Posted by: lindsaygoes | September 17, 2012

Museums, Caverns and Extraterrestrials

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After Houston we drove to San Antonio. Once there we visited the Alamo, where we watched a video on the Battle of the Alamo and saw various artefacts from Davy Crockett and the 188 other people facing the 5000 soldiers of the Mexican army. While in San Antonio we also visited the Buckhorn Saloon and Museum, which is the only museum I’ve ever been to where you can buy a beer and carry it around. The museum was full of western kitsche such as various stuffed animals (including a kangaroo and a dingo), an illusion area with things like water appearing to run uphill, and a replica Texan town. Then we had a peaceful walk along the River Walk, which was a nice escape from the heat at street level and a good opportunity to have some ice-cream. The only problem was that it wasn’t very well connected and we had to keep walking up and down stairs to do the full loop.

We did a lot of driving the next day to get to Carlsbad Caverns, but arrived once the caverns were closed. We did get to watch the bat flight and saw hundreds of thousands of bats spiralling out of the cave mouth and disappearing into the distance. It was amazing how many bats there were, they kept coming and coming and in the end it got to dark to see the last ones come out. Because there isn’t much light pollution the skies are very clear over Carlsbad and they were having a star party, so we got to look through some telescopes at Saturn. You could tell it was Saturn because of the rings!

The next morning we got to go into the Caverns, which were incredible. The largest part of the Caverns, the Big Room was enormous and filled with amazing rock formations. It was incredibly quiet, and dimly lit, throwing attention to the stalagtites and stalagmites throughout the Caverns. Our next stop was Roswell, where we visited the UFO museum and had a bit of a walk around town, which was full of alien themed souvenir shops and a sermon being broadcast over loudspeakers, booming into the street. Our final stop for the day was Santa Fe, the oldest capital in the US. The center of town is filled with adobe buildings, echoing the original Spanish architecture. We saw the oldest church in the USA (1610), the oldest house, and the oldest public building (Palace of the Governors) and also wandered around the central square before dinner. Our campsite that night was fairly primitive, a maze of tent clearings divided by trees, but because there were hardly any lights the view of the night sky was spectacular. We could see the whole milky way arcing above us. 

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