September 1, 2013: Taking a Mini Texas Vacation

Originally I was going to be helping Morgan Rug Doctor her apartment this morning but it turned out that the power had been turned off already so that pretty much took care of that.  So the morning was actually free.

We decided that since we had no particular obligations to forego the original plan of heading to San Antonio this evening and instead packed up the car and were out the door around ten.  That was a nice surprise.  We will get to San Antonio with enough time to actually get to enjoy today rather than just traveling and seeing it tomorrow.

The drive down was fine, it took just over four and a half hours to get down there.  We took the incredibly high speed (and high cost) 130 toll road that goes around Austin bypassing the entire metro area.  Very impressive. The high cost guarantees that it is empty.  I had to work today so I had to do a conference call from the car and be on work email much of the day but it ended up being a very light day and it worked out really well, an excellent use of the time.

We got to the hotel in the mid-afternoon.  We are staying at the Hilton Homewood Suites located right on the Riverwalk itself.  That was Dominica’s idea and she, once again, totally wins with the good hotel choices.  This is our first time staying in a Hilton property as a family and we were incredibly impressed.  I stay at the Doubletree from time to time for business but am always traveling on my own and don’t think very much of it.  They are nice but since I am alone and working I rarely pay any attention.  The Homewood really impressed us.

Our room was amazing.  A full double bed bedroom with a pocket door separating it from a living area with a full size refrigerator, range, kitchen table and living room with couch and arm chair.  Tons of room to actually spread out and relax.  Plus a television in each room so that we could watch one thing and the kids something else.  The wireless Internet access worked really well too so we were able to put all three iPads, my phone and my laptop on it without any hassle at all.

The girls thought that it was amazing fun to stand in the bedroom window and look straight down at the Riverwalk and watch the boats laden with tourists go by every minute or so.  They watched that for a really long time.

Once we relaxed a little, did some research on restaurants, got our barrings and unpacked, we went down to the lobby and got directions to get to the Riverwalk – easy… just cross the side street and the ramp down for the stroller was right there.  The girls rode in the double stroller and we set out to explore the canal that runs through downtown San Antonio and to look for an authentic Mexican restaurant for dinner.

It turned out to be hot, really hot.  Around 104F plus quite humid, which San Antonio is famous and when you go down to the Riverwalk, which sits beneath street level, there is no air movement at all leaving you with no way to cool down.  In a minute I was sweating like mad.  Not fun.

We went down the Riverwalk for a while and ended up getting stuck not knowing how to get to the other side of the river and our side of the river ended at an outdoor auditorium space.  So we tried crossing one of the concrete bridges that goes over the river.    Dominica took Luciana to carry her and I was just going to pick up the stroller when Dominica fell on the steps onto Luciana.  Luciana’s head hit the concrete steps and her bare back, she was in a dress, hit as well.  Luckily Dominica caught herself and landed on her knees to some degree.

Luciana was hurt pretty badly and really upset.  We didn’t know what to do so raced back to the hotel.  At first we thought that she was only hurt from her head bouncing off of the concrete, it wasn’t for a little bit that we noticed the giant red scratch running from nearly shoulder to shoulder.  Poor little girl.  Before we made it all of the way into the hotel, though, Luciana seemed to recover herself and was acting fine.  So we checked her out and decided that there was no point returning to the hotel, so we set about finding ramps to continue on our walk.

We ended up walking essentially every inch of the Riverwalk.  The heat was unbearable without any breeze and I was drenched in sweat before we were done.  It was awful.  The Riverwalk itself was amazingly beautiful and completely packed with tourists which made it pretty annoying.  We were looking for a specific restaurant but could not find it at all.

By the end of the walk I was so hot and miserable that I didn’t want to eat at a restaurant there even if it looked good as I was so uncomfortable.  I felt disgusting and just wanted to get back home and shower.  It would be like going into a fancy restaurant anywhere after having been to the gym for a hard workout without showering first – you just wouldn’t do it.  We tried Rainforest Cafe but the wait was like an hour.  We tried another and the air conditioning wasn’t on hard enough to make it any cooler than being outside.  So we gave up and went back to the hotel.

At the hotel we just relaxed.  The hotel was so nice that it was a great way to wind down.  We watched HGTV and ordered in Jimmy John’s, which Dominica has never had before.  That was really good.  The kids played on the iPads and Luciana appears to be no worse for wear.  They thought that hanging out in the hotel was great fun.  At one point Luciana stole away and hid on the far bed in the other room to get quiet time to use her iPad all alone.  Liesl was more snugly.

So on our first day we got settled in and saw the entire Riverwalk, the central point of tourism in San Antonio.  It might have been hot but at least we got to see the whole thing.  We gad originally thought that that was going to have to be part of our stuff tomorrow, so we have a lot more time tomorrow to relax and casually do the other things that we want to do.

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