On Monday we got home from a very nice four days spent in San Antonio, Texas. Danny had a work conference at the Embassy Suites, and in exchange for some volunteering, I was able to accompany him.
We arrived on Thursday afternoon, and after checking into our hotel, we met up with Danny’s co-workers and headed to dinner at Rosario’s. Dinner was excellent, and I had fun getting to know some of Danny’s managers and co-workers. Later on, Danny and I went for a quick walk along the riverwalk. Our hotel was right on the riverwalk, but not on the busiest, most tourist-trodden part, which was nice.
^^ Our hotel. See it’s prime riverwalk location? Pretty great. ^^
On Friday morning we enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the hotel (Embassy Suites has got that whole breakfast thing down!) and got to work. Danny started his airport shuttle duties, and I worked on getting welcome gifts ready for the conference attendees. In the afternoon, while Danny was still shuttling and there wasn’t anything for me to help with, I hit the riverwalk. I posted some pictures of my wanderings here. It was chilly (in the low 50’s) that afternoon, but I kept moving and ended up seeing a lot of the riverwalk. In the evening, we ate dinner at the hotel and participated in the first session of the conference. The keynote speaker was Tony Wolf, who is a comedian, speaker, and advocate for Compassion, and I think that we all really enjoyed him and what he had to share.
On Saturday, breakfast was followed by another main session, and then a breakout session. The breakout sessions were specifically geared towards advocates, church partners, volunteer coordinators, etc. and not really applicable to me, so I went up to the room and happened upon a parade going by outside our window. Apparently, to kick off the San Antonio Rodeo, they parade longhorns and covered wagons and battle re-enactors through the streets of downtown San Antonio, and I caught it at just the right time. I joined up with everyone for lunch, and then struck out on my own while Danny helped with three more breakout sessions. I worked out and, of course, walked along the riverwalk again, but on a different section, and this time, the sun was out and it was in the mid-60’s. I was thankful I didn’t bring my jacket, and kept my cardigan in my bag almost the whole time, leaving me walking the riverwalk in just a short-sleeved shirt – it was so great!
On Saturday evening, everyone attending/working/volunteering at the conference walked to Rita’s for dinner. Again, good food and great company. In the evening, back at the hotel, we enjoyed dessert and line dancing. Danny was the star of the show with his dance moves, while I ate chocolate strawberries and got to know some of his coworkers better on the sidelines.
Sunday morning the conference wrapped up with breakfast and another main session, this time led by Carlos Whittaker, who is funny and full of good stories. We ate a boxed lunch and helped with tear down until about 1:30pm, at which point everything (on the work end of things) was done.
Once we were released from duty, we walked (while rolling our suitcases behind us) to our next hotel, the Hyatt Place. The reason we switched hotels for just one night was simple: our lodging was covered while the conference was going on and Danny was working, but once it was over, we were on our own, and the Embassy Suites wasn’t in our price range. The Hyatt Place was great, though – still on the riverwalk, just about ten minutes south.
Danny had only been to the riverwalk on our first night when we walked around a bit at night, and then when we all went to dinner at Rita’s (which is located along the riverwalk). Both times were at night, and were pretty short, so we dropped off our luggage and got walking. It was a beautiful day, with temperatures in the low 70’s – definitely warm enough for some ice cream. We found Mr. Ice Cream, a shop along the riverwalk with great prices for such a high traffic area. We each got a single, which I figured meant one scoop for each of us, but no. For $6 total we each got three scoops of ice cream, which was more than enough and a great mid-afternoon treat. In addition to the riverwalk, we explored Market Square – a neat area with lots of restaurants, booths, shops, and vendors. If we had more time, we could have spent a couple of hours browsing, taking in the live entertainment, and eating some good food. Since our daylight hours were limited at that point, though, we wandered around just a little and watched some precious dancers before moving on.
We had dinner at Mad Dogs British Pub along the riverwalk – what a perfect night for eating outside! Mad Dogs has a vegetarian section on their menu, which was why we chose it. I had the veggie burger and Danny had the bangers and mash. I know that British food is pretty un-San Antonio, but we’d had quite a bit of Tex-Mex throughout the weekend, and decided to try something different. The food was fine, but the best part was definitely the location. We walked along the riverwalk until it was dark, and then turned in for the night.
On Monday we worked out, ate breakfast, checked out of the hotel, and walked along the riverwalk to get on a boat tour. We had planned to do the boat tour on Sunday, but the weekend was full of crowds and tourists, so we decided to wait until Monday when we thought it might be a little less crowded. Sure enough, it was only us and five others on our riverwalk boat tour.
After the boat tour, we walked to the Rivercenter Mall, where we took in the Alamo IMAX. Before going to see it, I read some reviews online and found out that the movie was made in 1988, and twenty-seven years later, is still being shown ten times a day.
Now, if you’re going to San Antonio, I wouldn’t recommend that you go see this movie. Tickets are $12.50 a person, and the movie is less than 45 minutes long – pretty pricey if you ask me. We knew all this going in, but went anyways because Danny is given a small allotment for entertainment when he travels for work, and since he didn’t use it during the conference, we used it for the movie. The movie does give a good overview of the Alamo and it’s significance in Texas history.
After the movie, it felt only right to go visit the Alamo in all it’s glory. But first, lunch. We walked to Sweet Yams Organic, which really wasn’t all that far away, but we got lost a little bit and almost didn’t find it except that Danny realized that something we thought was just graffiti (it was kind of a sketchy area) was actually the sign for the restaurant. The food was great, though – definitely some of the best of the trip.
And then, the Alamo. Monday was a perfect time to go – very few tourists and the best weather we had our whole trip. Actually, probably the best weather I think we’ve experienced since we were at Versailles last September, where it was quite warm and we were totally overdressed. Same story at the Alamo: it was in the 80’s and we were wearing too many clothes (jeans for me and a long sleeved shirt for Danny). We didn’t spend a lot of time at the Alamo (there isn’t much to see – but don’t tell the Texans – they love that place), but we did get a good look around and take a few pictures.
After the Alamo we were hot and in need of some more ice cream. This time, though, we were aware of the massive portions Mr. Ice Cream offers and decided to split a cup of cookie dough. It was good, but we decided that we need to make our own ice cream soon because our homemade cookie dough chunks would (probably) be much better than the pellets in our ice cream. We ate on a bench along the riverwalk and while we were doing so, one of the hosts at a nearby restaurant saw us and came over and asked if we wanted him to take our picture. I mean, yes! Always yes! Any picture that’s not a selfie is always good. What a nice guy.
We walked along the river for a while longer until we were so hot and sweaty that we decided to head to the airport a little bit earlier than planned. Since we didn’t rent a car (it was going to be about $80 for the 26ish hours we needed it), we were going to just take a taxi to the airport (estimated around $35), but then I heard about Uber. I’d heard of Uber before, but never paid much attention, because, well, I’ve never had a need for such a service (Uber, to my understanding, is like a taxi but a little different – someone drives you where you need to go in their personal car and thus is usually cheaper). But Uber told me our ride to the airport would be about $10 less than the taxi, so we decided to give it a chance. The ride ended up being only $17, and now I’m sold on Uber. It was kind of like the first time we used Airbnb – we were kind of nervous, but willing to take a risk in order to save some serious money – and it worked out great.
We had a great time in San Antonio. It was the perfect little getaway (although it was definitely more of a vacation for me than Danny since he was primarily working) and I’m so thankful that we were able to go and be a part of the Compassion conference and enjoy a beautiful long weekend in San Antonio.