The weather was finally sunny, but hot, so we decided to do the Big Red Bus tour of San Antonio. It's a double decker tour bus. I rode on top and Sue rode in the "air conditioned" lower level. The tour loop is about an hour if you don't get off. When we got back to the starting point at the Alamo we went to the IMAX theater to see "The Price of Freedom - The Alamo" before visiting the Alamo. By the time the movie was over, the inside of the Alamo was closed for the day so we walked around a little and headed back to Winnie. Since our tour tickets are good for 48-hours we'll come back tomorrow to the Alamo and the Tower of the Americas.
Across the street from the Alamo is the "Spirit of Sacrifice", the Alamo cenotaph. It's an empty tomb that commemorates the 200 who died defending the old mission and Texas independence. It marks the spot where the slain defenders were piled after the battle and burned in great funeral pyres. The remains were later collected by local citizens and today located in a marble casket at nearby San Fernando Cathedral. Seen on the sides of the Cenotaph are carvings of the Alamo defenders, including depictions of William B. Travis, Jim Bowie, David Crockett and James B. Bonham. The monument also bears the names of all of the men who died at the Alamo.
Across the street from the Cenotaph is the Emily Morgan Hotel. It's supposedly named after a women, Emily D. West, who was an indentured servant to James Morgan. Indentured servants often took the last name of the person they were indentured to. Several months into her year of indentureship, on April 16, 1836, West and other residents were kidnapped by the Mexican cavalry. West was forced to travel with the forces of General Santa Anna as they prepared to face the army led by Sam Houston. As the story goes, she was in the Mexican camp on April 21 when Houston's force attacked. The Texans won the Battle of San Jacinto in 18 minutes because Santa Anna was caught unprepared having sex with West. The story appeared in a journal kept by an Englishman and it was suggested in 1956 that the women in the diary fit the description of the girl in the popular folk song "The Yellow Rose of Texas." Others have suggested that the Emily West of the "Yellow Rose of Texas" legend was Emily West de Zavala, the wife of the interim Vice-President of the Republic of Texas. There is no contemporary or primary evidence that Emily D. West and Emily de Zavala were the same person so I guess you pick the story that you like.
On the way back to Winnie, we stopped at what I thought was a German restaurant, Beethoven Mannerchor Halle und Garten. We went in to find out it was just a beer garden so we sat at the bar and had a beer. We had just missed the Maifest, where they do serve food along with beer.The Beethoven Maennerchor's purpose is to preserve German song, music, language and the fostering of German customs. It's one of the oldest German singing societies in Texas. it was founded in July 1867 when an influx of Germans who had fled their homelands to south Texas because of political and economic problems about that time to start anew. I found it interesting because my father's grandparents left Germany around the same time and moved to Riverside, New Jersey eventually. The early history of the town was influenced heavily by the new German immigrants because they were the dominant immigrant group in the late 1800's. As we walked out of the place, there was a plaque on the wall that caught my eye. It had something written in German with an American flag background. As I looked at it, it became clear that it was the "Pledge of Allegiance" in German. Never seen that before.
Tomorrow we'll finish our tour of San Antonio on the Big Red Bus. Stay tuned.