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In January 2005 we went to the States for 3 months. Myra sent a running travelogue back to our Svalöv chapter of SPF (The Swedish Assoc. for Senior Citizens) for publishing on their homepage. Here is a translation of the detailed description of our stay in Texas after leaving Arizona.

Besides visiting relatives in the Giddings area, we did a little sightseeing and even got in a visit to San Antonio with its famous Alamo!



Life is a little more relaxing. We're staying at Louie's cousins' house out in the country outside of Giddings (which could just as well be named Lehmannville, with all the Lehmann's around).

We're having a little R & R after all the hectic days in Arizona. I finally have time to catch up with writing a travelogue to accompany all the great pictures Louie has been taking.

According to tradition, Bobby & Kay met us at the airport and we headed to their favorite Tex-Mex restaurant for our first truly authentic Tex-Mex food for the year served of course with a margarita. As soon as we got to Giddings we went to a CD release party to celebrate a new CD by a local country-western singer. We know his mom, but had never heard him sing before. We of course ended up buying the CD and we enjoy listening to it.

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CD release party at the Tin Star Dance Hall, Giddings. Nearly 600 people came to listen to Chris Brade.

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Kay with her little PC Cruiser we borrowed to get us around to relatives.

Louie's cousin Bobby's favorite pastime is being a cowboy.

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It's always fun to go with Bobby to the local auction barn when they have their Monday auctions. It's fun to listen to the auctioneer.

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Boys and their toys
Bulldozer and Caterpillar tractor. Land is being cleared for cattle and Louie was along and drove a big bulldozer.

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Just behind the house
The house is situated among large trees with a pond a short distance away and cows grazing. It is a serene spot for doing Tai 'Chi.

While we were out visiting relatives, we visited one of Louie's cousins that he hadn't seen in many years who has a wonderful store called Gerline's Quilt Shoppe. After 5 years she has just opened in a new, larger building. I'm not really sure that Louie is so very happy that we stopped there, since I couldn't resist buying something! Seeing all the colorful fabrics and ideas really fills your head with ideas. Even though the shop is out in the country on their farm, it was chock full of customers when we visited a quiet morning.

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Gerline with her oldest daughter and grandddaughter in front of her quilt shop.

A huge Texas greeting,



We really lucked out and got to visit with a record number of relatives. One of Louie's cousins celebrated his 81st birthday while we were there and we got the opportunity to visit with his family. There seemed to be at least 10 little kids running around -- great grandchildren.

Another cousin recently celebrated her 90th birthday and we got to see pictures from her party -- just hope I'm as spry and alert at that age if I live that long. 

We drove to Brenham and had a chance to walk around the old part of town before meeting a bunch of cousins that Louie went to school with. Brenham is interesting since it is near the "birthplace of Texas", Washington-on-the-Brazos, which was the first capitol of Texas 1842-1845.

Of course Bobby and Kay had a Texas-style barbecue for us, grilling spareribs on a special grill made from an oil drum -- a true delicacy. Another evening we went out for a fish dinner down the road, where they serve the best fried catfish around. Do I need mention that we had unwanted extra baggage with us home -- the kind that settles around your waiste.

We also visited the interesting Texas Wendish  Heritage Museum just outside of Giddings. Some 500 immigrants calling themselves Wends (or Sorbs) came by boat to Galveston, Texas. They were deprived of using their own language or practicing their own religion in their native Lusatia by Prussians and forced instead to speak German. They fled in order to live as they wanted. Many living in the area today are descendants of these early immigrants, but their language has faded away. They are however the backbone of today's strong Lutheran community. This part of Texas was populated by many Germans adn the Wends are only a small part of these. They felt safe and secure in Texas since German was the most common language in the area.



San Antonio

Early March we headed to San Antonio and The Alamo together with Bobby and Kay, which has nearly become a tradition when we visit them. During the depression at the end of the 1930's a government agency (WPA) providing jobs for unemployed people sanctioned a river project, providing the original river walk along the river in San Antonio.

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Festive along the Riverwalk - plenty of tourist boats traffic the river
The San Antonio River Walk is a unique tourist attraction today with restaurants, bars and shopping along the river.

We stayed at a hotel right on the River Walk. There is activity along the River Walk day or night.

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Margaritas flow as freely as beer here. We had to stop twice before we reached the restaurant to test the Margaritas.

We chose the oldest and largest Tex-Mex restaurant along the River Walk, which we of course chased down with Margaritas. 

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It was a good thing that we didn't have far to go back to the hotel from the restaurant. Kay had her walker that she uses because of back problems, so the rest of us hooked on so we wouldn't get lost. We didn't have to walk along the street, so we were out of harm's way.

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Next day we visied the Market Square, considered the largest Mexican marketplace outside of Mexico. The buildings make you think of New Orleans with their wrought iron trimmed balconies.

It's easy to find souvenirs here, but the only things that snuck into our bags were cute little T-shirts for our littlest girls. The Market Square makes you think you are in Mexico, making it a great place to go shopping if you can't make it across the border.

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From there we went straight to The Alamo. "Remember the Alamo" as Texans say with pride. The Alamo church has been designated a shrine by the State of Texas, making it a place of reverence and reflection. It symbolizes the heroic struggle against overwhelming odds --  the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

From the beginning it was known as "Misión San Antonio de Valero", built in 1724. Missionaries worked there with Indians for nearly 70 years. February 23, 1836 General Santa Anna arrived outside San Antonio, catching the defenders of the Alamo by surprise. The Texas defenders held out 13 days, but in the end all but women and children were killed, including Davy Crockett (famed frontiersman and politician from Tennessee), Commander William B. Travis and Jim Bowie. Texans never gave up, they instead continued their struggle and eventually became a state instead of part of Mexico.

The Alamo was used as a warehouse but was saved at the last minute from demolition when a committee claimed it, saving it for future generations. It later became the #1 Texas tourist attraction! Texas was considered a self-governed nation 1836-1846 before becoming a state.

The Alamo has been managed by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas since 1905 and represents nearly 300 years of history.

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The next morning we took a short stroll along the quiet River Walk. Many restaurants offer breakfast outdoors along the river, even Tex-Mex style. 

A huge Texas greeting,



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Updated: 2008-06-21