Tuesday, April 10, 2012

San Antonio (Friday)

After the late night (and stressful day) we had before, we scratched our original plan to get up early Friday morning to get a run in, and just decided to wake up whenever.  We had a lot we wanted to do that day, but going on not enough sleep is never a good idea for me -- or for Matt, since he has to put up with me. :)

I don't think we slept in too terribly late...9am maybe.  We showered, had some cereal at the house, and then set off for our full day of seeing the city of San Antonio!

Aunt Mimi's house - where we stayed for the weekend
First things first.  I'm a big snacker - I eat all day, and get nervous if I don't have food around.  So getting some snack packs for our day out was a must.  I requested a Wal-Mart, of course.  Matt said no way -- not in his home town.  We had to support the local grocery store:  HEB.  Surprisingly, he was really excited to go to a HEB.  There was one right down the street, so I went along with it.  As long as they had good snacks at a reasonable price (which they did), it was worth it just to see him so happy over a grocery store!

The first place we wanted to visit in San Antonio, was the museum that his aunt works at:  The Institute of Texan Cultures.  (Mimi left us notes on the kitchen table each morning and had maps printed out for us, as well as restaurant recommendations.  She's just the sweetest...and made our trip so easy!)

We made it to the museum without incident (Mimi's maps were helpful throughout the trip), and got a quick tour of the museum...which is haunted.  For real.  One of the guys who works there elaborated on the stories Mimi told us the night before.  I wasn't too sure I was sold on them then...but after listening to this guys stories - AND listening to audio of the spirits talking when the paranormal activity guys were there doing research - I was sufficiently freaked out.  And ready to leave the museum.  Seriously, the stories are just eery. 

Each shape represents a different culture in Texas
We made a few stops on our own to look around, and stayed to watch a little video, but with so much planned for the day, we decided to take off fairly quickly to walk to the Alamo, and then on to the Riverwalk.

Someone saw an Indian body laying in this old hearse!

The video we watched
 It was a short, but HOT walk from the museum to the Alamo.  We considered renting these little bikes to ride around on for the day.  (Such a cool idea!)  It was $10 for the day, and we just didn't know where we were going to end up and where we could ride bikes, so we decided against them.

The Alamo!
The Alamo is like THE icon of San Antonio.  It's where all the tourists go, which was apparent by the sea of people already there when we arrived.  With it already being so hot out, the hundred or so people trying to cram in the main building was not cool.  We basically walked in one side, and straight through and out the other side.  I saw it.  That was good enough for me.  :)

It was too hot and crowded inside there to take any pictures!

We did walk around the area inside the old mission area for awhile.  It wasn't as crowded as being inside the actual buildings, and the trees and flowers and fountains were just beautiful.  With all the water around, I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was.  It's really a gorgeous city!

After convining a couple of different foreign families (one German, one Swiss) to take pictures of us out front, I was ready to move on to the riverwalk I had heard so much about... 

The walk there was beautiful - more trees and plants - and we saw a super cute mamma duck and her babies swimming around.  Of course I had to stop for pictures of that!

The riverwalk really was a neat area.  Lots of little restaurants, bars, and shops right along the river...

We were getting pretty hungry once we got there, so decided to sit down for a "quick" salad and sandwich.  Just something light to hold us over until we had a big, nice dinner somewhere. 

Well, about an hour (and one mariachi band!) later, we finally got our salad and sandwhich.  The wait was ridiculous, but our waitor kept apologizing and the scenery / weather was nice sittting outside along the riverwalk, so I couldn't complain too much. 

The mariachi band only played one short song for us because we didn't have enough cash!
After lunch, we walked and walked...  all along the riverwalk, to an old cathedral (that was having mass so I coudn't take a picture of it), and then on to the Mexican Market several blocks away.  I was surprised at how much authentic stuff you could buy there - all made in Mexico!  I came close to buying some light switch covers, soap dispensers, etc, to re-do the guest bathroom with, but decided against it.  They probably would have broke on the way home.  Maybe some day...

Entrance to the Mexican Market

The loooong walk back wasn't quite as fun as the walk there.  We were getting tired, and needed to make it back to Mimi's museum before 5:30 to get our car out of the parking lot.  We cooled off there for a few minutes, and decided to head to a nearby area called Southtown (or William District) for a First Fridays Art walk.  I read about this while googling cool things to do in San Antonio while we were waiting at the airport, and thought it sounded cool. 

Taking a break on the long walk back

Walkway to the Institute of Texan Cultures

Since it didn't start for another 30 minutes or so, we decided to check out my favorite store, Wal-Mart, to see if they had any Spurs gear.  We found one nearby, and ended up driving by some other really cool, old missions on the way! 

But, no Spurs gear.  Come on.  Our Wal-Marts have Royals and Chiefs gear!  We found a pair of shorts and some sweatpants, and that was it.  Disappointed on the no-find, but the drive out there was totally worth it!  (As was seeing cascarones for sale there!)

I thought Matt was lying to me, but cascarones are hollowed out eggs filled with confetti...that you crush over peoples heads on Easter!  What a weird tradition...

Cascarones for sale at Wal-Mart

So back to the Art Walk.  After driving around forever arguing over where to park, we got out and walked all along the street, stopping in different little shops set up to browse.  Some of the art work was interesting, and there was a lot of cool hand made jewelry.  Surprisingly, I didn't find anything I couldn't live without. 

While walking along and watching the time, our focus shifted from the art walk to finding food before the big Spurs game that night.  We walked and talked about where to eat, but never actually decided anything, just squandering away the time.  I personally think this was Matt's plan all along, so he didn't have time to take me to a nice restaurant.  Instead, we ended up at his child hood favorite spot:  Taco Cabana.  (It's fast food tacos, people.)

Could he be any more happy??
After aaalllll the hype I'd been hearing from him for weeks about Taco Cabana, I was expecting something just a little more than a small taco shell with 4 pieces of meat in it.  Chewy, stringy pieces, at that.  The chips and cheese were the saving grace for that meal.  Even the fruit smoothy was so awful we couldn't drink it.  BUT, the important thing is, Matt loved it and was SO pumped to eat there.  As for me, I told him he would just have to buy me something better at the Spurs game. ;)

So off we went, for the main event (for Matt) of the entire San Antonio trip.  The SPURS game.  He grew up going to the games, and agonized for weeks over what exact tickets to buy for the game.  (They were great seats, don't worry.)  The arena wasn't too far from the infamous Taco Cabana, (again, part of his master plan, I think), and we got there in perfect time.

It actualy was really fun just to see him so excited.  How can you not be happy when the person you love is giddy with excitement??  We walked around inside a little bit, took some pictures with cardboard cutouts of his favorite player, and found our seats with time to watch them warm up a little. 

The game was a blow-out.  Spurs won by 25 points.  But no leaving early from a Spurs game!  We stayed until the end, waited for everyone to clear out, and then snuck down to the floor for a picture. 

And on the way back up...since no one was looking...we found an unlocked/half open door and snuck in to an empty courtside suite for some more pictures! 

It was getting late, and we had already had a pretty full day of being on our feet, so we decided to head back to the house -- instead of going out for a drink on the Riverwalk.  Saving that for Saturday night!

Leaving the AT&T Center, where the Spurs played

Matt's uncle came over to the house and dropped off some Seaworld tickets for us, so we sat around and chatted with him for awhile.  Other than that, we called it a day...

... and went to bed to dream about swim-dancing with SHAMU on Saturday!

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