Monday, July 18, 2016

Day 31: San Antonio and The Alamo

It's hard to believe that it's already day 31 of the 2016 Grand Western Tour. The group has grown incredibly close and it's amazing to see how the friendships have blossomed over the past month.

We successfully made it through our first night in the "haunted" Menger Hotel with little to no sign of ghosts or spirits. The hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places and is one of the oldest and most famous in Texas. It is said to host over 32 ghosts including President Theodore Roosevelt, Sallie White (an old chambermaid that was killed at the hotel), and several of the fallen from the Battle of the Alamo. The hotel is very charming and is a tourist destination in and of itself. 

(The Menger courtyard)

This morning, the group slept late and met in the lobby at 10:30 to head to the IMAX Theater to watch "Alamo, the Price of Freedom." This film was a great introduction to the Battle of the Alamo and its significance in the Texas Revolution. 

The Alamo was originally named Mision de Valero and was home to missionaries and their Indian converts for over 70 years. In 1793, after the mission was secularized, the Spanish military was stationed at its location. The mission was then named the Alamo (Spanish for cottonwood) in honor of the soldiers' hometown, Alamos de Parras. 

(Waiting in line to enter the Alamo)

The battle between the Texans and Mexican troops lasted a total of 13 days. The Texans were out numbered ten-to-one and every defender was killed in the attempt to protect their freedom. A few famous men, James Bowie and David Crockett, were among the slain. The cruelty of the Mexican troops during the Battle of the Alamo fueled a desire for revenge from the Texans. They finally defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto, ending the revolution. 

After the movie, the group took a quick tour of the Alamo church and plaza and departed for free time in San Antonio. Some hit the Riverwalk or the Shops at Rivercenter for lunch and shopping. The restaurant of choice was Dicks's Last Resort. With an intentionally obnoxious staff, I'm sure the group had fun and a few laughs during their meal. They all even got a souvenir hat!

For dinner, the group went to Fudrucker's and chowed down on burgers or chicken sandwiches and fries. The service and food was great and we got in and out in a jiffy, leaving more free time to roam the city. 

Tonight's curfew was at 9:30, giving the crew plenty of time to prepare for an early morning and long drive to New Orleans! Tomorrow is our last full day of the trip, then we are headed home. With that being said, there seems to be a lot of mixed emotions coming over the students. They are excited to return home, yet sad for the trip to end! 

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