Hola & Aloha

San Antonio

iPhone Fridays


The Barwalk

Have you seen the movie Giant? If so, you might recognize this painting. 😉
bw8 bw9
From the Menger we went to a bar named Moses Rose’s, after the only man who chose to leave the besieged Alamo and on our way there we passed the Emily Morgan another historic hotel named after a figure critical to the Texas Revolution.
From there we headed to the Buckhorn Saloon which was established by 17 year old Albert Friedrich in 1881.
We ended our tour at a well known downtown establishment that holds a special place in my heart because my parents went on a date here. 😉
I always learn something new from Emzy, having someone who cares deeply about the city show off and discuss the history of some of its oldest gems, is truly an enchanting experience; I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone interested in learning more about the city, tourist or native. (As I mentioned previously you can find more information on booking a tour at http://www.sabarwlk.com.) On the way back to our car we passed by the Alamo again and another beautiful building downtown the Scottish Rite Cathedral. Hope you enjoyed a brief glimpse into some of the beauty that is San Antonio.
bw13 bw14

The Barwalk

I’d been holding off on this post because I was thinking of doing these pictures as iPhone Fridays posts because they were all taken on my iPhone, but rather than running a three-month theme I thought I would share them in a couple of posts instead. 😀 This summer I was lucky to be invited to go on a unique historic walking tour called The Barwalk. I love my city and I must say, this is a really great way to get to see it; Emzy King is a phenomenal tour guide whose extensive knowledge about the city and it’s history borders on amazing. We began our tour in front of the Alamo, although we did not go inside I did find out there is no basement! I’m kidding, I knew there was no basement when I saw the movie; we’ll chalk that up to elementary school field trips. 😉
While every tour is different, ours led us to the Menger Bar at the historic Menger Hotel. The history of the Menger is too rich and lengthy to condense into a couple of sentences, so I’ll just name drop instead… Teddy Roosevelt, Babe Ruth, Mae West, what do you expect from an architecturally beautiful hotel that opened in 1836?
bw4 bw6bw5  bw7
In the second part of this post we’ll continue along the tour, if you are interested you can find more information on The Barwalk at http://www.thebarwalk.com/.


iPhone Fridays


Sending Love to Chuma, the Okapi

Today the San Antonio Zoo announced the passing of 29 year old Chuma, the okapi; Chuma, you will be missed.okapi


iPhone Fridays



iPhone Fridays



iPhone Fridays


Xmas In July

The inspiration for this post came from a couple of facebook friends who were complaining about Christmas in July sales; as I’d mentioned in my post https://lahainalaura.wordpress.com/2012/03/20/riverwalk-at-christmas-i/ the city changed to wrapping the trees with LED lights in 2011 to the dismay of many resident, in 2012 they returned to draping rather than wrapping the lights as had been done in previous years. These are a few pictures from this past Holiday Season on the Riverwalk.
The Bexar County Courthouse.
The oldest tree on the Riverwalk.
The Hilton Palacio del Rio and Marriott Rivercenter.

iPhone Fridays

Hibiscus after the rain.


iPhone Fridays

Clouds Masquerading as Mountains

Short Sweet Sunday

Santa Rosa Mural
Santa Rosa
Holiday Gazebo
Holiday Gazebo
A few seconds of neighborhood fireworks on New Years Eve

Short Sweet Sunday

A few of the bugs on today’s hike.




Japanese Tea Garden (Sunken Garden) III

In 1983 the San Antonio City Council ordained that the original name of “Japanese Tea Garden” be restored to the site.

In consideration of the number of Japanese-Americans who fought honorably on the side of the United States during World War II.

The Japanese Tea Garden is a beloved San Antonio place, for nearly a century it has been an oasis for visitors from around the world.

Described by “Architectural Record” as, “A remarkable adaptation of design to existing conditions”, the garden is a registered Texas Historic Landmark and listed on The National Register of Historic Places.

The Japanese Tea Garden’s timeless beauty will continue to enchant visitors for generations.

*The above picture was taken as an homage to my Mom who brought me here in the mid-eighties to photograph the garden, a similar picture taken by her hangs in the hallway of my house. The following shot is my favorite of this series, my husband helped me climb to a spot where I was able to shoot the garden from overhead and catch the San Antonio Skyline in the distance.

Japanese Tea Garden (Sunken Garden) II

The Jingu family remained in the home until shortly after the December 7, 1941 Pearl Harbor Incident.

The resulting general fear and resentment by the American public caused the Jingu family to be removed from the garden and its name was changed to “Chinese Tea Garden”.

It was at this time that the Chinese-style entry was added bearing the inscription “Chinese Tea Garden”, this oriental-design, cement sculpted entry was purportedly designed by Maximo Cortez and constructed by Dionico Rodriguez.

Mr. Rodriguez was a Mexican National who is credited with a number of cement structures in San Antonio.

He kept his techniques secret, working always in a tent using tools he made on site, from tin, wood, et cetera; his process consisted of a metal rod base on which he developed three-dimensional designs with layers of especially prepared cement.

He did not divulge either his process of cement sculpture or his process of coloring the cement layers.

He spoke no English and a few co-workers learned by observation only, he is credited with having created various other sculptures throughout the United States in addition to those in the San Antonio area.

Japanese Tea Garden (Sunken Garden) I

Normally I am the writer of what is posted with my pictures but sometime someone else has said it best. For  this series of posts what is written is actually what is posted on the plaques outside of the San Antonio Japanese Tea Gardens affectionately known to locals as Sunken Gardens.

ImageThe idea of a Japanese Tea Garden was conceived by city parks commissioner Ray Lambert in the early 1900’s in an effort to beautify the rock quarries which had earlier been abandoned by the San Antonio Portland cement company.

ImageCommissioner Lambert enlisted the aid of a Japanese artist, Kimi Eizo Jingu, to assist in the design of an authentic Japanese Tea Garden.

ImageArtist Jingu had recently arrived in San Antonio with his family, had been employed by the US Army and was selling his watercolor paintings part-time at a shop in downtown San Antonio.ImageThe Japanese Tea Garden was completed and christened in 1919, having been constructed with prison labor and both corporate and both corporate and individual donations. Commissioner Lambert had given particular effort to achieving true Japanese design and had imported numerous plants from gardens existing in Japan.

ImageA house was constructed on the site using rocks from the old quarry and the Jingu family was moved into the house to act as overseers for the facility.ImageIn 1926 the Jingus opened a tea house in the upper level of their home. Before his death in 1936, Mr Jingu had become nationally recognized for his knowledge of teas.

Short Sweet Sunday

For today’s SSS; I’m showing off some of my flowers, I love Hibiscus because they bloom daily and their vibrant colors add beauty to the house. Two of these Carolina Breeze and Oxblood are new and the last Fiesta is a favorite whose color never disappoints. Hope y’all have a relaxing Sunday.




Short Sweet Sunday

For this weeks Short Sweet Sunday I am including some night shots of downtown San Antonio, the first is of a store that was my favorite to visit as a child with my grandmother and the other two are skyline shots. Hope you are having a relaxing and restful Sunday!
San Antonio Skyline
Night Sky

Riverwalk at Christmas II

Welcome back to our boat tour of the San Antonio Riverwalk. Christmas is always one of my favorite times of year because I like all things sparkly and shiny, so I loved the way the Riverwalk looked and as a San Antonio native it is always awesome to hear the “OOO”‘s and “Ah”‘s of the tourists visiting our beautiful city. The Riverwalk while always alluring is simply magical during it’s Christmas transformation.
Magical Night
Coming underneath yet another bridge we can see the restaurant Casa Rio, while I have not had dinner there it has long been a resident of the Riverwalk and what a gorgeous view to have while you are eating; needless to say I have added dinner there during the next holiday season to my to-do list.
Casa Rio
Here we are approaching the bend before the Arneson River Theater which can also be entered from historic La Villita.
Almost to the Arneson
This picture gives you a sense of how many trees they have put lights on, there are some turns on the River where it looks like a lite forest.
Lit Forest
In some ways it reminds of a the Sugarplum Fairies as I think they would probably live in a place that looked magical like this.
Sugarplum Alley
The Tower Life building which opened in 1929 is both a landmark and historic building in Downtown San Antonio, it can be seen from many places in the city and is the only San Antonio building to boast gargoyles on the corners of its sides which makes it a favorite of mine.
Above the Treetops
Here we are almost upon one of the street level bridges, I am always in awe of how tall the trees are above street level.
As we pass under the Navarro Street bridge one can see the height of these trees, while they are rooted on the walkways of the Riverwalk these giants climb high enough into the air that their beauty can be appreciated even while driving or walking through downtown San Antonio.
Navarro St.
On Friday I will post the final shots from this journey, I hope that you will join me one last time on this holiday cruise.

Riverwalk at Christmas I

It has been quite a while since my last post and this post comes late, these pictures were taken at Christmastime and the reason it has taken me so long to post them is that I have returned to school and have been swamped with homework. However, over the course of Spring Break I took the time to edit these pictures so that I could post them. I hope you enjoy the magical beauty of the San Antonio Riverwalk during the holiday season; on our Rio San Antonio Cruise.
We began by the bridge that many tourists ask about, if they’ve seen the Selena movie; this is the one that Jennifer Lopez sat on and was kissed by the actor who was playing Chris Perez.
Selena's Bridge
There are actually a few of these bridges on the Riverwalk and this is the second one we passed. This is the first year that the city converted to LED lights and while I do miss the old lights, the reflections that the new lights cast on the water are amazing.
Second Bridge
One of the great things about the Riverwalk is that there is no shortage of eating establishments, they have something for everyone’s palate and you can enjoy the beauty of the season while sitting riverside while you dine.
River Dining
The building on the left is the Hilton Palacio del Rio, it was built for the Hemisphere World’s Fair in 1968 and is a modular building; meaning that each room was built and furnished independently and they were all helicoptered into form the building.
Palacio del Rio
The Marriott Riverwalk although a much newer building is just as impressive as it looms over the River and can be seen from several vantage point.
Marriot Riverwalk
This mosaic has been a part of the Riverwalk longer than I have been alive but has been named for Lila Cockrell, one of the city’s longest standing and most beloved Mayors.
Lila Cockrell Theatre
Most of the trees that are lite and line the river are Bald Cyprus and they are huge, climbing incredibly high into the air.
Bald Cyprus
The last picture of this post is of the Marriott again, I loved they way the lite the outside of the building creating blocks of color.
Color Blocks
Join me again later this week for more shots of our Winter Wonderland.

Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ The Butterfly Affair Ƹ̴Ӂ̴Ʒ

One spring day this very photogenic butterfly kept posing for me to take pictures of, so I thought I would share them as a quiet Monday post. 🙂
Hopefully you enjoyed your time with him as much as I did.

Short Sweet Sunday

Because of the date I was going to begin an extended post today on pictures from my last visit to NYC. I was having trouble motivating and was lying on the couch looking outside when I saw one of the outside cats touching something that would jump every time she pawed at it. The drought has turned my whole back yard to hay (for lack of better description) so it wasn’t too hard to see what was going on. At first I thought she had a frog but when I went outside to inspect her prey closer I realized she had a little chameleon. I happen to be particularly fond of these little guys and he actually jumped on my shoe and tried to climb up my leg to escape so I reached down and picked him up to save him.
Leaping Lizard
He was so exhausted from trying to get away from her that he let me take a couple of pics once I got him onto the porch. I decided that he needed somewhere safe to hide so I let him loose in a big philodendron.
Little Dude
When I picked him up in the yard he was mottled brown and looking very stressed out but once I placed him on the plant he turned bright vibrant green. He sat and looked at me for a while I think in a bit of disbelief and then crawled off to do whatever lizards do. Thanks for the pics and the inspiration for the post Little Dude I hope you live a long life and have many little leeezards.

☪ Laissez les bons temps rouler! ☪

We here in Texas are not as big on Mardi Gras as the beautiful city of New Orleans; we just put a little San Antone spin on it. These shots were taken in downtown San Antonio on the Riverwalk. Since this is a parade, I’m just going to let you enjoy the images. Remember if you come to visit SA a river barge is one of the best ways to enjoy the sights of the Riverwalk. That being said Laissez les bon temps rouler!
El Palacio del Rio
The Bars on Broadway
Spirit of Mardi Gras
Pat O'Brien's
SA Street Dance & Drum Co.
Joe's Crabshack
Blue Sky

❅Snow Day❅

I am so far south in Texas that snow is a very rare occasion for us, in fact it had literally been decades since the last time it snowed here. Prior to this February the last time it snowed in San Antonio was January 13, 1985; I was old enough to not only remember it but played in it, made snow angels and snowpeople who were taller than me. To this day it seems like a fairy tale and is one of my fondest childhood memories, as we looked over the pristine blanket that coated our front yard I remember my father saying that it had not snowed here for almost thirty years, in fact since he was a boy. So almost thirty years later, I sat glued to the weather channel like a kid waiting up for Santa on Christmas. I’d known since much earlier in the day that it was going to snow, I have traveled to winter places on vacation and seen snow besides the event here as a child. I knew the conditions were perfect and it smelled like snow from about two in the afternoon on. I was ecstatic when I saw the first tweets that the sleet was changing into snow, I threw on some warm clothes and wandered into the night with a broken toe to capture this rare occasion. With out further adieu, snow in South Texas.
There is nothing like looking up into the sky as snow is falling.
Looking up
This is actually a view of the street once it was completely coated.
Snow road
You know some type of weed is the only thing hardy enough to be this green after days of freezing weather.
Little Green
I loved the way the snow looked against the night sky.
Night Visions
Still a kid at heart and I still love the snow.
HAHA! Well, this is a new sight!
Little Hippo
The same weed as before, I just felt he determination to be green deserved a little extra help.
Little Spring
It truly was a magical night and it will probably be a long time before we see another like it.
Winter Night
“The Eskimos had fifty-two names for snow because it was important to them: there ought to be as many for love.” Margaret Atwood