A Trip to San Antonio, Texas

November 5-12, 2022

We had enough Delta points to schedule a quick vacation to San Antonio, Texas, a city that we had never visited. It included our flight, hotel, and car.

The hotel upgraded us to a suite and we were quite impressed! After checking in we headed out to the famous San Antonio River Walk.

Saturday’s Adventures

Along the River Walk

Our destination was Valero, or the Alamo as its known to most people. It was the first mission along the San Antonio River in 1718. The Alamo was where over 150 people died in 1836 as they fought for independence from Mexico.

Sunday’s Adventures

We headed to Fredericksburg to visit some wineries along the “Wine Road 290”! Our first stop was to park and walk around the town of Fredericksburg. As we walked along the main road in town there were many shops and some of the wineries had downtown tasting rooms.

After walking around town, we visited a few of the wineries along the “Wine Road”! Our first stop was Messina Hof. They produce wines that are 100% grown in Texas.

On to Signor Vineyards with over 200 acres!

We also stopped at Grape Creek Vineyards founded in 1983 and was the oldest winery on Highway 290. They bottled all of the Grape Creek wines on their estate.

We really enjoyed our drive along the Wine Road. We drove up to a few of the other vineyards to look around before we headed back to San Antonio.

Monday’s Adventures

This morning we walked the other direction along the River Walk and headed to the Pearl District.

The Pearl District had shops, restaurants, a park area, the Culinary Institute of America and the Hotel Emma.

We had brunch at the Bakery Lorraine that was known for their baked goods. Every item that they serve was handmade. The food we had was delicious! We visited and browsed a great book store called The Twig. After walking around the area we stopped in the lobby of the Hotel Emma. It was a historical hotel that once was a Brewhouse in the 19th century.

This afternoon we visited the other Missions of San Antonio. Mission Concepción was our first stop. It had the oldest unrestored stone church in America.

Mission San José became known as the “Queen of the Missions”. At its peak, it housed 350 Native Americans that resided in 84 two-room apartments.

Mission San Juan was established in 1716 to serve the Nazonis Indians but the mission struggled due to disease and danger from attacking Apaches and then the Comaches. People of the San Juan Parish still worshipped at the church just as their ancestors had.

Mission Espada was established in 1731 and had many Spanish features. You could see the church doorway, the brick archways and the bell tower all had a Spanish influence.

Tuesday’s Adventures

Today we walked along the River Walk to the Main Plaza so we would know where the San Fernando Cathedral was located because we were going to go to the light show this evening. This afternoon we spent enjoying the pool at our hotel, reading and watching the Denver Nuggets basketball players that were also staying at our hotel!

Wednesday’s Adventures

Today was a trip to visit Austin, Texas the capital. We visited the capital building and the LBJ Presidential Library. Both were very educational.

Thursday’s Adventures

Natural Bridge Caverns was our destination for a late morning tour. The owners of the land developed that first 1/2 mile of the 2 miles of caverns. We were told that the first 1/2 mile was the best to see and was called their Discovery Tour.

This afternoon we visited the historic Market Square where you could get the flavor of old Mexico with the many locally owned businesses.

After walking all through Market Square, we visited the Tower of the Americas. It was a clear afternoon and it wasn’t very busy. It was 750 feet tall and we had awesome views of San Antonio from the observation deck.

Friday’s Adventures

This morning we went to the Witte Museum. The museum had exhibits that incorporated Texas heritage, nature, science, and culture.

Our next stop was the Japanese Tea Garden which had also been known as the Chinese Tea Gardens. It opened in an abandoned quarry in the early 20th century. It also was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. A lot of people were visiting here. The gardens were beautiful.

When we returned to the hotel for our last night in San Antonio, we visited the rooftop bar of our hotel for a glass of wine.

Saturday Adventures

This morning we checked out of the hotel, returned our rental and flew home. It was a great trip and we enjoyed exploring and learning about San Antonio, Texas!

A Taste of Peru: Discover Lima, Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu Day 11 & 12

Saturday, October 15th, 2022 & Sunday, October 16th, 2022

This will be a quick post because the next two days are mainly traveling!

Today we left Aguas Calientes by train and arrived back to the Ollantaytambo Station where we boarded a bus to take us to Cusco.

Our train

When our bus arrived back to the city center of Cusco we had lunch at a local restaurant and then went to the airport where we grabbed our luggage and reorganized for our flight. It will take a little over an hour for our flight from Cusco to Lima.

Leaving Cusco, Peru

When we arrived in Lima our group and our group leader said goodby. Some of us would be continuing our travels and some would be staying an extra day or two in Lima. Our flight from Lima was scheduled to depart around 11:00 PM to fly to Houston, Texas.

We arrived in Houston around 5:00 AM Sunday morning. We went through customs and said goodbye to our friends, Roseanna from Minnesota and Kathy, from Colorado. We hope to do another adventure together! Once we rechecked our luggage for our flight to Columbus we relaxed in the United Club because we had about six hours before our flight!

We arrived in Columbus on time, collected our luggage and headed home after a fantastic trip to Peru. Road Scholar fulfilled their description of providing a “Taste of Peru: Discover Lima, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu”.

Machu Picchu

A Taste of Peru: Discover Lima, Sacred Valley & Machu Picchu Day 10

Friday, October 14th, 2022

This morning we checked out of our hotel early and boarded our bus to take us to the train station at Aguas Calientes Station.

We had assigned seats for the train ride which lasted about an hour and a half.

We arrived at Aguas Calientes the town that is considered the “Gateway to Machu Picchu”. Due to its remote location, it’s accessible to tourists only by train. After getting off the train we walked to our hotel to check in and drop off our backbacks and gather whatever we were going to take with us for our visit to Machu Picchu.

Peru is limiting the number of people visiting the site and therefore our tickets were good for the afternoon. Our group leader already had our entry tickets and our bus ticket that would take us up a winding road near the entrance of Machu Picchu.

The line for the mini bus up to the entrance of Machu Picchu was long but moved quickly.

One of the buses that takes passengers up to the entrance of Machu Picchu.

The ride up the mountain to the entrance was slow with switchbacks and steep sides with no guardrails.

When we got off of the bus we went to the Tinkuy Restaurant. It was situated right at the entrance to Machu Picchu and it was the only restaurant there. All other restaurants were 40 minutes away in the valley of Aguas Calientes.

As we were eating lunch the clouds thickened and then the rain cut loose. It was really pouring. Luckily we still had time before our ticket was valid. We relaxed in the restaurant until it was time to go. Luckily we had our rain ponchos with us and when it was time to leave we put them on and got our trekking poles ready. It was still raining but not as hard as it was earlier. The path as we started hiking up was wet and therefore it was slick. You needed to be careful with your steps. We were worried that the cloud cover would be like the picture below and we wouldn’t see anything but the clouds when we got to the top!

We were lucky because the clouds started to clear around the site. Machu Picchu was located between two mountains in the Andes. It covered about 80,000 acres and had about 200 stone structures. It was built by the Inca people about 500 years ago. It was believed that the site was a retreat for Inca royalty. They came here and also it was believed that priests led ceremonies and that common people lived here too. Hiram Bingham was an American explorer who looked for Inca ru