When we think of Texas, we think of the Lone Star, it being oil rich, longhorns, cowboys, cowgirls, guns, motorcycles, choppers and wide open spaces. And with this thinking I was in for a serious surprise when I arrived at San Antonio in Central Texas. This city has so much character. It has a big heart. The people are nice. And it has great whiskey bars. And it also has the Texan charm. In simple terms, it is my kind of city.
Once my train landed here, I was all excited to explore this city. Through the maps, I found out that the city was of petite size and hence decided to explore it by foot.
Started off with the visitor center to get my bearings right and to get a street level map so that I could afford to get lost. My first stop was the San Antonio river walk, which is like the heart of the city and where all the action is.
I took a 30 minute boat cruise to give me a good idea of the river, the city’s history, its founding people, its character, its top sights and much more.
It was during this boat ride that I found out that in its past, this city of San Antonio used to be affected by a lot of floods, but with a lot of local help and some good architectural planning, it got itself a flood system that prevented it from flooding and a riverside atmosphere that makes this city really special.
Most of the city weaves its way in and out of these various canals and flood channels. The nature around these water channels adorns itself with night herons, pigeons and ducks on 300 year old trees. Amidst all this nature lies the Alamo, one of San Antonio’s iconic landmarks, a Baroque German and a Catholic Church, the Tower of the Americas, the Commerce and other city administration buildings, sensational bridges, modern looking hotels, great restaurants and bars.
Boats give people a quick tour of the city from the river, the river walk sees brisk action, the restaurants dish out great local food, the local artists share their art and craft with the people and then there are also so many avenues to shop from.
For entertainment, one can try Ripley’s believe it or not, the Wax museum, the Mirror Mania, the San Antonio Open Tour Bus or simply watch the world go by from a restaurant. The whole town wears a festive look almost everywhere by the riverside and even at the street levels. There is live music almost at every street corner.
Food, Music and Drinking are like the main focus points of this lively, yet laid back city. A colourful drink and nice hot meal overseeing all this action in this vibrant atmosphere is perfect for a relaxed holiday. And this is precisely what I indulged in when I was in the city. I had a colorful lunch by the riverside and with great live music.
If you wish for more, there are taverns and breweries where one can try out the local beers and whiskeys. San Antonio is home to some fantastic bars and if you are a bourbon or rye whiskey fan, this place can offer you some serious value for money.
I got a taste of this when I tried out some local bourbon whiskey at the Esquire Tavern, the oldest bar on the San Antonio river walk and one that has the longest table in the whole of Texas. It is quite an experience to drink great whiskey in a classic looking bar.
Whatever you end up doing in this city – exploring like a typical tourist, indulging in its food and beverages, participating in its music and dance or simply visiting its key landmarks, San Antonio is one city that you will fall in love with. It certainly has all the ingredients of a relaxed holiday destination and I hope to return to it some day soon as 12 hours doesn’t do justice to this city at all. San Antonio….I hope to see you again!