Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Let's Rodeo San Antonio!

The Alamo
There are times when I time a trip perfectly, and there are times when things just do not want to cooperate.  The weekend before my flight down to San Antonio, Boston was hit with a giant Nor' Easter and we were covered in 2 feet of snow.  Fortunately I was not trying to travel during the storm, because I would have never made it.  I sure was itching to get some sunshine, and a weekend in sunny Texas was just what I needed! 

This trip was partially for tourism reasons and partially to visit family.  Being my first visit to Texas, there were a few things I had to do like buy a cowboy hat and boots, and there were things I planned for while being in San Antonio specifically, like visiting the Alamo, the River Walk, and Rodeo!  I flew into San Antonio airport, with a brief layover in Dallas, late Friday night.  My mom and Ricky picked us up from the airport and it was only a short ride to the Sheraton Gunter hotel.  I will admit that I sometimes don't pick the best places to stay, and the reviews online had me a bit worried, but the hotel was very nice!  The lobby was large and looked very well preserved.  They had lots of cool antiques like an old switchboard and mail shoots near the elevators.  We had no problems checking in. Our room was big!  There was plenty of space for a big bed, couch, desk, dresser, and room to walk around.  The bathroom was also very spacious and clean.  Since it was already late, we just went down to the hotel bar, McLeod's, for a nightcap before turning in. The cocktail list was appealing, and I had a skinny margarita to celebrate being so close to Mexico.
Riverwalk during the day

The next morning, we woke up pretty early to start our day at the Starbucks across the street.  Yum, coffee!  Walking towards The Alamo, we made a quick detour and walked along the river walk.  It was very quiet at 8:30am and was nice for taking pictures.  When I went back later that night it was incredibly busy, and I would not have had the chance to appreciate it's charm.  The Alamo opened to the public at 9am.  At first, it was not too busy, but within 1/2 hour it picked up.  Entrance is free, but I think we could have paid to rent an audio tour.  We just walked around and read the signs posted everywhere.  Overall, it was pretty small but a nice activity to fill an hour or two.  There are only a few rooms you can walk around in, and you are not allowed to take any pictures of the relics.  There is a nice, big, gift shop with lots of neat souvenirs!  I bought a Christmas ornament for my tree.

After the Alamo, we walked around in search of a breakfast place.  The concierge at the hotel pointed us in the opposite direction of the tourist sites where we found a Mexican cafe, Oasis Cafe.  The food was just okay, but it was cheap and enough to sustain us for the next few hours as we drove off to the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.  We lucked out and got a parking spot very close, so by around 11am we were through the front gate.  My initial thought was that the grounds were much larger than I expected!  There were several large buildings setup with pigs, horses, and cows (well, I saw two cows).  There were even more venders selling clothings, accesories, furniture, and even tractors, though I guess that should have been expected.  I didn't get a chance to see any of the animal auctions, but I sure got my fill of pigs.  By around 12:30, we made our way into the arena for the rodeo and concert.

Rodeo Events!
Watching the rodeo was a lot of fun!  They had different events including roping events, mutton bustin', barrel racing, and of course, bull riding!  Those poor rodeo clowns.  The one we saw go thrown by an angry bull while he was hiding in his barrel.  At first, I felt a little sad for the animals, especially the calves being roped, but my mom pointed out that they are trained for that and are actually pretty calm as they wait for them to come untie the ropes.  The rodeo events lasted about 2 hours, and then there was a 30 minute break before the Lady Antebellum concert.  The concert was great!  The opened with some songs that I did not recognize, but then all the goods ones came out.  The stage was one of those small spinning circles, and it was a little small for the venue, but the sound was good and that's what really matters!  We spent another hour or so trying out some of the food trucks before making a quick detour for me to pickup my boots and hat at Cavender's before dinner.

After a quick refresher back at the hotel, we headed out to the River Walk to find dinner.  I don't want to use the saying, "it was like night and day" to describe this, because we really did visit the River Walk during both night and day, but it was drastically different.  It was so busy, that we had to walk down the path single file and I was still scared someone was going to get pushed into the water!  This is obviously the area people go out to at night to drink and go to bars.  Every restaurant we went to had a wait of 1.5 hours, so we continued to walk until we found a place that did not.  That should have been a sign, when we were seated right away at Ostra, but we ignored it because we were hungry.  The menu looked appetising and the places were pretty high considering what we just walked past (hard rock cafe, mexican place, etc).  Our service was horrible!  We waited over an hour for our food, and while it was good, it wasn't worth the wait.  We probably would have been served faster if we went to one of the other restaurants with an hour wait!  Since we didn't finish our meal until well after 10pm, that was it for the night.

Close up of a Longhorn
The next morning we drove out to my mom's house for some family time.  That afternoon, we visited a ranch that had longhorns so that I could see them in person.  They were surprisingly docile.... I guess they are just cows with big horns.  I can definitely see how someone could get hurt if they get in the way, those horns are pointy!  They also had no problem coming right up to the truck to get some treats.  Fortunately for me, their big horns limited just how far they could stick their mouth in through the window!

The next day we had breakfast at a nearby Mexican restaurant and made our way to the airport.  It was another short weekend, but a lot of fun!  Hopefully my next trip down there, I'll get to explore Austin!

No comments:

Post a Comment