Archive for February, 2020

deep in the heart of Texas

We’ll sort of. Sort of not. It’s about half way through my time in Texas, USA.

Dale’s been here a fortnight, visiting her sister Donna and family south of Houston, then some of her sister Diana’s family in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Off into the wide blue yonder, Air New Zealand style
A bit of the old Davey Crockett … or is it Daniel Boone?

The flights over to Houston via Auckland were expectedly long haul in more ways than one, but I did manage about 3 hours on the 13 hour leg. Helped incredibly by having the benefit of a “sky couch” arrangement. Yours truly never manages sleep on planes. I envy those who do!😀 The timing of these two+ weeks is spot on, as the year ministry-wise has been way too full on. A break is just what the doctor ordered.

I fly into Houston, Dale flies back into Houston from Pittsburgh, we pick up our rental car (free upgrade to a SUV) and we’re off to SAN Antonio, four hours NW – our accommodation, the incredibly salubrious Eilan Hotel and Spa on the outskirts of town. We were able to access it through wider family. Nice, but way more opulent than our usual style. We did amazingly well in our studio room, bar-size fridge, raisin bran in disposable cardboard bowl and all. Base camp really, but close to shops and food places and having the most wonderful indoor heated lap pool.

San Antonio is steeped in US/Spanish/Mexican history and culture. We made sure to delve into that. This meant:

  • the Alamo – historic Spanish mission site where a decisive, iconic battle happened in 1836. Remember the Alamo still cries out. It’s a visit I won’t forget!😀
  • the River Walk – this amazing length (many, many kilometres paved each side of the SAN Antonio River – goes right through the CBD and often with cafes and restaurants each side. Quite beautiful. We loved it.; especially the 40 minute cruise included in our three-day hopon-Hopoff bus pass.
  • Market Square – apparently the largest “Mexican market” outside of Mexico. Dale enjoyed that while I visited the slightly disappointing Institute of Texan Cultures.
  • The Missions. I’ve already mentioned the Alamo, but that’s just one of five on the famous Mission Trail. Just south of downtown is the Mission SAN Jose. We attended a wonderful Mariachi Mass there – in the week 300 years of worship and mission were being celebrated. Such a God-communing experience.
  • One other SAN Antonio highlight – the 25 minute AV projected evening presentation of The Saga on the front of St Fernando Cathedral. Brilliant and evocative representation of some of Texas’ history.

A few “down days”, then off into the SAN Antonio hill country on a chilly winter’s day to German-settled Fredericksburg. Dale shopped while I checked out an amazing National Museum of the Pacific War. Why Fredericksburg of all places? Well – Admiral Nimitz hailed from there!

Heading back to San Antonio, the slightly-closeted country music fan in me couldn’t help but drive through Luckenbach, Texas … inspiration for a famous country song. This is a town whose population is 3 and could not be located on our Garmin GPS and whose town loop is all of 300 metres!

Here’s Willie Nelson and co singing Luckenbach, Texas

So it is that we farewelled SAN Antonio – great week there – and under cold but beautifully clear skies we’ve spent most of today driving SW via the incredible freeways and overpasses around Houston ( at one stage 11 lanes each way!) to the seaside city of Galveston. Long drive but we made it here fine. Great being right on the beach.

Cheers, David

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