Feliz Navidad..................San Antonio

Christmas in San Antonio is about as good as it gets in my book. Steeped in culture and rich in history. It was warm and balmy on the 23rd when we took a stroll along the beautifully lit River Walk. At 10:30 we were still at the outdoor bar at the Westin having a glass of wine. By 11:00 the rain started to fall - we retreated inside.

The next two days were a little more chilly. More suited to a hot toddy in front of the fire. Jim baked his family recipe for Brötchen (yeast rolls) and I made a traditional holiday dinner.
The day after Christmas was bright and beautiful, so we went to see "The Arts of the Missions of Northern New Spain" exhibit at The San Antonio Art Museum. After that, on to brunch at the Liberty Bar. Today has been another stellar day - so it was off for a marathon visit to the Missions of San Antonio this afternoon.
When Texas was "New Spain" the Franciscans and Spaniards established the first mission in San Antonio in 1718. There are five in all. The Alamo (top photo - with the Christmas tree). Mission San Jose (above) is the largest of the missions.Mariachis entertained the crowds at Mission San Jose.
San Jose, like all the missions, was built with local materials in an interesting mix of architectural styles.
Ornate carvings surround the doors and windows. Frescos were painted inside and out.

Mission San Juan is just down the road. Much smaller in scale and set amid the live oaks, it is known for las campanas (the bells).Mission Espada (below) is also small in scale, surrounded by acequias. These gravity fed irrigation ditches were key to supplying the crops, vineyards and orchards with water in this hot climate.
Mission Concepción (below) may be my favorite of all. It is currently under renovation. They are restoring the Frescos in the main chapel.
I love this partictular room - every time I see it I think "Wine Cellar"!

I hope your holiday was a lovely one.

Photography By: Ryannan Bryer de Hickman
Sotto Il Monte Vineyards


  1. Ry...I have been to San Antonio, but never like this as seen through your artful eyes. Thanks for the glorious trip!

    I'm so glad you and your lovely family had a nice Christmas. We had a wonderful one here...just missing my daughter who is in Seoul.

    Happy New Year!


  2. Here I am again admiring San Antonio:) Last night I tried telling you a co-worker just went..she took an auctioneers class/course..I will show her your post..The missions look European to me..MIssion Espada...very much like something I saw at Isola Maggiore:)The wine cellar:) Looks so much like one we saw in Ménèrbes!

    I love your little Pine skewer..what's on it?:)

    I can't exactly tell..

    The candle is so pretty too..I must admit the night shots are out of this world..

    I am so glad you had a nice Christmas and that the festivities continued..

    Dian I hope your daughter comes back soon?

    Happy New Year girls..

  3. Diane - I know the "Missing your daughter" feeling as well. My youngest has lived in Hawaii for nine years. She is moving back to the mainland early next year. I look forward to having her near.
    Monique - Those are cranberries on the Pine skewers. A little tricky to put on - they make a fun swizzle stick. The Missions remind me of Europe as well - perhaps that's why I love them so.

  4. Wonderful pictures of my amazing city ... Thank you!!! You have captured us perfectly... All of your photos are just breath taking, but clearly I am partial to this entry ;) I am thrilled you had a wonderful holiday in our big-small town...Amanda

  5. It looks like you had a glorious Christmas....
    as always your pictures are magical...
    I wish you a Happy and Healthy New year...

  6. Iv heard about the beauty of SA... now I know what they mean.
    ty & best wishes for the New Year to you and family...stay safe !

  7. Cara Ry,

    One thing I love about your blog is that you so artistically and passionately display and highlight the treasures of "New Spain" and other fabulous places you visit. Your blog is so genuine, interesting and really stands out! So happy I found it this year. Looking forward to the next. Wish you tanti auguri di buon anno! Bacione, Ingrid in Umbria

  8. I'm speechless - everything looks just gorgeous. It's easy to tell you had a wonderful time!

  9. I cannot believe we have missed seeing SA at Christmas like this after living here for 15 years! Next year I am making it a must see trip! I have wanted to get over to the missions for months now - have only been to one, in addition to the Alamo - and your post just sealed the deal - as soon as the weather warms up a bit!

  10. Beautiful photographs! The River Walk looks so magical with all the lights. A beautiful place to celebrate the holidays. Missions are wonderful to visit. They put your mind in another time. When I was growing up and we lived in central California a few year, by parents were caretakes of the Mission in Soledad. It was a small community of Swiss/Italian farmers and some of the best memories our family has of the places we have lived.



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