Sightseeing in San Antonio—Part 1: the Alamo & River Walk

San Antonio has always been one of my favorite places to visit in Texas, and I knew that Will would enjoy it, too. Even though it is the second largest city in Texas, we did not experience the same big city feel we got in Houston or Dallas, though it certainly is sprawling. For the first time in quite a while, our visit to a city felt almost normal, though the pandemic anxieties are hard to shake.

Our first stop was the Alamo. We debated on whether or not to actually go inside the church and the grounds and decided that it was a stop we simply had to make. Thankfully, they were requiring (free) reservations, limiting the number of people inside the church, and requiring masks, which helped quell our anxieties. We “purchased” our tickets the day before and arrived at exactly our entry time. As we entered, we were reminded yet again why we try to avoid overly touristy places—of course they wanted to take our photo before we went in (which we could have purchased for way too much $). However, once we got past that, we had a pleasant visit.

Even with the limited number of people in the church, there were still more than we were really comfortable with (after the past year, I am comfortable when there is pretty much no one else around and my comfort level decreases exponentially from there). I know we may seem overly cautious, but with Little Bird being so…little…and too young to wear a mask, I feel incredibly selfish when we take her somewhere where we are wearing masks. So, we pulled the stroller off to the side, away from where people were walking, and Will and I took turns walking around and enjoying the history surrounding us. This tactic may stick around postpandemic because it was kind of nice to know Bird was not grabbing at things and we each were able to take our time without worrying about maneuvering the stroller. We are incredibly lucky that Bird is overly nebby too and enjoys people watching just as much as we do! After we explored the church, we meandered around the grounds and were overall really glad we decided to visit.

The River Walk is one of my all-time favorite places to visit, and we made our way there after our visit to the Alamo. Unlike the busyness of the Alamo where people were just milling around, the River Walk was virtually deserted. We also quickly realized that it is rather challenging to navigate with a stroller. Carrying the stroller up and down stairs is something we have perfected, so it did not hinder our visit. Although, I was kind of surprised at how inaccessible the area was and how difficult it was to find information about elevators and other means of access.

One of the things I love most about our adventures is experiencing all these things through the eyes of a toddler. Sure, I would have noticed the ducks all along the River Walk if I had been there without Bird, but her excitement at seeing every duck and pointing at the buildings and giggling at every turn truly makes for a memorable day.

We walked almost the entire length of the River Walk, saw our first signs of spring in some tulips along the walk, and decided to find a place to eat. This was a monumental decision because although we have eaten take out, we had not actually sat down for a meal at a restaurant in the past year. We enjoyed a lunch of Texas barbecue at an outdoor table with no one nearby (until the very end of our meal), and it felt weird and also so normal. It really made me yearn for more normal.

Normal seems almost foreign most of the time, yet getting a glimpse of eating out and actually going into an attraction was incredibly refreshing. Our first trip to San Antonio was more than either of us had hoped for and made us want to explore even more. Stay tuned for Part 2!

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