Just like what the Central Park is to New York, it is the Riverwalk for San Antonio. It is a walkway along the banks of river San Antonio right in the middle of the downtown. The length spans nearly 15 miles of walkways. Plenty of restaurants, shopping and attractions line the sides. It is the top tourist attraction in the whole of Texas. About one storey below street level, it has numerous bridges connecting both sides at major streets.
That morning, we first stopped at the Alamo after breakfast. The Alamo is a 19th century missionary that was the site for the 1836 war with Mexico famously referred to as the Battle of the Alamo. The battle is remembered for the 200 brave souls from across the US who assembled to fight the 1500 Mexican army led by General Santa Ana. The Texan lost the battle and all of its soldiers. It was the beginning of the Texas Revolution. Now, within its wall is a museum of sorts that has on display numerous rifles and scabbards from the times. A 15 minute film on the history of the war is a must see.
We then headed to Commerce Street and began a leisurely 45 minute walk on the famed San Antonio Riverwalk. It was Saturday morning and the touring crowds were still not up to it to get there. Lunchtime and dinner time would certainly be a busy time at the walk. We got a glimpse of the types of restaurants but our hunt for an Indian restaurant proved futile. There were some of the early morning explorers like us and maybe the locals enjoying the morning walk. The sun was up but at its morning angle wasn’t reaching down onto the paths. I got to take many photographs and was content to use just the wide-angle lens. The 2.8 constant aperture, 17-55 Canon could take sharp pictures and I could crop out sections if I wanted detail. I set to F8 to get sharper pictures and good depth of field. After a few pictures, I noticed that the photos weren’t as sharp. After checking I found that the lens was set to Manual Focus. This reminded me of the golden rule of photography – check your DSLR settings every time you open the camera for taking photographs. Some remnants of settings can always ruin your entire array of shots for the day. I had decided that I wasn’t going to use either Aperture or Time priority mode on this trip. After a few test shots, I set the shutter to Manual mode at F8. F8 and lower gets you sharper pictures, but the amount of light that the camera lets in gets lesser and lesser. You have to compensate for this by using longer exposures and shouldn’t hesitate to use higher ISO. A higher ISO makes the sensor more sensitive to catch light and hence can grab more light in a shorter shutter interval but can introduce ‘noise’. Now-a-days, the cameras work pretty well till about 800 ISO setting and more pro-grade camera operate better with even higher ISO.
Lunch was at Pavani – a vegetarian restaurant. An interesting welcome it had (see photo)! In Texas, the dollar goes a long way. A plate of idli was about $5, but had four idlis!! Never before in America have I had a plate of idli serving more than 2. Same with medu vada. Both of these were excellent. The masala dosa and the rava masala dosa were okay, but by the time we got to these, we were pretty full thanks to the four-a-many idlis and vadas.