My New Jersey friend Erica decided to up and move to Texas not too long ago. She applied for jobs, got one, took it and left. When I say Erica is my New Jersey friend, I mean this girl has never left New Jersey. Born there, grew up there, went to college there and stayed there after college. I suppose after 26 years, it was time for something new. So she picked up her life and moved across the country to San Antonio. Ballsy.
You go girl!
I love my friends. I also love when my friends do things that benefit me. I had never been to Texas, and now that I knew someone who lived there, all I needed was a plane ticket. Done. So I headed to San Antonio in June of 2013 for some big Texas fun!
The 5 days I spent there involved a lot of walking, a lot of eating and a lot of sweating.
Seriously. It was so hot.
I’m not sure I can think of a better feeling than the sweet relief when you cross from the outside of a blisteringly hot summer day to the inside of a well air conditioned building. When you step through the wall where hot air meets cold air, the release your body feels is incomparable to anything else. This is how I spent most of my time in Texas. Darting from outside to inside to escape the heat as I explored the city of San Antonio.
Growing up near NYC I am used to a city where I can walk, hop on a subway or bus and get anywhere in the city pretty efficiently. I was taken by surprise when I arrived in San Antonio and realized that this city, the 7th largest city in the US, is almost the complete opposite of NYC. It is necessary to own a car in San Antonio. The roads and highways and exits almost rival that of Los Angeles. Despite needing to drive all over the place I found the little corners of town that allowed for excellent foot exploring.
I drove Erica’s car to downtown San Antonio and gathered all of the loose change I had in my purse. Prepared to use it all, I put a quarter in the meter-1:00 flashed on the screen. One hour for a quarter?! I was shocked. I was floored. I was ecstatic. I loved San Antonio! I only used a few quarters and had hours of time on my hands! Little did I know that I parked in a prime location to spend the day on foot. I made 4 major stops that day, all sprinkled with various breaks at different BBQ and Mexican joints. I’m not kidding. I ate BBQ & Mexican for lunch, dinner and breakfast, and it was glorious.
First stop: The Alamo
I love ruins and I love learning about history…in small doses. I tend to turn into my 7th grade self and doze off when I am pummeled with too much historical information. I enjoy exploring ruins on my own with a listening device so I can fast forward through the boring parts. The Alamo perfectly fit my bill for the right amount of history and do-it-yourself exploring. The Alamo is a tiny little oasis amongst the city of San Antonio. It took me a short 15 minutes to walk through the ruins where I read the various signage and learned about the history of the Alamo. To check out the history of The Alamo go here.
Stop #2: The Riverwalk
Just across the street from the Alamo is the famous Riverwalk. We descended the steps from street level to the river. We passed a wall of water cascading from the top of the street down into a fountain near the river where baby ducks paddled around. I got a drink from the first bar on the Riverwalk and learned I was allowed to walk along while drinking! This brought memories of Vegas flooding back. Even though I am sure the drink prices were jacked way up, I still would not pass up the opportunity to stay cool by drinking a frozen Sangria along the Riverwalk. Brilliant.
It hit the spot.
We strolled at a leisurely pace along the winding pathway. For the first half mile of the Riverwalk the sidewalk is lined with shops and restaurants, then it turns into a lovely pathway that winds with the river. We walked and explored and had a great time.
Stop #3: San Antonio Flea Market
This was not in walking distance from the Alamo and Riverwalk, but it sure did involve a lot of walking! I always think that I like flea markets the moments before I actually arrive at a flea market. I get so excited ahead of time, what am I going to find? Maybe something fantastic, there is going to be so much stuff to sort through, I could be there all day! And then I arrive at a flea market and all those thoughts go shooting out of my head. Flea markets are all the same. They all have the same crap and same people attempting to sell said crap. It was an interesting experience though. The places was massive! I it must have been almost a full square mile of rows and rows of open storage-unit like buildings. Everything being sold was the same stuff you see everywhere else, the only thing about this flea market that screamed Texas was the number of cowboy boots and hats being sold.
Stop #4: Mega Church
My friend lives in an apartment complex directly across from a massive mega-church. Nothing about this place screams church. In fact, if I hadn’t seen the massive flashing sign on the highway I would have never assumed it was a church. Everything is pure white, with no signage on the front whatsoever. I decided to let my curiosity take over and explore the complex by foot. First of all, there were three security guards planted at all of the exits. What church needs security guards at every exit? I attempted to enter a couple of the doors, but all were locked. Aren’t churches always supposed to be open? I went past what must be the broadcasting center to find the most massive satellite I have ever seen. Broadcasting tool or alien communication tool-i joke! I’m sad to say that I didn’t get inside, but there was a possibility I might not have made it out anyway. I did some research after and discovered that this mega church is extremely popular around the country, even my mom watches it on TV! Definitely an interesting experience!
My sweat-filled days of exploring San Antonio by foot were enhanced by the quality of food I ate. All of that walking makes a girl hungry, and I made sure to indulge. Lots of Mexican and BBQ to keep me energized for walking, plus stopping in restaurants was an excuse to duck out of the heat for awhile!
San Antonio, Texas was everything I had hoped it would be. A huge new city to explore peppered with history, beauty and delicious food.