Welcome to our first full day in San Antonio, Texas. We woke this morning in our suite at the Homewood Suites on The Riverwalk to a cloudy and rainy day. After getting ready, we went downstairs for a wonderful, full and enjoyable buffet breakfast. The best of our trip so far, and perhaps a reason to stay at Homewood Suites! The weather forecast showed for improving weather, but looks like we’ll have to wait till tomorrow for sun. One thing we didn’t have to wait for was humidity! Welcome back to the kind of sticky weather we had most of the summer in the New York/New Jersey area! When we left the hotel this morning, the temperature was in the low 70s, but the humidity was up in the high 80% range! A real change from the very low humidity we’ve experienced for weeks. Frankly, it’s been so long since we’ve felt like this, we can’t remember! Don’t imagine it will get any better when we get to the Texas Gulf Coast, or into the Caribbean Sea during our cruise!
The view from our room this morning
We walked over to the historic Menger Hotel, where we picked up our San Antonio tour tickets. Just across the street from the Alamo, the Menger Hotel was built in 1859 (just a bit more than 20 years after the famous Alamo Battle) and the famous Menger Hotel Bar was the place that Theodore Roosevelt recruited his famous Rough Riders calvary brigade!
Once we got the tickets, we headed over to the tour bus, and low and behold, it was obviously planned for us so that we couldn’t miss it!
Along the tour we passed the Oldest VFW Post in America (from Veterans of the Spanish/American Bar).
We also heard about the Scottish Rite Cathedral
And we passed the Emily Morgan Hotel. We had no idea who Emily Morgan was, but were told that according to legend, she was captured by the Mexican Calvary in 1836, and was forced to travel with the troops of General Santa Anna. On April 21 of that year, Santa Anna’s forces were defeated by an Army led by Sam Houston at the Battle of Jacinto in 18 minutes. Supposedly, Santa Anna was unprepared because he was having sex with Emily! It was also suggested that she may have been the inspiration for the song, The Yellow Rose of Texas, but historians think both suggestions are more story than history. She had no involvement with the hotel, but it’s a good story, you must agree.
We also passed a number of old theaters, that after closing, because of changing tastes in the mid 20th Century, were resurrected by residents as performance spaces. The Majestic, the Aztec, and the Empire are busy places, and in the sense of full disclosure, the person performing at the Empire is no relation to us, although he is from New Jersey!
The bus tour also passed the Esquire, where we ate dinner last night,
and this place. Have no idea of it’s name, but the guide told us it was originally a convent (see the cross) but is now a bar!
Then it was time to explore the Alamo. It seems that a lot of people have been somewhat disappointed by the Alamo, as it seems a lot smaller than most of us imagine. I already knew that the John Wayne movie of the same name, was not filmed at the real Alamo, but rather a replica that was indeed bigger than the original (found this out reading a John Wayne bio), but I have to put myself in the disappointed category. Not sure if it was because it was smaller than I thought, or because it was not in a setting that I imagined. Having seen it in many movies, books, etc in a certain setting, it was odd to see it in the middle of a city! San Antonio is, after all, the third largest city in Texas, and the area surrounding the Alamo was a city, with restaurants, shops, and tourist destinations. I guess my expectations were not realistic!
After visiting the Alamo, we went over to the Shops at River Center, to see the IMAX movie, Alamo, The Price of Freedom!
As luck would have it, we’d just missed the start of the 1 PM showing, and we had to wait till 2 PM. Again, as luck would have it, there happened to be a Margaritaville Cafe on the River Walk in the same mall. Guess where we ended up killing 45 minutes?? A couple of “Boat Drinks” (two 5 O’Clock Somewheres, followed by two Bahama Mamas) with Gabe the bartender, surrounded by our friend Mr. Buffet and his music, and time passed very quickly!
San Antonio seems a little empty to us, and the IMAX Theater was no different, as we were two of just 5 folks that watched the Alamo movie. It was a very good 45 minute telling of what happened at the Alamo during the February 23rd to March 6th period of 1836, and we enjoyed it. Just an FYI…although we were sitting just a block or so from the real Alamo, this movie was also, I believe, filmed at the same location that the John Wayne movie was shot.
We walked around the Alamo Plaza a little bit more after the movie, but the humidity had gotten to us, and we decided to walk back to our hotel and crash for a bit, with a couple of rum and cokes, in the air conditioning.
Tonight we headed downstairs about 5:30 for the Manager’s Complimentary Social (free drinks and snacks). We had a couple of glasses of white wine, and a nice conversation with a man from Kentucky and a lady from Trinidad. One of the nice thing about the Homewood Suites is the evening social, and the ability to meet and enjoy people from different places!
At about 6:45, we headed next door to the Westin Hotel, and the Italian restaurant, Zocca Cuisine D’Italia, where we had a 7 PM reservation. We had a lovely dinner, with a bottle of bubbly, a couple of great apps (sorry, we ate them before the pictures), two great pasta entrees, and dessert!
On the way home, we had a lovely walk along the River Walk back to the Homewood Suites. It is probably the nicest it’s been all day, and we enjoyed the walk, the sights we saw, and just being out and about!
Tomorrow, day two in San Antonio, and the weather forecast calls for partly cloudy skies, and a high of 79. Let’s hope the humidity isn’t as high, but I wouldn’t count on it! Have a good night, see you tomorrow!