Water life: Sailing through the Venice of Texas

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February 4th 2016
Published: February 5th 2016
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Despite travelling to some of the "Venice's of..." China such as Lijiang and India's backwaters of Kerala we have not had the opportunity to visit the actual Venice yet (it's on our to bucket list). We thought we would make up for it by visiting another place with the moniker "Venice of the USA". We are in downtown San Antonio. 

Drawn by the lovely canals that are lined with resturants, hotels and picture perfect arched bridges that cross it, it wasn't hard to add this place to our American itinerary. 

It also has a lot of uncovered history to delve into here, the main site being the Alamo. This is where Mexican troops back in 1836 attacked the mission (church) killing many Texans in an attempt to win back Texas as a part of Mexico. The Alamo plays a large part in the history of Texas as this attack birthed the Texans revenge on the Mexican army leading them to victory over Texas. This is now firmly a part of the lone star states history and pride.

Reminding ourselves we were on a budget we decided we would get something reasonably priced for lunch and then maybe eat at one of the many restaurants along the river for dinner.

The only thing with eating on a budget in the US is that it is not half tempting to eat rubbish. Cheap food is more than often the stuff that isn't good for you. We won't lie, we relished on the fast food here. We saw a couple eating humongous burgers and so asked them where they got them from. We were sold.

We were looking for a fast food place with an orange sign saying "Water burger". After 10 minutes of walking around confusing the random locals we asked, we finally found it. Whataburger was the name. That southern accent had us really confused for a moment. "Water" really does sound like "Whata"

We had already eaten a lot of burgers in the States, but Chris was only just starting to feel about caught up after eating the pancake thin patties in the burgers of South East Asia. With no veggie option, P happily took a fish burger that the staff unhelpfully could not define.  Oh well. 

Yes we stuffed our faces like many tourists do here and many locals too for that matter. Fully taking advantage of the refillable diner fizzy drinks. Got to stay hydrated 😊

Whilst eating we attempted to take a selfie to remember this unhealthy indulgent moment. One friendly american witnessing our struggles offered to take a picture of us and merely took a picture of our faces. We said to ourselves it would have to be solo pictures until we shamefully buy a selfie stick again. 

Afterwards, we were all geared up and excited for our boat tour down the canals of the riverwalk. The only resemblance to venice from what we could see was that it had nice canals. The buildings along the route looked like they had been restored to their former glory; walls painted in brilliant white with orange terracotta tiles lining the rooftops and an almost new looking brick path. Perfect for a stroll.

The boat tour lasted just short of one hour and although was not the best tour being squeezed in a boat (by western standards not south east asian standards) speeding by the various things, our tour guide carried out the tour with a lot of humour.

We were informed the canals were initally built as flood defence but the riverwalk itself was introduced to boost tourism. Several art monuments and structures of important figures were pointed out, along with various buildings such as the Hilton hotel. The Hilton was put together using modular cubes which were basically the rooms of the hotel. These rooms were already fully equipped and decorated. The cubes just had to be fitted next to the correponding container blocks, a bit like lego. It took only 202 days to erect this building. Impressive hey, depending on how you look at it. 

After our boat tour we revisited the 
Alamo to explore the old mission from within. After wandering around the first historical building looking at old artefacts and memorial plaques,  the intensity of the sun really started to take it's toll on us and we had to sit out for 20 minutes. Eventually we threw in the towel and went for a nap for a few hours back at our motel. 

This wasn't exactly the plan with our limited time here but the intensity of the sun at this time of year (it had just turned October) had taken us by surpirse and had sucessfully knocked us out clean.

By the time we woke up and got back out on the streets we decided we would not visit the tall tower overlooking San Antonio - The tower of the Americas. Instead we decided to stroll leisurely around the beautifully lit river walk and treat ourselves to a nice little sit down meal. 

Walking around under the dark skies with the colourful lights from the various establishments here we were content and this experience was nothing short of pleasant. 

We stopped occasionally to appreciate the live bands we passed by and as always were blown away by the undiscovered talent. 

For food we ate at one of the longest running resturants in the riverside here, a mexican food eatery and enjoyed some deliciously filling burritos. The river ducks also attempted to enjoy them too as one insistent duck sneaked behind P only to peck her in the back and look her in the face as if to say "where's mine?". 

Although our stay in San Antonio was brief we enjoyed our stay here. 

Accommodation: The Inn (motel)

Transportation; 11.5 hr Megabus from New Orleans. 
Total $6 booked in advance. 

Additional photos below
Photos: 19, Displayed: 19


5th February 2016
Riverside dining

San Antonio
You are having a great time in all your locations. Come back to Texas in July or August and you'll really understand the heat.
10th February 2016
Riverside dining

Texas heat.
More than happy to rise to that challenge would love to return. Although we are surprised it gets even warmer.
6th February 2016

Water Burgers!
There are so many places dubbed the 'Venice of the East'...so I guess you were in 'Venice of the West'. I chuckled a lot about your search for 'water burgers', I didn't realise we'd need a translation app for the US :D
16th February 2016

Water burgers
I think you are on to something there. A Translation app for different English speakers. I speak to people who say I don't sound English as I don't speak America English or the Queens English. Nope not from the states or London lol.
8th February 2016

San Antonio sounds like a nice place
San Antonio is a place I wasn't familiar with before but it sure sounds like a place worth visiting. I have been to Venice, Italy and if you are into art, architecture and culture it is a fabulous place. I went there in early March I think and although the weather was a bit cold I believe it is a good idea to go there off season. You both avoid the big crowds and I have been told that the Venice canals are a bit smelly in summer. Ake
16th February 2016

San Antonio
You make Venice sound enticing! It clearly left you like others with a great impression. It excites us to think that we have many more wonderful places to explore... :)
19th February 2016

Blog on Venice - April 2013
If you are interested in reading the blog I wrote on Venice go to our blog and flip through the pages until you get to April 2013. /Ake

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