Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cruising the San Antonio

On Thursday morning in San Antonio, we walked a couple of blocks from our hotel to have breakfast at this little cafe, SIP . . . considerably less expensive than having breakfast in the hotel! It was a good place to grab some coffee, a croissant or yogurt and granola. The River Walk area must be "convention headquarters." All along the River Walk are high rise hotels, but they're slightly set back, so you don't really notice them while you're on the river. But it's very creative planning how many hotels have a section along the river and access to it. The River Walk area is one flight down from street level, so the river and walk itself seems to be in a world all its own. If you want access to a regular downtown city, you just walk up one of the flights of stairs at the street/intersection of your choice. The River Walk reminded me of a combination Venice, Mardi Gras and Deliverance (especially at night, along some of the off-the-beaten-track areas.)



Doug and I decided to grab a River taxi to get to the starting point for the River Walk tour/cruise. The River taxi runs throughout a loop around the downtown area, along the river, and we bought an all-day ticket for $10 each. As Jason, our guide said, to flag down the taxi, you have to wave your ticket around or do something emphatic to get the operator's attention; just a "wave" won't do, because people wave to him all day long, just to wave. It's kind of like flagging a taxi, but it operates more like a bus. Only later did I recognize this as a problem.

In theory, the taxi will pick you up anywhere along the river. One problem is that there are very few taxis operating and lots of tour boats operating. The only way to tell the difference is by the checked black and yellow flag on the back of the taxi. There's about 2 taxis operating on the river and 25 tours at any given time.



Could Doug look any more blissed out? (Well, yes he could, but that's private.)
We took the taxi to the Rivercenter Mall, where we could catch the tour boat. This tour cost about $13.50 for both of us, and was a 40 minute narrated tour all along the river. It was a nice way to learn some of the details of the River Walk area, and to get more photos from the river. The guide told us that during the day, he's seen many children fall into the river, and at night, it tends to be drunk tourists who topple into the river. Fortunately, it's only 3 feet deep, so most people simply stand up.

This set of umbrellas is supposed to be one of the most photographed stretches along the river. The San Antonio overran its banks in 1921 and Robert Hugman challenged the plan to cement it over through a 1930's WPA project. In the 1960s it was refurbished for the HemisFair and became very popular as a tourist attraction. It's certainly popular with me right now!

13 comments:

Nancy Devine said...

isn't it wonderful in san antonio. i was there for a conference in november...at the mall where you took one your pictures.

Barb said...

I love the picture of the colorful umbrellas. I don't remember seeing them when I was there. But, it's been a while.

Sharon said...

Beautiful! I love Doug's look of bliss and your comment. ;)

shirley said...

I can see why the row of umbrellas are photographed often - very colorful. Thanks again for sharing your adventures!

Michelle said...

I love the umbrella picture and your journaling! We lived in Dallas for 4 years and never made it to SA. You are right, it is big location for conventions...my husband has been to a couple and has said it's beautiful! Too bad we didn't go when it was within driving range!

Raechel said...

Wow you go so many neat places! Your photos are wonderful!:)

Amy said...

Oh, the umbrellas are my favorite shot, I see why that's a popular spot! I really enjoy reading your journaling too. :)

Meaghan said...

Looks like so much fun! Those umbrellas are great. I love all the colors.

Mandy said...

I never thought San Antonio would be a place to visit, but I think I have a new spot to want to see! Your pictures make everything look so magical and that group of umbrellas does look oddly familiar.

Nicki, said...

Sounds like a lovely trip and I can see why the color umbrella strip is a favorite - nice shots. Your DH looks like he is having the time of his life - husbands are sooo good at tolerating our camera habits (haha). Thanks for sharing.

Reds said...

I've said it before... love your journaling! You are a great storyteller and photographer!! Love the umbrella shot!

Jess said...

Ooh, I always wanted to visit there! It sure looks like you had a blast. Those umbrellas are amazing, I would have wanted to spend half the day photographing them, LOL!

Suzy said...

Love those colorful umbrellas! Great shots!