The Jabronis all decided to take a trip (in February) down to the Padre Islands. On the way home, Astrid and I decided to take a couple of side-trips. Here is our experience in Goliad, Texas.
If you don't know your Texas history (I don't) then you probably won't know much about Goliad. This is really a shame because (in my opinion, at least) the historical sites in Goliad are as (more) impressive than those at the Alamo in San Antonio.
Goliad is a small town southeast of San Antonio. It is far enough away from the city, however, to remain unblemished by development. We arrived late in the afternoon as the sun was setting low in the sky. The lighting and atmosphere were surrealistically perfect; we experienced the beautiful spring-like scenery in near solitude. Since it was a Sunday we had the opportunity to feel the reverence soaked deep within those old walls. I can still remember the perfect silence broken only by the occasional bird call.
Here are some pictures of the fort - named Presidio La Bahia - which played a crucial
role in the Texas war for independence from Mexico. Obviously this is the chapel
tucked safely within the fort walls:
The fort has played an important historical role on many occassions. It was built in 1749 by the Spanish Empire as a protection against French pressure. It was here during the Texas revolution that over 300 Texan revolutionaries were executed by General Santa Anna and his Mexican forces in retaliation for the heavy losses suffered at the Alamo (the Mexicans won the Alamo, but it cost them precious time and lives).
This massive execution did not have the effect that Santa Anna expected,
however, as it only served to strengthen the resolve of the Texans. Here
is a beautiful photo from just outside the fort walls
Notice the beautiful old architecture and craftwork. These walls were built to last. There are not many sites like this in America, although there certainly should be. "Modern" architects have no idea what is aesthetically appealing. In fact, I haven't found many modern buildings anywhere that seem to be made to last. Instead, they are thrown up with the expectation that they will be torn down in 50-100 years. It's a shame that we force ourselves to live in such mundane blemishes. If you are an architect then take heed: it is possible to actually improve your surroundings using old techniques and actual craftsmanship. Also, remember this: natural texture is GOOD. A beautiful handcrafted wall is MUCH better than a boring perfectly-straight concrete eyesore.
OK, enough lecturing. Look at this old rusted lantern and door. It's
the little details that count
These raingutters are neat
I had quite a good time looking through the defense gun-ports
Here astrid poses outside of the fort walls. Unfortunately we were just a
bit too late to get into the fort (it was closing time). This actually
improved the experience, however, since there were very few people around
Surprisingly enough, Goliad is actually home to another beautiful
structure - an old Spanish mission. This one is called the Mision Santo de
Zunega (the "n" needs the little "nya" symbol).
We were also too late to catch this one before closing, but hey... we were
ALL ALONE. We walked around and sat for at least an hour enjoying the perfect
I loved the walls
and the trees...
This is a very nice tree I think.
After looking at the fort and mission, we decided to see the town square.
This was actually a pretty place as well - I see a lot of potential for tourism.
I love the sun blanked out by this tree. The silhouette is a nice effect.
Here is a picture of the courthouse, build in the late 19th century. It's quite
a nice building, actually.
The square surrounding the courthouse has potential to become a real tourist
trap. There are cute (but slightly run-down) buildings lining the entire
border. I wouldn't be surprised if this place is a tourist trap much like
Fredericksburg (out in the Hill Country) in a couple of years (if it isn't
The courthouse has a plaque explaining the birth of the so-called "Texas
Rangers". Apparently there was a fair number of outlaws ravaging Texas
just after independence, and the newly-born country decided to do something
about it. A letter was sent to known outlaws to leave Texas within
10 days or the militia (the Texas Rangers) would come and clean house. The
tree depicted in this photograph is called "the Hanging Tree" for obvious
reasons. Just look at those sturdy limbs on this giant Texas oak.
That's justice Texas-style.