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