Monday, January 12, 2009

American River Walk - European Feel

On a warm, muggy day in May, I walked with several friends on San Antonio's renowned River Walk. We had taken a boat tour along the River Walk on the previous morning and shared lunch within view of a mariachi band, at a restaurant across the water. But our walk offered a totally different view of this renowned waterway; much of it quieter and more contemplative.

Brilliant bougainvillea overhung sidewalks and Spanish-tiled stairs, which led from riverside to streetside. As we walked we appreciated hand-painted tiles at the Old Mill Crossing - Last Known Place Where Horses Drank and Forded the River - Erected by the Daughters of Texas Trail Drivers. We admired ornate iron work depicting two hands and a cross and commemorating the first mass celebrated in San Antonio, on June 13, 1691.

We rounded a gentle curve and I was momentarily transported to another world. Just ahead, a driver in a straw hat navigated a tour boat beneath an ivy-covered, arched footbridge. White-painted adobe and red tile roofs at one end of the bridge resembled a quaint European village. Only after we walked several more blocks did we return to the hustle and bustle of modern shops and restaurants, and I missed the quieter, gentler River Walk.

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