In order to continue our quest to avoid the snows of winter, we are now in San Antonio (the second most populated city in Texas). The early 1600's Spanish missionaries named this settlement after Saint Anthony of Padua because it was founded on St. Anthony's feast day. No trip here would be complete without a visit to the 1836 battlefield known as The Alamo - one of five missions that comprise the Mission National Historic Park.
While we were thrilled to be able to visit this "Shrine of Texas Liberty", it was surprising to see how little of the original complex still remains and how commercialized the surrounding area has become. A few points to know: In its 300 year history, the Alamo existed under 6 flags of independent nations and served as a garrison for 5 different armies; among the defenders of the mission San Antonio de Valero were immigrants from six foreign countries (Scotland, Ireland, England, Germany, Spain, and Denmark) because the government had offered land grants to anyone who settled there. Thus, they felt they had to protect their land from Santa Anna's dictatorship. We had a wonderful time.