Even though we've lived in Texas for over a year now, we just made our first visit down to San Antonio earlier this week. I had to run Jonathan and Jasmine down to the airport anyway, so they could catch a flight to Reno, to visit their aunt and grandparents. Over the weekend, we decided that it might be a fun idea for all of us to go down; since I had put in for two days of leave anyway.
We drove down on Monday afternoon, via the "scenic route" ... we went over to Lampasas, then took Hwy 281 South, almost all the way to the San Antonio airport. Along the way, we drove through a couple of interesting little small towns, including Marble Falls (which is a place we plan to visit again when we have time to stop and explore).
After we dropped the kids off for their flight, we stayed the night at a TLF (or "family room") at the Lackland AFB billeting. At only $41.50 for the night, it was only about 1/2 as much as any of the hotels in town ... plus we had a refrigerator and kitchen so that we could make breakfast in the morning. After a quick jaunt down to a nice little Italian restaurant, and a pop into Walmart for supplies, we got a good night sleep that we could enjoy our sightseeing on Tuesday.
Ana and the girls in front of a fountain at Lackland AFB billeting
A colorful little bench outside our room
We checked out of our room and headed downtown at a little before 11am on Tuesday. We put the address for Ripley's Believe it or not; 300 Alamo Square into the GPS and set off on our 20 minute drive. The GPS took us through some "interesting" parts of town, but eventually we reached our objective ... and then spent another 15 minutes looking for parking. We actually drove past the Alamo 3 times .. I felt a little like Chevy Chase in European Vacation .. "looks kids there's the Alamo". Eventually we found a lot, and paid $8 for the day.
Ana and Jaiden outside The Alamo
We spent about 30 minutes or so at The Alamo. I actually didn't even go inside. We had the big double stroller, and it would have been too much of hassle to get the baby out, and then worry about leaving it outside. So, while Ana and Jaiden toured the inside, Joey and I found a bench out back near a fountain that appeared to be dedicated to Davy Crockett:
Joey grabbing a nap at The Alamo
Jaiden checking out the Davy Crockett fountain
On our way to the River View Center Mall; which turned out to be the most convenient place for us to get down to the river walk, we stopped along a little street so Ana could have her picture taken next to a cigar store indian chief:
Ana, Joey, and the Indian Chief
After stopping off at the Disney store, and another little shop where we bought some t-shirts, it was time to make our way down to the riverwalk itself ...
this is near the food court at the River View Center mall
We ended up staying down at the river walk for almost 3 hours, with just a quick stop for lunch at the Lone Star Cafe ... which btw is one of the better bargains of a restaurant I've been in anywhere in Texas; let alone right in the middle of a tourist destination. The special that day was $5 for all-you-can-eat boneless fried chicken, with mashed potato and corn.
After lunch, we spent the rest of our time there taking pictures along the river walk, as we slowly made our way back towards the car.
looking down the river, in the direction we were heading
a little bridge over the river walk (wish the bridges didn't all have stairs .. not fun with a double stroller)
looking across the river at the outdoor seating for the Hard Rock Cafe
tour boats ... which we will probably try to go on next time if we don't have the big stroller
and finally, a view looking back down at the river walk from up at street level
We ended up heading back home in the early afternoon, and that's where I made one of the few "mistakes" of our trip ... we decided to take I-35 home, instead of going back up 281 ... and we were rewarded by what should have been a totally expected traffic jam in Austin:
stuck in Austin rush hour traffic
Oh well, next I'll know better.
All in all, it was a fun (and relatively inexpensive) little overnight trip. I expect that we'll probably do it again soon.