It all started out with a groan. When my parents announced that our family vacation this year would be to San Antonio, Texas, to visit my grandparents, I distinctly remember groaning. I imagined it to be this hot, humid, desert with nothing to do except play cards with my grandparents and get drooled on by their dog. Boy, was I wrong. The moment I stepped out of the airport, I realized just how wrong I was.
The first thing you notice about San Antonio is how beautiful it is. The whole week I was there, I was snapping photographs of countless out of the ordinary buildings, fantastic gardens, and statues ranging from giant Aztec heads to writhing metal creations of modern art. However, it was easily the Mission Trail that was the most beautiful.
Now, the second thing you notice about San Antonio is, hey this place is green. Who ever said Texas was a desert? I was wrong again when I later found out that Texasis a desert, just further up north. I learned this at a video at the Tower of the Americas, visited by me, my grandparents, my parents, and my two sisters on the last day of our vacation. Now, I irritated my grandma constantly because I called it the Space Needle. I’m from the northwest, so anything that remotely resembles Seattle’s Space Needle, is a space needle to me. But, because it is the Tower of Americas, and not the Space Needle, I saw amazing views of San Antonio. You can look in any direction and all you see is city. I felt very awed and very small. It was an incredible reminder that I was only one person in a city of over a million people.
The place that tied together the best of both worlds for me in San Antonio though was the River Walk. The River Walk is at the center of downtown San Antonio and is the heart of the city. There was buildings both old and new, thousands of tourist trap shopping, and an insane number of people. San Antonio is a massive city, and in most places you hardly remember you are even in a city. Traffic is non-existent, and you can go for a mile without seeing either a McDonalds or a Starbucks. It isn’t so on the River Walk, and I found that refreshing. You felt the wonderful city energy there, but saw this sort of lush paradise more reminiscent of a sculptured garden. Needless to say, I was swept away.
Still, it wasn’t a perfect vacation. Overall, the city was full of poor neighborhoods, the Tower of Americas was infested with crickets, and our hotel, The River Walk Hyatt, was unremarkable. And yes, I did mostly play cards with my grandparents and get drooled on by their dog. But I found that I didn’t mind so much. I was surrounded by a truly beautiful, if hot and humid, city.
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