Friday, February 20, 2015

Catching up ...

I've been remiss in not updating this online journal!  We have been busy visiting several places in the area and I've not shared with you.  So in the next few days I'll try to put a few pics on here of where we've been and tell you what we've been doing.

Today is slightly overcast and only 60 degrees this a.m. when I got up.  We want to drive to Banderra this afternoon but might not go if it stays so gloomy -- we'll just stay home and vegetate!  We did go to New Braunfels yesterday and 'did' the railroad museum and a couple downtown antique shops.  Had a wonderful lunch at a local German restaurant.  This area, from NB to Fredericksburg, was settled by Germans in the 1800's.  Lots of German influence in all aspects of the local culture.  And yesterday at the RR museum the guy who was the host had a strong German accent, and a large family group touring ahead of us were speaking German. 

But anyway, today I want to share our experience a couple weeks ago at the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg.  We actually went on two separate days because we just couldn't cover it as we wanted to in one day.  This museum is in three separate locations but all near each other.  We first visited the Admiral Nimitz Museum.  Admiral Nimitz was raised in and near the Nimitz Hotel, which his family ran.  The old hotel building in encompassed by the museum.  It was very interesting because they staged the displays from his birth to his death, of course including his years as commander of the Navy in the Pacific. 
An exterior shot of the Nimitz Museum, built around the old Nimitz Hotel.
As we exited the Nimitz Museum into the courtyard to go next door to the gift shop (far left) there stood a larger-than-life statue of the Admiral himself.  Lots of people were taking pictures with him ...

His life story is very interesting (did you know that he made admiral in spite of being court martialed early in his military career? he went to sleep on duty!).  After we visited the gift shop we walked straight back of this building, through the Peace Garden, and on the opposite corner of the block was the larger War in the Pacific building. 

East entrance to the National Museum of the Pacific War.
We stayed in this building until we were feeling like we were saturated and getting nothing out of it, so we called it a day (for that day) and went for a late lunch.  Now let me say a word here about Fredericksburg.  It is a tourist town.  We went to a restaurant that was rated #2 by Trip Advisor so we expected something great.  What we got was surly service at a order-at-the-counter place where we 'enjoyed' a Boar's Head cold cut sandwich, drink and a bag of chips for $13.  Geeeeeezzzzz!  What a rip.  ANYWAY ...  Except for lunch it was a great day.

We went back two days later (you can use your ticket for 48 hours) and went to the third part of this wonderful museum, the Pacific Combat Zone ... 

This combat zone was one block south of the other buildings and it was just a beautiful day for the walk there from the parking spot.  Part of this area was indoors and part outdoors with a tour guide who talked about the air war, the war on the ocean and the war on land.  Our guide was an older fellow and he knew his stuff; he took lots of questions and knew all the answers.  The tour ended in a Quonset hut field hospital mock-up and was really a great experience.  I learned more about WWII those two days than I did in high school.  

After we finished the combat zone, we returned to the large museum building and finished what we missed the first day.  That building took you all the way from the reason Japan wanted to go to war, to Pearl Harbor, all through the Pacific war, ending with the atomic bomb and the surrender ...
This was one of the two-man type subs that the Japanese used inside Pearl Harbor.
This fighter-bomber was used in the Pacific islands.
This landing craft was used on Iwo Jima and was named Lucky Strike.
Here's an empty casing for another atomic bomb ...
So ... here's the lesson I took away from our visit to the museum: