Wednesday Feb 7th
Yesterday we did a last little bit of sight seeing before leaving the San Antonio area and moving west. We explored New Braunfels and Gruene (pronounced green) both as you might imagine founded by early German settlers and with much in evidence of their proud heritage. Many dwellings built with stone and timber but one in particular really stood out for us. The Herne Hardware store built over 100 years ago still operates as a family business, now three generations down the line; it was like stepping back in time. Rows of secretive drawers lined the walls ceiling high, with the ladders to reach them standing ready on their runners. The cash desk at the back still linked with the lines that used to bring the money from the assistants at the front. Heaven knows what stocktaking must be like! We felt rather guilty “just looking” even though we could have purchased any number of treasures including a washboard, perfect for life on the road. B&Q it certainly was not, how sad that we have lost so many wonderful emporiums such as this. Other grand buildings stood proud in the afternoon sunshine. The town’s history has been depicted in brilliant murals that appear everywhere, very cleverly incorporating the skips, meter cupboards and other paraphernalia that modern life brings. It was a charming little town, quite different from anything we’ve seen in Texas so far. Gruene too was quaint, it boasts the oldest and best known dance hall in the state. It was an interesting building with its “grand” façade and rather unexpected rear! More like a chicken shed.
Today we went west…and began to see a very different type of country. Gradually we began to climb, we’re now about 1600’ above sea level, which if you think, much of the Gulf Coast is only a few feet above, this is high! It was a welcome transition, from the wide flat landscape with predominately timber housing, to the “hills” and more stone, ranch type homes. We are staying in a beautiful spot on the banks of the Guadeloupe River; it’s only about 100 miles west but will give us the opportunity to have a look around the area. We drove along the river this afternoon, the road was winding…something else we’ve not been seeing and was flanked by quite substantial houses. We also visited Stonehenge on the outskirts of a little town called Hunt! Amazing considering we haven’t actually visited the real one.