Where I Was When I Wasn’t Here: San Antonio, TX

TO BEGIN

Colorful bat mosaic on wall at zoo.

“The world is a book. If you do not travel, you read only a page.”

The above quote, that I see every day when I’m at home, is on a framed piece of artwork that I have hanging on a wall in our home office.

I only mention this quote, attributed to St. Augustine, because I believe it to be true, a guiding principle.  Thus I said “hell to the yes” when I had the opportunity to spend a few days in pleasant and pretty San Antonio, TX.

You see, last week Zen-Den was in San Antonio for a conference.  Remembering how much fun we had there years ago, I joined him after the conference was over and we goofed off for a couple of days doing things in America’s 7th largest city that is celebrating its 300th birthday.

[Did not know either of those facts before visiting there. Feel that I’m a better person for having shared them here.]

THINGS WE DID

• The San Antonio River Walk which is a meandering multi-level path around an urban waterway surrounded by restaurants, shops, and hotels.

• The Briscoe Western Art Museum which was beautiful, and wherein I saw Roy Rogers’s saddle, a real Wells Fargo Wagon, and ate a complimentary cupcake.

• The Alamo Quarry Market which is an open-air shopping area filled with stores and restaurants, not necessarily unique to San Antonio but a nice place to wander around in the warm sunshine.

• The San Antonio Zoo which was lovely, with more animals from South America, Australia, and Africa than any other zoo I’ve been to.

• The Alamo City Comic Con which was our first adventure into the happy, trippy subculture that revolves around comic conventions.  Here are my observations: 1) people, often entire families, were costumed like comic book or TV or movie characters [we were not];  2) people were standing in line waiting to pay to have photos taken with and/or objects signed by celebrities [we did not];  & 3) people were buying memorabilia and posters and t-shirts from the displays set up by many vendors [we did not].

IN CONCLUSION

And with that I’ll end this post with a hat tip to St. Augustine and his travel advice, suggesting to you, my gentle readers, that San Antonio, TX, is a fun + friendly place to visit for those of you inclined to want to read more than one page of this book we call the world.

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted by choice. Usually.

82 thoughts on “Where I Was When I Wasn’t Here: San Antonio, TX”

  1. We went there several times the year we lived outside of Houston. A beautiful city! I love that you went to so many different places. It’s cool to see other parts of the country.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. beth, I remember you talking about visiting San Antonio. It’s a charming big city that was more fun to visit than many other big cities I’ve been to. I’m lucky, I guess, to have seen as much of the US as I have.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A great quote! Glad you had a great time in San Antonio. I’ve never been there, though I’ve traveled to Texas many times, since my parents live in the Houston area. I have been to Galveston, Austin, and Dallas–great places. I agree that travel broadens the mind like reading a good book does.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. L. Marie, the quote floated into my consciousness as we were enjoying our time in San Antonio. I’ve been to Austin & Dallas-Ft. Worth, but never Houston or Galveston. TX is a huge state, just made for travel, isn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You missed the perfect chance to dress up as Evil Squirrel and have people wondering what awesome cartoon character you were supposed to be. Pee Wee Herman would like to know if you visited the basement of the Alamo on your visit…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t think so, but you must have missed out on Pee Wee’s Big Adventure… one of the best movies of the 80’s. That’s an iconic gag from the film that he’s sent on a wild goose chase to find his bike in the basement of the Alamo, which he discovers doesn’t exist.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I love San Antonio! I loved the barbecue best! All the food was amazing! We even looked at home there although I was still working at the point. I am disappointed your didn’t get into the comicon spirit and dress up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kate, we talked about what it’d be like to live there. I’m impressed that you looked into it. The food was good, the drinks were tasty, and the overall vibe was inviting. No, no costumes for us… we were, after all, newbies.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. rivergirl1211, if it weren’t for Z-D’s work taking him there, I don’t know if we’d have put TX on our vacation list either. But having been there a few times over the years, I’ve come to rather like the state. And the Mexican-influenced food & drink… *yum*

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’d never had any desire to visit SA until this post. I had no idea it was the 7th largest US city either. I’m going to Austin this spring, so perhaps that will give me a taste for Texas. 🙂 Glad you had such an interesting and fun time!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Margaret, San Antonio’s size surprised me too. It was friendly, family-oriented, and clean, but very spread out all over the place. I’ve been to Austin and it has a different vibe than San Antonio. Austin is younger and more hip.

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  6. I was in Santa Fe in July many many years ago. I quickly concluded July is not the best time with the heat and humidity. We did the Riverwalk boat ride, but id like to try it when it’s cooler.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marian, I like that quote, too. I interpret it to mean travel as in faraway places, but also as in exploring where you live. I figure travel to, say, a new city park is travel– and that St. Augustine would approve.

      [Also, I’m having difficulties leaving comments on your blog. I don’t know where the trouble is, but thought you should know. Not that my comments are the end all and be all of commenting, just that if I’m having difficulties so maybe other people are too. 🤷‍♀️]

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sometimes when I have such trouble commenting on other blogs I use a different browser – Chrome instead of Safari, for example. No one has mentioned this lately, but thank you for calling my attention to it. I hope 🤞 that works for you!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Glad you enjoyed your visit to the 7th most populous city in the US ~> a fact that took me by surprise.

    My two favorite travel quotes:

    “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
    ― Marcel Proust

    “A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”
    ― Lao Tzu

    Liked by 2 people

    1. nancy, we were surprised by the size of the city, too. It didn’t seem as large as it was, probably because it was friendly and clean!

      Your travel quotes are good ones. Not too many people are ever able to see the same old thing with new eyes, but I give props to Proust for encouraging it. And as for Lao Tzu, he’s not really the sort of dude who’d do well booking a vacay on Travelocity! 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I traveled there several times on business, twice to USAA (they have a huge facility there, second only to the Pentagon in floor space) and once to the San Antonio Water Board. Very nice city; I didn’t realize how big it was population-wise; it must be twice the size of Atlanta.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. John, so far just about everyone who I know has gone to San Antonio for business first! It was a good vacay spot for us, lots to do, pretty to see. I wasn’t aware of its size, either. But once there, the tourist board never lets you forget it!

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  9. I really liked San Antonio. I was there a number of years ago – my only trip to Texas and the only Rock-n-Roll race event I’ve ever been to. My race would have been a lot more fun if I had managed to get any sleep. I discovered the downside of a Rock-n-Roll event are the live bands – playing in an outdoor bar – outside your hotel – until 3 am. YAAAAAAWN!!

    … but the people, the food, and yes, the Riverwalk were all wonderful … as were the margaritas 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Joanne, I wouldn’t like to be up half the night then expected to race around either. The things you learn along the way, eh?

      However, as a pure old person tourist San Antonio was delightful, our hotel was quiet, and our adventures were fun. No need to race anywhere.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Judy, I’ve not been there in the summer so my experiences were with lovely weather. I would like to go there in the winter just to see what it’s like, but I’m guessing it’s fun then, too. Summer, not so much.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. About 20 yrs ago, I stumbled on San Antonio’s River Walk while visiting a childhood friend who lives in Austin. She took me down there, not for the Alamo (not much to it actually) but precisely for the River Walk…I didn’t want to leave Austin as I loved the vibe and wondered why go to San Antonio when there’s Austin?
    😀
    But it gets a bad rap outside those in the know…I’m glad my buddy took me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. laura bruno lilly, I’ve been to Austin and liked it, but I found San Antonio more my speed. The River Walk is unique and we had a good time wandering around it. So pretty. I’m glad that you had the chance to visit it, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Welcome back! I’m glad you had a great trip! 7th is it? Nice! I’m sorry I haven’t got any cupcakes. For you. Yeah, for you. Not me. I totally don’t even want a cupcake right now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. San Antonio is set up to be the perfect conference town. Even better it the other half has to try and stay awake during the sessions and you get to wander around. There are some wonderful vintage hotels that are reasonable if you search a bit – most fun on the river, the a couple of the older ones have charm…and ghosts. It’s a great place to explore (magical and beautiful in Fiesta and when decorated for Christmas/holidays). Hot in summer though. (Next time wander down the river walk to the old convent and have a fabulous lunch…you’ll be just past the main library that has the most gorgeous (donated by patron) huge glass sculpture hanging between the escalators) – So many things to discover in such a compact place. Glad you got to go and explore.
    (Love the quote – my grandmother used to say “No one is truly educated unless they have traveled” )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. philmouse, you’ve answered one of our questions. We were wondering if it’d be fun to visit San Antonio around Christmastime, if it’d be all done up proper [as the older generation used to say]. We need to do that, I can tell.

      I don’t remember seeing the library but we didn’t cover the whole River Walk. Next time we’ll find the old convent for lunch. Didn’t know about the ghosts, sort of sorry I missed them.

      Your grandmother and St. Augustine are two peas in a pod!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. La Posada is memorable there (The story of the journey by Mary and Joseph looking for room at the inns.) It’s traditional Mexican celebration that normally last 9 days, but SA does it in one – with repeats on a couple of other nights through town and along River Walk. Luminarios are lit and line the path along with angels leading them. That’s just one of several traditional Christmas celebrations there. You’ll need reservations long in advance. Quite beautiful
        (The library is big and modern – tucked right off a less traveled part of the River Walk – that glass sculpture is by a famous artist who has many of his in Seattle area. So many tucked away treasure in that town ) There a couple of old hotels with ghost off to the side of the Alamo – I like to cut through the Alamo grounds which are shady and cool during hot weather ( and have vending machines for water and cokes – and clean bathrooms). Even when tourist season, the grounds are usually serene…or were in the past. The state (lead by a younger Bush family member) has taken control from the historical society – old grey haired ladies both Mexican and Anglo together – who saved the old place from becoming a parking lot and protected it all these years. Some of us still find it unsettling that the state wants to lease the grounds out for weddings and parties…it is hallowed ground, many died, many are buried, partying down and guzzling beer with bands doesn’t seem respectful. Oh, well. It’s not a parking lot. State wanted revenue for licensing the Alamo image…
        San Antonio is a whole different world. Return trips always needed…we won’t even get into what a basketball town it is – game days are totally crazy and everyone takes off and heads in to the bars and restaurants before the game. Did you eat a Mi Tierra? Famous old Mexican restaurant – a must see…with must eat pastries

        Liked by 1 person

        1. So many wonderful suggestions here. Thank you. I’ll file this information away for our next adventure in San Antonio. People want to get married in a fort where soldiers died? I don’t think that would be a great way to start a marriage. That’s just plain weird.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Mi Tierra is open 24 hrs – it’s across from the big Market (not the Quarry – this is a huge market area of all sorts of stuff) Take the trolley to the market and walk to the restaurant – cars are a nuisance in SA. People will help you get on the right one.
            There’s also a terrific Jewish deli – old and famous for it’s bean soup – near the convention area, but once again ask concierge for how to get there. It’s always crowded at lunch but worth it. You have to go back – SA slips into your heart

            Liked by 1 person

  13. Oooooh!! Jess and I were talking about what we should do for a short vacation and San Antonio is on the list. Like some of the suggestions listed here. And the trivia.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. katie, we’ve been there twice for a little vacay getaway. It was fun each time. The River Walk is something cool and different. Plus the people were all friendly. Also, did I mention margaritas?

      Like

  14. I LOVE that quote! Every time I travel someplace different, I think of those who have never traveled and how they miss out on getting into other perspectives. Those who can’t travel, or don’t want to, get ingrained in their own local issues/complaints/problems without the ability to compare them to other places. Traveling is an important part of an education.
    I’ve visited San Antonio several times and enjoyed the city just as you did.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam, I agree with you 100%. It’s all about the change in perspective that travel foists on you. It can be maddening, but it is enlightening. As I mentioned somewhere in the comments above, I define travel as visiting faraway places as well as something as simple as going to a different local park for a walk. In both cases, it’s educational– which I adore.

      San Antonio was fun, really fun for us. I want to go back now that I know more about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Nice post, and San Antonio is on our list of places to see! A long-time reading fan of St. Augustine’s, I am now wondering about all the places he must have seen in his lifetime. The tidbit I recall about him the most, though, was that he spent most of his time arbitrating petty squabbles among people and how it brought him much dismay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. carla, we enjoyed our vacation in San Antonio. It was short, but long enough to pique our interest in returning. I didn’t know that about St. Augustine. I can only imagine how annoying it’d be to constantly mediate disputes. No wonder he liked to travel and get away by himself for a short while. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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