Just a stone’s throw from the remains of The Alamo, San Antonio’s colonial shrine to the 200 Texans who lost their lives fighting for independence from Mexico in 1836, there is a small bridge on a busy street over the San Antonio River.
Not particularly significant to most of the passersby going about their daily business, yet it was at the base of this bridge down by the river, where two of The Alamo fighters met with the Mexicans briefly to try and negotiate a peaceful solution.
The point is, the river was flowing here then, and today, it is as important as it was back then. These days of course, it is used in more recreational pursuits; its various canal like tributaries offering a Venice-esque experience as you glide along the downtown area on a guided riverboat tour. You can catch a water taxi to ferry you around town, or just take an evening stroll along the walk ways crossing over numerous little bridges as you pass by waterside cafes and restaurants.
However, the river is not just about making San Antonio a pleasant walk about, it also links up the five colonial Missions that were built by Spanish Franciscan Friars in the early 1700s in an attempt to convert the local native Indian communities to Catholicism. Any San Antonio travel guide should include a visit to The Missions. The Missions: Conception, San Juan, Espada, San Jose and of course San Antonio de Valero which later became known as The Alamo. All five of the Missions can be visited today with Conception the best preserved and still used for services, whilst Mission San Jose has been more or less reconstructed to show how the complex used to look and what life living there was like. You can join one of the daily tours there and get a greater insight for sure. These five Missions collectively represent the best examples of colonial architecture across the entire US.
The Mission Reach Ecosystem Restoration and Recreation Project was formed to restore the eight mile stretch of the San Antonio River from the downtown river walk to Mission Espada and reintroduce native plants , birds and woodland and provide connecting hiking and biking trails to all five Missions. Portals along the route tell the unique tale of each Mission. Originally, the river flowed right next to the Missions, but it was later moved to stop the regular seasonal flooding. The flooding stopped but the flow change destroyed much of the original wildlife habitat and the Mission Reach will certainly change all that.
For more information on the Mission Reach project www.sanantonioriver.org
River Tours: www.riosanantonio.com
America As You Like It offer a 7 night package from £1335 per person including return international flights on United, car hire, 2 nights at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, Houston, 3 nights at the Hilton Austin Downtown and 2 nights at the Hilton Palacio del Rio in San Antonio. Price based on 2 people sharing on a room only basis. For more information contact 020 8742 8299, email@example.com or visit www.americaasyoulikeit.com