Monday, March 26, 2012

Flat Dylan's Trip to San Antonio

{Flat Dylan is based on The Flat Stanley Project.}

Flat Dylan is in second grade and he wanted to visit San Antonio for his class. He is our nephew and we took him around San Antonio to show him some sights. I hope he and his class enjoyed his adventure. I wanted to share our adventure here too. This is the letter, more or less, that we included with the return package. There is one picture that we omitted from the package because neither one of us was happy with it. However, I included it here.
Flat Dylan arrived safe and sound in a field of bluebonnets (state flower) in San Antonio, Texas. Contrary to popular belief, San Antonio is not the capitol of Texas. The capitol is actually Austin, which is about 90 miles northeast of San Antonio. Isn’t that shocking?

San Antonio is the seventh largest city in the United States. There are about 1.3 million people living in the city, which is about three times the size of Springfield, Missouri.

We picked him up and showed him some sites. The first stop was Mission San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo. Most people just call it “Mission San Jose”. It is one of the five old Spanish Missions in the area. These missions are churches set up by Spain (which, at the time, claimed Mexico) to spread Christianity to the Native Americans that were living in the area. Mission San Jose is the biggest of all the Missions and was the most prosperous at the time. It has been fully restored to its original design in the 1930s.
The famous La Ventana de Rosa, known as the “Rose Window”, dated 1775, is located at this mission. This basic shape is found all over San Antonio – within freeway support pillars, buildings, windows and more. If you are ever down here, keep an eye out for this particular design and you will be amazed at how often you see it.
Our second stop was Mission Nuestra Senora de la Purisima Concepcion de Acuna – known as “Mission Concepcion” for short. It was established in 1715 and is the oldest unrestored Texas Mission and Catholic Church in the U.S. They still hold services at this church every Sunday.
The last Mission we visited was Mission San Antonio de Valero and is probably the most famous of all missions. It served as the home to missionaries and their Indian converts for nearly seventy years before becoming the central location of a famous battle. This mission is known as ”The Alamo”. Contrary to popular belief, the Alamo is not where Texas won independence from Mexico. However, it was the turning point. It became the symbol of Independence for Texas. “Remember the Alamo” became the battle cry and Texas won their independence at San Jacinto.

The Alamo is located smack dab in the middle of downtown San Antonio. Most historians say 188 Texans were under siege at the Alamo fighting against 2000 Mexican soldier for 13 days before finally being defeated.
Flat Dylan climbed all over a Carronade (small cannon) at the Alamo. They had several old cannons on display on the grounds. On the plaque, it said it was used at the Alamo, most likely on the West wall. It was disabled by General Santa Anna before he left for San Jacinto.

We then wandered on the “San Antonio Riverwalk”. This is a group of sidewalks along the banks of the river and one story beneath the streets of downtown. The Riverwalk winds and loops under bridges as two parallel sidewalks which is lined with restaurants and shops and connected to major tourist draws from the Alamo to the Rivercenter mall, to the Theatre, and… well you get the point. There are annual events occurring on the river that draw tourists by the thousands.
Around this time, Flat Dylan was so hot that he tried to dive into the river and we caught him before he could get wet. The temperatures were in the low 80s and humidity was high. So, it was a hot muggy day. We don’t blame him for trying.

We visited the “Tower of Americas” from the Riverwalk. This tower was finished in 1968 for the “Hemisfair Texas’ 1968 Worlds Fair”. You can travel all the way to the top, which is about 500 feet high, to see the sights of downtown and surrounding areas.
We hopped back down to the Riverwalk. The picture of Flat Dylan with the colorful umbrella is the “Casa Rio”, which is Spanish for “River House”, a local Mexican restaurant that was the first business on the Riverwalk to open in 1946.

We then made a last pit stop at the San Fernando Cathedral, which was founded in 1731. It is the oldest standing church building in Texas and is the oldest cathedral sanctuary in the U.S.

Note: This next section was added and includes the picture we omitted in the package.

By this time, Flat Dylan was drooping with exhaustion. And, he was hungry. So, we stopped for a break and a snack. {In hindsight, we know I should have taken a bite out of that cookie and put it just underneath Flat Dylan's smile. It would have made for a better picture. But, like Flat Dylan, we were exhausted and couldn't think straight! Ha!}

Note: This is the end of the addendum and return to the normal package letter.

So, we called it a day and he crawled back into a new envelope to return back home to y’all.

There are many more sights and things one can do and see in San Antonio such as the Sea World, Fiesta Texas (Six Flags), Buckhorn Saloon and Museum, Mercado (The Market Square) and a bunch more.

I hope y’all enjoyed hearing about his travels. We certainly had a fun time showing him the sights. Y’all should find some postcards, brochures, a map and a small book about San Antonio along with this letter. Please enjoy them.

~ Flat Dylan’s Uncle Dan and Aunt Lee Ann