May 24, 2010

Remember the River Walk! Er...

The most common response when we told people we were taking a trip to San Antonio: "Cool! Uh...what's in San Antonio?"

It's not an unreasonable question. It doesn't, at first glance, appear to be a typical vacation destination. But we had a little extra money in the vacation coffers this year, and we wanted a kind of "side" trip to take in addition to our usual two-week jaunt in the fall.

T had been in San Antonio during college when the town's River Walk was under major construction, and he'd always wanted to check it out. Add in the Alamo and Sea World (shut up; Shamu rules) and it seemed like a perfect little trip: relaxing, with a hint of educational fun. (Heh.)

But first, we had to get there. The plan: Fly down super-early Thursday morning, return home late Monday evening. However, Delta (which we began calling "Smellta," and later several much uglier words) had other plans. We arrived at the Akron-Canton airport at 4 a.m. on Thursday, eager to start our trip. After three flight bumps, delays, some weeping and gnashing of teeth, and a growing belief that we would never see anything other than the inside of airports (not just that day, but ever, for the rest of our lives), we arrived in San Antonio after midnight, having lost an entire day of our vacation.

(Note: Delta initially tried to do the right thing and gave us some vouchers for both food and future flights. But as the indignities piled up, and every single solitary Delta employee was either dismissive or downright rude to us, it ceased to matter. More on this in a future post.)

On the upside, during our eight hours stuck in the Detroit airport, we got to see the famed (read: weird) tunnel connecting the various airport concourses. I have no idea why someone thought people running with heavy bags + strobe lights set to weird music = positive customer experience. We saw more than one person nearly take a header into the tunnel's moving walkways. It does, however, look cool in this picture I took on said moving walkway:

After collapsing at the hotel, exhausted (and apparently sleeping through tornado warnings), we awoke to find...torrential rain. (The lowest levels of our hotel were actually flooding because the river was OVERFLOWING.) At this point, my theory that our vacation was cursed appeared to have legs.

Thankfully, the floodgates closed later that afternoon, and we discovered that the view from our hotel room (which looked down on the River Walk) was actually lovely:

And from that moment on, we had a WONDERFUL time. The River Walk is amazing. It's essentially a big public park, built along the San Antonio River, lined with restaurants and little shops, waterfalls and beautiful bridges and monuments, flowers and huge, gorgeous trees:

A statue of San Antonio:

Most, if not all, of the restaurants along the River Walk have alfresco seating, so you can eat while enjoying the heat and humidity of Texas and trying to protect your food from the sneaky gangs of pigeons, barn swallows and ducks swimming by and, in many cases, doing fly-bys directly at your head. (Seriously; I nearly lost my right eye to a rogue pigeon with murder in its tiny, twitchy heart.)

(Please note the utter lack of ANY railings ANYWHERE. There were children and elderly people running and/or hobbling everywhere on the uneven walkways, with nothing but a prayer and maybe a duck between themselves and the murky riverwater. We were aghast; perhaps Texans think railings are for sissies?)

Here, Mr. Written Permission contemplates...something...during a rare bird-free moment while dining along the river at Casa Rio:

One of our objectives in going to Texas was eating some real, authentic Mexican food (check!), and some good, hearty Texas barbecue. (What, you don't map out your menus before you go on vacation?) (OMG, we are nerds: Our vacations have objectives.)

Anyway. We may have overshot with the barbecue. Here, T digs into a rib that we could only assume was taken from an elephant. Or a T-Rex.

He said it made him feel like Fred Flintstone.

We spent a sweltering day at Sea World (the so-called "Splash Zone" was not as advertised; nary a sprinkle):

And then, the Alamo. (We remembered to visit

In all seriousness, it was pretty amazing. The shrine itself was really cool, filled with all kinds of artifacts that belonged to Davey Crockett and James Bowie (he of the Bowie knife).

Since it IS a shrine, they don't allow cameras inside. Instead, here's a closeup of the very cool front door:

And, the grounds were absolutely gorgeous.

In addition to our sight-seeing jaunts, we did take advantage of a few nightlife-type things along the River Walk. (Well, "nightlife" for us, anyway, which means someplace we can sit and have a few drinks, vs. boogeying on the dance floor or some such.)

On our last night in town, we ventured to a local bar for some karaoke, where I (bolstered by a dacquiri or two) brought it home on some 80s power ballads (woo!) and (once I built up my nerve) some Etta James. T is not a singer, per se, but he did bring a tear to a few fellow Southern boys' eyes with his rendition of "Simple Man." :)

Not sure if we'll ever go back (it's one of those "been there, had a nice time, check it off the list" places), but we had a lovely time. :)


2 backtalk:

wrestling kitties said...

FUN!!! I was very young the last time we went to Texas. My Nana lived there and we went to San Antonia and Corpus Christi many times during the summer (fun vacation, no?! DRIVING to Texas and spending a week during the summer in texas...riiiight.)

Smellta had me LQTMS (laughing quietly to my self)! I would love to hear the other names :)

If I Smoked a little something something and then went in that tunnel it may be very enjoyable!

The river walk area around your hotel looked awesome! Very pretty! however, I would like you to know I can FEEL the humidity just by looking at those pictures....blech

Those T-Rex ribs look FANTASTIC! Everything is big down there

I love sea world. That is it.

And the best line in this post for being hilarious and 100% true goes to (Seriously; I nearly lost my right eye to a rogue pigeon with murder in its tiny, twitchy heart.) HAHAHAHA!

Ky • said...

Wonderful, wonderful pictures.

Especially the river walk.

Would write more about must go run after Lila who is spilling milk everywhere.

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