From California to the U.K. in 30 days - Day 18 (San Antonio, TX)

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August 1st 2017
Published: August 6th 2017
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Today promises to be hot, but not as brutal as the day before, high of only 98! We decide to skip breakfast in the hotel after our previous dinner experience and head out to the Riverwalk to find a nice spot. We try to yelp somewhere, but are having trouble locating anything that’s open at 8am and eventually stumble onto a riverside place named Ostras. We have a very nice breakfast while fending off various finches that have obviously learned to mine a potential food source. We are complaining about the heat from yesterday and our waiter informs us it was the hottest day since 2013. It reached 105 with 40% humidity.

After breakfast, we head towards the Alamo. It’s only about 5 minutes away and we exit the Riverwalk and head North a couple of blocks to Alamo Plaza. It’s strange to see the old mission and grounds surrounded by the modern-day city. It seems wildly out of place facing a Tussaud’s wax museum, Ripley’s believe it or not, and of course, a Hard Rock Café. The building itself is beautiful. A squat, thick walled stone building, with beautiful, weathered carvings. It’s rich with history, and Texans look upon it with reverence as it was a central point in their history for independence. I didn’t realize that Texas at one point was an independent Nation after seceding from Mexico. During that timeframe 200 people were besieged here and then followed a fierce and famous battle featuring Bowie (the knife guy, not the singer) and Davy Crockett of hat fame. They were eventually overcome, but the tables turned and Texas was able to claim independence. This is still something they occasionally try to do today, but with little effect. Rebels were spurred on by cries of “remember the Alamo”, and we certainly will. We tour the small church and the beautiful grounds with their stone walls, steeped in 300 years of history.

Next up is a bout tour. The San Antonio river is thick with boats, all designed to tour or taxi the unsuspecting tourists around. Both AJ and Gracie have been desperate to get on one since we first arrived, and it seems like a nice way to familiarize ourselves with the area. It’s a 45-minute excursion and our captain, a young lady in her 20s, does her best to make it sound like her shtick is being rolled out for the first time. Nonetheless, it is enjoyable and quite informative, but the heat is back and we are all looking a little worse for wear as the tour ends. We decide to take a little respite in the air conditioning of our room and take a little siesta.

Awaking somewhat refreshed, we head back to the Tower of the Americas which is the space needle like structure overlooking Hemisphere Park. 600 feet up is a restaurant which rotates. It offers spectacular views of San Antonio as we slowly traverse the circular course. I have a lovely lobster salad and Antonio had a salad with lobster bisque. Sadly the kid’s menu once again consisted of the usual suspects: chicken nuggets, mac and cheese, hamburger….. I don’t know why we bother asking to see it any more. Sometimes we order them an entrée from the main menu to split, but for lunch they aren’t that hungry so it is boring old burger again. The food is nice, and the view is outstanding. After lunch, we head back to the park so AJ & Graciela can spend some time at the playground. It’s pretty quiet on a Weekday afternoon and we suffer the heat as long as possible before heading back to the hotel.

Dinner is around the corner at a local Bistro which has good reviews. We are seated outside in the courtyard which is quaint, but the heat is stifling. The food was very pleasant, margharita for Gracie and AJ (a slight improvement), lamb for me and shrimp for Antonio. We cool off with a couple of glasses of Sangria and complete things with a pumpkin crème brulee. For some reason Antonio has his heart set on a Hard Rock Café shirt and as we walk up the street, we are passed by two horse and carriages; but these are no ordinary carriages, these are worthy of any princess as they are replete with more Christmas lights than a Macy’s parade. Needless to say, Graciela is spellbound. After finding the requisite shirts, as luck would have it, one of these fine carriages is pulled up outside awaiting a fare. We succumb and take a pleasant carriage ride back to the hotel with Gracie perfecting her royal wave to all the passers-by. By this point, I am thoroughly enjoying the warm and humid air as it has cooled to a tolerable temperature and feels very exotic, even to a Californian. We settle in for the night feeling quite content, and pleasantly surprised by Texas’ charms.

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