Decision time. I only had a limited number of days in San Antonio. Was I going to commit to a half day trolley ride to see the Spanish Missions.
The Alamo was one of those missions and to be honest it was a pretty moving experience. I did not even know the others existed.
I chose the tour to Mission San Jose and Mission Concepcion along with other points of interest to give a more varied experience. I even jumped off the trolley before the last stop to get in a two mile walking tour of some historic houses. I would not really recommend that last part. The last stop is the Tower of the Americas and it was a whole lot farther from the previous stop than it seemed. Once that Texas sun starts beating down on you - Yeah - just stick with the tour.
The missions are around 200 - 300 years old depending on which one you are visiting. At the time they were built, they were the only structures of their type for hundreds of miles. They were built along the San Antonio river. In this part of Texas water comes in bunches or nothing at all so a continuous running source is important when building small towns.
On the way to the missions you pass thousands and thousands of houses and buildings. The amount of time that has passed when these missions were the only significant structures till now is miniscule. The amount of change is hardly conceivable.
I always think to the trail blazers eeking out mere survival in a world too primitive for any of us to survive a week in. Could they have even envisioned what would happen in the life time of their great grandchildren or maybe a bit farther along.
Add just another hundred years to that and an entirely modern world has engulfed these small outposts. Luckily they were saved and restored so we can all marvel at those who went before us. If you really stop and think, you can't help but appreciate deeply all that we enjoy now.
The story of these missions was a powerful one. I'm glad I was able to squeeze this tour in. If you get the same opportunity, the San Antonio Trolley Tour was a very convenient way to enjoy the sites.
For more photos of the missions [click here]