Spring Break in Texas

I have been a California girl my entire life, born and raised, but I love to travel. I love history and I’vealways wanted to visit San Antonio. I remember watching Miss Congeniality and seeing Riverwalk and wanting to be like “Sally Freebush” (what a horrible alias, I know the intended implication). Last year when Tim and I traveled to Florida, we had a layover in Texas. That’s when I decided that Spring 2017 we were going to the Alamo!

This trip was very different than the trip we took the year before to Orlando. I felt like we were on the go every day in Orlando. In San Antonio, we moved at our own pace. We could relax and have fun.

First off, my husband wasn’t to keen on the idea and when asked whose idea was it to go to Texas, he quickly responded with “It was Jonelle’s idea.”  Whenever we told people our travel plans, we were met with the following replies, “Oh…..Texas?” “Ugh, why Texas?” “Who goes to Texas?” “What’s there to do in Texas?”

I was starting to have some doubts

Day 1: Saturday, April 15th. Our flight from John Wayne to Phoenix was a disaster. I LOVE my husband, but traveling with him is always a disaster. He moved in the X-ray, (extremely dangerous radiation) security machine. Because of his movements, he had to have a cavity search (just kidding, but he was padded down extensively). In the meantime, I had collected his belongings. When I gave everything to him, he was missing his boarding pass. An argument ensued, I left  him to his own devices to grab lunch. Of course we made up by the time we boarded the plane and he was able to get a new boarding pass from the counter.

Our landing in Phoenix was bumpy and I thought I was going to get sick. The Phoenix airport is the worst airport. I really do hate it. It’s too crowded and the walk from one gate to another is ridiculous.

Our arrival in San Antonio was 1000 X’s better!! We got to San Antonio at a reasonable hour, grabbed our car rental and drove the short distance to the Wyndham La Cascada. We were treated so well by everyone at the hotel!! The view was spectacular. We were right on the Riverwalk. Because it was late and we hadn’t eaten, we decided to walk a few blocks to a local “tourist trap” called Mi Tierra Cafe & Bakery.  The decor was similar to Buca di Beppo. It was loud and bright, but completely fun. The food was good, not great, but extremely satisfying. After dinner we walked around the city then went back to our condo for the night.

Mi Tierra Cafe and Bakery

Wyndham La Cascada

Day 2: Sunday, April 16th. We woke up late. Tim went to the cathedral for Easter Sunday mass. When he got back we got our car and explored the city. Stop 1 Whataburger. Definitely not In n’ Out. I know this is the big burger chain in Texas, but In n’ Out is so much better. We then went to Trader Joe’s to pick up some basic groceries for the week. We had a kitchen in our condo, so why not save a few bucks and eat a couple of meals at home. That night we strolled Riverwalk, took a boat tour and again walked around the city. Riverwalk is beautiful, but lacks really good shopping. You have the Riverwalk Center Mall, where we bought Spurs T-Shirts, go Gasol!!, and La Villita Arts Village. I wasn’t impressed with the mall or the stores. There was nothing spectacular and this trip, I didn’t get to go outlet shopping.

Day 3: Monday, April 17th. Another day of a lot of walking. We walked to the mall, grabbed some ice cream, and some coffee. We went up to the pool on the roof of our building. We didn’t go swimming, just looked at the city view. That night, I went to my very first basketball game. Since Gasol is a former Lakers player, I didn’t feel bad about rooting for the Spurs in their playoff game. After the game we listened to music at Rock n Brews. We have one right by our house, but it was fun anyway.  We watched a local cover band and got to listen to some rock music.

Day 4: Tuesday, April 18th. The Alamo. We spent this day at The Alamo.  I love history, so this was one of my favorite days. The actual museum is very small. It only takes a few hours to go through the grounds and read all the plaques. We rented the audio guides for $7, not worth it. I loved the Alamo. After The Alamo we ate sandwiches at Potbelly Sandwich Shop. From there, we walked back to the condo and got ready for our fancy martini bar, called SoHo Wine and Martini Bar. It looked like a 1920’s speakeasy. I loved it in there. I tried their coconut creme brulee and s’mores martinis. They were yummy and almost too pretty to drink. The bar had late hours, but since it was a Tuesday, things started to die down by around 11.  We Uber(ed) it to the bar, but since it was really close to the condo (something we realized after taking Uber) we just walked back home. We met some really cool people and had a really great night.

SoHo Wine and Martini Bar

Day 5 Wednesday, April 19th. This day was another favorite. We drove a few miles out of the city to the San Antonio Botanical Garden. It was just lovely. I picked up a few souvenirs for family and then we spent the rest of the day enjoying the beautiful gardens. In the middle of this garden there’s a little lake with a cabin. It was so peaceful and beautiful, but very hot!! After the garden, we went home to get ready for our “anniversary dinner”  at the Chart House in the Tower of the Americas. Our concierge said that if we told them we were celebrating an anniversary, they would give us a free dessert. Well, they didn’t. We did get a custom paper menu wishing us a happy 9th anniversary. Our anniversary isn’t until June. I have to say I wasn’t impressed with The Chart House. We have one in Orange County, so it really wasn’t special. What was special was the rotating restaurant during sunset. The ambiance was so romantic. The drinks were yummy. I loved my lobster mac and cheese. My husband wasn’t impressed with his dinner, so we shared the mac and cheese. Again we Uber(ed) that night, but when dinner was over we walked through this beautiful park, back to our condo. We didn’t realize how close the Tower was until we got to the restaurant and could see our condo.

San Antonio Botanical Garden

Tower of the Americas

Day 6 Thursday, April 20th. The start of Fiesta. We got to hit up the beginning of Fiesta, San Antonio’s annual celebration, which is similar to Mardi Gras, but according the residents bigger than Mardi Gras. This was the day that I tried to purchase something from an aroma wax shop and my ATM card was declined. Someone had cloned my card and spent over $500. My bank was amazing and they took care of things immediately. So back to fiesta, people collect these pins, like Disney pin collectors. You can earn them for free or purchase them. I donated money to an animal rescue, so I got a cute pink dog pin. That night we ate at a really cool hipster restaurant outside of King William Historic District called La Tuna Grill. The food was very good and healthy. My husband got the Country Chicken Fried Steak and I ordered the Garden Bean Veggie Burger. Again, I loved the ambiance. The night was warm, not too hot, but being outside under the stars was nice.

La Tuna Grill

Fiesta San Antonio

Day 7 Friday, April 21st. Our last full day!! At this point in my trip (during any trip) I start getting depressed. Having to leave makes me sad. The day started with a walk up the river to the King William Historic District. I felt like I was back in New Orleans. We walked all around the beautiful houses then had coffee, and soup and sandwiches at the Mad Hatter’s Tea House. I loved it there. It obviously is decorated like Alice in Wonderland at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. From there, we walked to the Menger Hotel to await our very exciting dinner and ghost walking tour!! Our guide was featured on Ghost Adventures, the Myrtle Plantation episode. We went with the Sister’s Grimm Dinner Tour, just FYI. They have a few different tours to choose from. What I like about these, and I’ve been on many,  is that you get a historical tour of the city, with some ghost stories added in. Who doesn’t love a great ghost story? This was the day we walked the most and the furthest. I won’t go into details about the ghost tour, except that we started with dinner at the Menger hotel and then went from there. This was another one of my favorite days. Our tour ended pretty late. We stopped off for coffee at Starbucks after,  and hit up Whataburger one last time. This was the first weekend of Fiesta, so the city was out of control crowded. Police were everywhere. Yes, it was a Friday night, but the Saturday before was completely dead.

Mad Hatter’s Tea

Sister’s Grimm Ghost Tour

King William Historical District

Day 8 Saturday, April 22nd.  Our last day. Our flight left San Antonio at six in the evening. That day, we went out for breakfast at a German restaurant called Schilo’s. Our waitress was great!! After that we went back to the Riverwalk Mall to watch Gifted (me) and The Fast and the Furious movie (Tim).  Once our movies were done, we drove to the car rental and jumped on the tram to catch our flight. We had a layover in Phoenix once again. This is probably one of the worst airports I’ve ever flown into.

Things I’ve learned…..
I didn’t need a rental car for the $24 a day we had to pay to park. We only used it twice during our trip.
Don’t fly into Phoenix for a layover. That airport is way too crowded. We had a problem the year before, I should have known better.
I love San Antonio and would really like to visit again.
Oh yes, I forgot, we did eat BBQ one day, at a place called Augie’s Alamo City BBQ. They drink a special drink, I forgot the name.
Next up Chicago!!!  I can’t wait!!!!