One of the things I like best about living in Texas is the number of things you can do here that that you thought were only possible somewhere else, somewhere supposedly more glamorous.For example, I have always wanted to cruise down a Venice canal in a gondola but with the recent economic downturn, my family has cut back on air travel. We went on a roadtrip to San Antonio instead. There were no gondolas, but I did experience what a ride in one would be like while cruising through The Riverwalk on The San Antonio River.
You can find the Riverwalk in Downtown San Antonio. It is flanked on both sides by beautiful hotels, restaurants and a few shops. Because the buildings block or filter much of the light and noise to the area, it is as if you are entering another world when you descend the stairs to reach The Riverwalk or access it from the lobbies or basements of the hotels beside it. You definitely do not feel like you are in Texas.
My family took an hour tour on a Rio San Antonio Cruises barge and paid only $8 each for my husband and me and $3 for my son. Restaurants of all types with colorful signs and interesting decorations grabbed at our attentions. We watched people wandering the paths between the restaurants and crossing the Riverwalk’s many stone bridges. Vivid green trees and plants line the banks of the river and the light shining between their leaves created beautiful images on the water. We saw sculptures, carvings and a gigantic mural. There were many children on the cruise, from my three year old to teenagers. None fussed or complained about wanting to be elsewhere. My son twisted in my arms but only to get a better view of something that caught his interest.
Our tour operator was friendly and welcoming to everyone. He made space for our son’s stroller near the front of the boat and greeted him in the same manner as the adults, making my son feel quite grown up and special. The guide was extremely knowledgeable about San Antonio’s history. He mixed information about the sights we were seeing and their historical significance with jokes that were truly funny. We left the cruise feeling satisfied with our new knowledge and pleased by the beauty we had seen.
Many of the people on the cruise compared the Riverwalk to a Venice canal and the experience of riding in the barge to riding in a gondola. However, as a brand new Texan, I was happy that my family could have this experience so close to home. For more information about the Riverwalk, visit http://www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com/index.asp.
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