We must be feeling more relaxed: we have begun sightseeing again, partly for exercise and a change of scenery from our hotel, partly to see how our Irish silver memories from 2000 hold up to today's reality. Driving through San Antonio one has the impression that the entire city is going through major changes -- great curving wings of freeway flyovers are being constructed by clusters of green-jacketed construction crews while regular traffic (us) crowds the surface streets, and here and there old commercial buildings are coming down, with new ones rising.
But lots of areas are just as we remembered them from our first stay, back in Spring of 2000 when we were just learning how to be full-time travelers. The public library is just as inviting, with its covered garage very welcoming on a rainy morning. The Riverwalk is, of course, the jewel in the civic crown.
We revisited the San Antonio Museum of Art yesterday. It is housed in a former Lone Star Beer brewery which resembles a fortress. Inside, the Portrait by William Dunlap galleries are large and spare, the industrial elevator adding a striking architectural touch.
It's a small collection. We didn't visit any of the Asian art galleries this trip, because a new wing is being readied and these galleries are closed during the remodeling. We were again impressed by the large and lavish collection of Irish silver, collected by a rich Texan a hundred years or so ago. Everything from serving plates to ornate candelabra, most of it from Ireland, much of that from Dublin, reminds us that Texans themselves came from all over.
The collection of American art is pleasant, with representative paintings (very little sculpture) by the Big Names -- Homer, Sargent, Bierstadt -- Lulu's Bakery and Cafe and lively works by newer artists. We were particularly struck by the vivid painting Pachuco.
One wing of the museum is devoted to Latin American art, with one gallery for religious art and one for folk art. Both are well worth study.
This morning, after a visit to the library, we found ourselves on an unfamiliar street and turned in to Lulu's Cafe and Bakery,"NEVER TRUST A SKINNY COOK".. voted Best Chicken Fried Steak in San Antonio, It probably is. The plates are large and filled with food, There are cinnamon rolls for sale, each one weighing a pound and a half. Lulu herself is very much in evidence, coordinating things, welcoming customers, generally making sure everything is moving along efficiently, and all the while smiling her friendly Texas smile. Probably the best part is the waitresses themselves, sturdy, rollicking women of all ages in bright red t-shirts and perky grins.
We do like this city!