A wonderful past time, if you enjoy exercise, is to go on walking tours. Walking tours can be long or short depending on how you plan it out and how far you are willing to explore. The key here is planning it out.
First: Know where you want to go.
My wife and I have been down to visit the San Antonio missions a few times. We often stop and walk around. While there we've noticed a park and paths that seemed to go from mission to mission. We began looking into it and found that the City of San Antonio does indeed have both walking and bike paths along the San Antonio River. Theis paths followed the old mission trial that led from mission to mission. We thought it would be great fun to explore the missions on foot.
Second: Know what you want to do.
When we went our purpose was not to spend a lot of time visiting the missions. We had the opportunity to do that earlier. Instead we were anxious to explore the paths and trails along the river. We didn't want to spend all day outside. Though we both exercise regularly we were not ready for a 12 to 15 mile hike in the middle of June. We decided to skip the first mission (Concepcion) and start at San Jose. This cut our hike down to about eight miles.
Third: Account for Weather.
As I have just mentioned, it was the middle of June. The weather had been in the upper nineties! There was no major threat of rain and with the heat rain was kind of welcome. We dressed appropriately in shorts and tees, hats, and sun glasses. We also wore a good layer of sun screen.
Fourth: Know what to bring.
Water was a must. We took a liter. Maps could have been helpful but we felt no fear in getting lost because of the river and well marked paths. We brought cell phones for emergency and kept them silent the whole trip. We forgot the camera! It was a shame because there were tons of Birds all along the trial. We saw Scissor-tails, Hawks, Herons, and many others I don't know the names for. The pictures I have posted came from the previous trips we took to the missions themselves.
The most famous of all the San Antonio Missions. The Alamo is in the center of San Antonio and marks the end of the Mission trail. A visit to the Alamo is a trip in itself. Most people who visit the alamo also enjoy a walk around San Antonio's beautiful river walk.
This Area has a constant flow of tourists. Story boards have been erected to help illistrate the historic events that transpired. There is also a gift shop that offers a variety of souviners.
This little girl was making a wish at the well.
The skyline from within the mission.
Walking down Houston St.
This is the mission that we didn't visit on our walking tour. It is the Mission closest to downtown San Antonio. The mission is still in pretty good shape considering its age. As you can tell from the picture there are still monks and nuns that occupy some of the missions.
This is one of the staircases in the mission. The architecture is something to be admired. The next image is a mural painted on the ceiling of one of the adjacent rooms outside the chapel.
Here I am sitting in the rock quarry used to build the mission. It is only a few feet away from the actual structures.
Mission San Jose
This was our starting point. This is probably the largest and best maintained mission in San Antonio. There is alot to see here. It is worth dedicating a whole evening to visit. We parked our car here and then walked a block east and met up with the trail. From there we just followed the signs.
This is the bastion. It is located near the front of the mission. Shhh, be very quiet. I am hunting wabits. Heeee...
The missions in their day were very colorful. Some of the original plaster still shows dispite the wear of time. On this particular trip to the missions there was a group of artists painting the mission from different perspectives.
This is the oldest mill in texas. Many of the components are original, like the stone that came all the way from Europe. They give guided tours and sell flour made from the mill.
This is our only picture of the actual trail. It follows along the San Antonio river. The river was utilized by the missions through a series of cannals and dams that still exist and work today.
The Mission San Juan
This mission is in need of major renovation. The masonry is cracking and starting to fail all over. On mission grounds is a native grave site. It is also the location of a monistery where a few Monks dwell. On our walk we passed this mission going south and stopped to visit it on the way back up. It has nice restrooms and drinking fountains available.
About the only intact structures here are the chapel, living quarters for the nuns, and the parks office. They have outdoor portable restrooms. The nuns continously play music that gives the place a feeling of reverence. I really like the front of the chapel at this mission.