Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sparkly San Antonio

I've been AWOL since early December--busy month. So here's the first installment in the backlog: our annual trip to San Antonio to see the Christmas lights on the riverwalk.

We spent the night at the St. Anthony Wyndham, which is a few blocks from the river (and therefore a little cheaper than the places that are directly on the water). It was built around the turn of the last century, and as you can see from the lobby, it's très chi-chi.

The bit we liked best, though, was the doorbell.

Each room room has a brass plate with a button on the outside; push the button, and a clapper chimes on a couple of pieces of metal inside. We know this because we were fascinated by it and pushed the button over... and over... and over... Our poor neighbors.

I would pay good money to buy such a device and install it on our front door--so cool, so analog, so fin-de-siècle.

This is mostly what we came to see: the lovely lights blinking in the trees and reflecting in swirls on the water. We never found a camera setting that could really capture all the color, but this trippy picture was oddly the best. Drink enough overpriced margaritas, and this is roughly what the riverwalk looks like.

The next day, we visited the San Antonio Botanical Garden.

It was in the throes of a lovely explosion of fall color. I think--but wouldn't swear to it--that these are chalk maples--Acer leucoderm.

The baldcypresses were also changing, which looks especially nice against clumps of palmettos.

I always like visiting the fachwerk house they have on the grounds. They had to replace or resurface the plaster and replace the roof, but the beams are original. I'm not sure what kind of wood they are, but these gnarled old beams are neat.

Although it was quite crisp out, a number of plants were in flower, like this Turk's cap (Malvaviscus arboreus).*

*Actually, technically, a giant Turk's cap, Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii--good catch, Bob!


Bob said...

Are you sure that's a Turk's Cap? The blooms are close but the leaves are so non Turkish Capish looking.

Elgin_house said...

Funny you should ask; I did a little web sleuthing, and this is actually a giant Turk's cap: Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii. I hadn't realized it, but their leaf shape is different from the regular TC--lanceolate instead of cordate, I think. Also, the flower is not only larger, but more elongated in shape in the GTC. Good catch!

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