadors first landed on this soil more than 500 years ago, there have been fascinating stories of conflicts and compromises, love affairs and bitter hatreds among our many peoples. A noted professor will lead us on an enthralling, fast-paced, two-hour journey through Texas history from its earliest beginnings to the modern day. We will be drawn into the lives of those early citizens and find ourselves torn by the challenging choices people of the day had to make in order to survive. Those never-to-be-forgotten stories of the past will help us understand the Texas we will see over the next few days. Next, we’ll set out on a walking field trip with our Group Leader to San Fernando Cathedral and step back in time to the 18th century Spanish colonial era. The cathedral was built from 1738-50 by settlers from the Canary Islands who had been granted land by Spain’s King Philip V. The oldest church sanctuary in the United States, it is still an active parish of the Archdiocese of San Antonio. Santa Anna raised the red flag of “no quarter” from the church tower during the siege of the Alamo. One of the most interesting of the cathedral’s holdings is what purports to be the final resting place of Davy Crockett, William Travis, and Jim Bowie. We will gain an appreciation for the efforts of the historical conservation society in preserving the city’s past while encouraging new development.
At a local restaurant, we’ll have a buffet meal with salads, soups, a made-to order pasta bar, terrific desserts, and beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Led by a local expert, we’ll embark on a walking field trip to explore some of San Antonio’s most iconic sites. The Spanish colonial mission we know as the Alamo was established in 1718 and moved to its current location in 1724. Its history is fascinating and complex. After the fallen defense by 182 Texans against General Santa Anna’s army in 1836, “Remember the Alamo!” became a rallying cry for Texan independence. We’ll hear the story of the Alamo and have some time to go inside to visit the shrine, view artifacts, and watch a short movie. The Menger, the oldest continuously operating hotel west of the Mississippi, was established in 1859 and set the standard of luxury for its day. Among the historic events that took place here, Teddy Roosevelt recruited his “Rough Riders” cavalry brigade. Our local expert will bring us inside for a peek at the elaborately appointed lobbies and the Menger bar, to see memorabilia from T.R.’s time. We’ll return to the hotel at the end of our field trip for time to relax or enjoy the hotel’s “kickback” reception.
We’ll walk to restaurant near the hotel for a plated meal with choice of entrée and beverage choices of coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.
Stepping outside to the River Walk— the heart of the city — we’ll board a public barge for a narrated ride on the San Antonio River. Situated 20 feet below street level and just steps from the famed Alamo, we’ll see how stone pathways connect shops, restaurants, hotels, and museums with a blend of architecture that reflects the development of this centuries-old metropolis. The barge pilot will tell us about the history of the area and the structures we pass as we float along the river. The Group Leader will accompany those who would like to walk across the plaza adjacent to the hotel to San Fernando Cathedral for an outdoor light show by French artist Xavier De Richemont. This 24 minute show tells the story of San Antonio from its beginnings to present day. Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the evening is at leisure. Prepare for check-out and transfer tomorrow.