After several frustrating days of dealing with Chase Sapphire travel & Air France, Air France has decided to void the voucher I was going to use for the May/June Germany trip. So, I won’t be on the Mosel Camino this spring.

It costs very little to get to Germany once I’m in Portugal/Spain, so I may still go after I finish the Camino Portuguese (from Porto) and the Camino Inglés (from A Coruña). The Portuguese is about two weeks walking and the Inglés is only 5 days. I feel my chapter of European walks is coming to a close, so I may take this opportunity. Even if I’m not up for walking the Mosel Camino – I would enjoy seeing that part of the world. Pondering.

Direct flight: Porto to Luxemburg is $43.00 USD

Day Three: San Fernando Cathedral & Dinner on the Riverwalk

“San Fernando Cathedral was founded on March 9, 1731 by a group of 16 families who came from the Canary Islands at the invitation of King Phillip V of Spain and is the oldest, continuously functioning religious community in the State of Texas.”

A good night’s sleep and Marie and I were ready to explore a bit of downtown. The cathedral was less than two blocks from our hotel.

In the heart of downtown San Antonio.
San Fernando Cathedral
San Fernando Cathedral
Bexar County Courthouse – across the street from the cathedral.

The Bexar County Courthouse is the largest and oldest continuously operated historic courthouse in Texas1It was designed by James Riely Gordon in the Romanesque Revival style1Construction began in 1891 and was fully completed in 18962The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 19772The Courthouse currently functions as the county seat of Bexar County

A perfect San Antonio ending. Dinner on the Riverwalk. There’s Marie, studying the menu.

Day Two: Mission Concepción

“Named in honor of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception and Juan de Acuña, the beautiful stone church known as Mission Concepción was originally founded in 1716, and transferred to the San Antonio River area in 1731. 

The church is considered by many historians as the oldest unrestored church in the United States.  It is a National Historic Landmark, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is home to an active Catholic community in San Antonio.”

I didn’t get photos inside because there was a guide and a bunch of tourists in the pews. And because I was so tired that I forgot!

Walls and walls of unrestored mission sections.

The Pilgrimage Center is attached to Mission Concepción by a patio. I was so excited to arrive – and so tired! That I forgot to take pictures. But here it is:

Mendy carried my pack in her Nomad trailer both days, but at this point, we had to transfer the pack to Marie’s e-tricycle and Mendy rode back to the hotel, packed up her car, and headed to a park campsite to finish a couple of days of camping and hiking.

Day Two: Mission San Jose – Exploring

The Mission

The Rose Window. Marie said she’d read that the priest would say mass from the inside standing at the window, and the natives had to stand outside to hear mass.

The Rose Window

“The Rose Window is known as the premier example of Spanish Colonial ornamentation in the United States. Its sculptor and significance continue to be a mystery. Folklore credits Pedro Huizar, a carpenter and surveyor from Spain, with carving the famous window as a monument to his sweetheart, Rosa. Tragically, on her way from Spain to join him, Rosa was lost at sea. Pedro then completed the window as a declaration of enduring love.

A less romantic, but more likely theory is that the window was named after Saint Rose of Lima, the first saint of the New World.”

Mission San Jose

Day Two: Mission San Jose – On the Way

Queen of the Missions

“The largest of the missions was almost fully restored to its original design in the 1930s by the WPA (Works Projects Administration). Spanish missions were not churches, but communities with the church the focus. Mission San José captures a transitional moment in history, frozen in time.”

Again, it was a good little walk from the hotel to the mission. We didn’t mind! The path along the San Antonio river, critters, and flowers. And River Keepers!

Antonio the River Keeper. He retired from the United States Marine Corps. He’s 71 and has been married to the same woman for 45 years. He takes care of the river for vacation money – and to stay out of his wife’s hair!

This fellow strutted around and showed off his red eyeglasses.

Look closely. This fellow is just about finished with his lunch.

Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of tiny butterflies. Like walking through a Disney animation.

Day One: Mission San Juan – Exploring

It’s a hop and a skip between Mission Espada and Mission San Juan. “Originally founded in 1716 in eastern Texas, Mission San Juan was transferred in 1731 to its present location. In 1756, the stone church, a friary, and a granary were completed. A larger church was begun, but was abandoned when half complete, the result of population decline.”

Mendy’s bike and trailer on the left, and there’s Marie, about to explore the inside of the mission.
A school field trip. I listened for a while. The leader did a good job of asking questions at a level that encouraged the students to propose answers.
Could not pass up a photo of blooming prickly pear. Almost makes me homesick! On the way back to the hotel.

Back in the room after a 12-mile day. Good thing I’m not concerned about getting my lipstick on straight.

Day One: Mission San Juan – On the Way

Rivers, Bridges, Snails

Mendy waiting patiently. She rode ahead and waited at intersections. Marie rode slowly behind me. My trail angels.

Just look. I had no idea the Riverwalk trail was so beautiful. San Antonio when all out.

Snails! I scooted quite a few to the side of the trail to escape the perils of speeding cyclists.

Day One: Mission Espada – Exploring

Mission Espada

We easily walked another mile just exploring the mission.

The facade reminds me of many of the small churches along the Camino Frances. Maybe the Spanish floor plan was passed on to Texas.
Priests visiting from Croatia. No. I don’t know what they were doing in San Antonio. The fellow in front was the only one who spoke English – and he spoke with a decidedly Irish accent. I’m looking a tad bedraggled. We’d walked in heavy mist and light rain all morning.
Marie reading the historical info plaque while exploring the mission grounds.

Day One: Mission Espada – On the Way

This was the first mission in Texas, founded in 1690 as San Francisco de los Tejas near present-day Weches, Texas. On March 5, 1731, the mission was transferred to the San Antonio River area and renamed Mission San Francisco de la Espada. A friary was built in 1745, and the church was completed in 1756.

On the way to Mission Espada

The walk from the hotel to Mission Espada was about five miles. These two missions are very close together, so if you start at Mission Espada, you’ll certainly visit more than two missions in a day. I think we added about eight miles by walking to/from the hotel.

Walking along the San Antonio River
Blooming Yucca.

El Camino de San Antonio Missions

Tres Peregrinas

Mendy Smith (L) Me and Marie Scott Marks

Marie and I spent our childhoods together. I was ten and she was eight when I moved to the neighborhood. Mendy’s dad & his family lived two doors down from Marie. I am 76.

The walk is through “four eighteenth century Spanish Missions and the oldest functioning Cathedral in Texas. San Antonio is the only place outside Europe that you can officially begin walking the El Camino de Santiago.” El Camino de San Antonio Missions

The Path

Pay attention to the path options. Google likes to take you along high-traffic roadways and not-so-scenic byways. We paused frequently and assessed our options. Opting for neighborhoods and the Riverwalk path added a few miles, but was absolutely worth it.


There ain’t none.
If you want to walk from the hotel to the path (and back to a hotel), count on adding another 8-10 miles to the day. Our first day was about 12 miles and the second day, about 15 miles because we walked back/forth to hotels.

Breaks and food

Benches are along the riverwalk. There are no cafes or places to eat, so bring your snacks/lunch/water with you. One detour we took through a neighborhood brought us by a service station and convenience store, but that was a chance happening.

Day One. Start and finish at the hotel. The dark blue is a random auto trip. Light blue is our path.
Day Two. Finished at our hotel on the Riverwalk.