Today has been a very chilled out, cultural kind of day.
This morning, the plan was to go to a farmer’s market. This farmer’s market had been enthusiastically advertised on posters and stuff all around the plaza yesterday, but when we got there it was literally three tables consisting mainly of plants, some vegetables, and a lady with some cakes. As Sophie said, it was more jumble sale than farmer’s market. We decided to look elsewhere for breakfast, so we headed to La Villita, this Spanish-y ‘arts market’ just off the River Walk.
This was possibly one of the weirdest places I have ever been in my life. It was mostly weird because it was so quiet – a total ghost town. We made our way to the La Villita cafe, where we indulged in a muffin (Sophie) and the most luxurious, elaborate yoghurt parfait I’ve ever seen in my life for me; it came in a real glass goblet thing and everything! For those keeping track of our funds this was an unexpected expense but let’s blame it on the lack of farmer’s market, shall we?
We spent a little time exploring the actual market/village place but to be honest, a lot of the shops/galleries were just a bit weird and I wasn’t sure I trusted the legitimacy of their stuff – they were all staffed by like, pale ginger men who didn’t seem very Mexican. Some of the stuff was cool though. Sophie liked the day of the dead stuff especially.
When we left we were a bit disenchanted to be honest and we were also a bit confused as to what exactly San Antonio was – there was a lot of tourist stuff but we didn’t understand where the actual people went. We decided to head for the Alamo, and on the way, we passed the Rivercenter Mall, which we had seen signs for yesterday. We decided to go in, which was a good decision, because this mall was freaking huge. As neither of us have really seen real shops since San Diego, we indulged in some good old shopping and spent at least an hour and a half wandering around the many, many Texas/America-themed souvenir stores, including my favourite, ‘Flag World’. I stocked up on a wide range of tacky gifts for my brother & sister so look forward to that, kids!
After we were shopped out we continued on our way and stumbled across what we had been looking for all along, really – an entire row of tacky tourist shops and attractions. For some reason, t-shirt stores are apparently big in San Antonio. They’re all just like the ones they work in in Jersey Shore, where you get like a decal on the front of whatever t-shirt you want and so we have both made tentative plans to go back and get one before we leave. Don’t worry, we’ll keep y’all updated.
Finally, we reached the destination we had set off for several hours earlier: the Alamo. We followed signs to ‘The Shrine’, but as we don’t really know what the Alamo is all about I feel the significance of the Shrine was somewhat lost on us. Instead we wandered around the grounds and took pictures amongst the cacti and palm trees. Very tropical.
All this activity had worn us out so we decided to retire to Hemisfair park. We bought shaved ice and ate it right by the cart, which was playing some hilarious old-school tunes, and then we came over all cultural and went into an art gallery that celebrated Mexican culture. I think this may be the first art gallery I’ve been in in my life actually, and it’s also another thing off the bucket list so that’s good. We spent the rest of the afternoon lying on a Mexican blanket that Sophie bought this morning – have we mentioned that it is HOT here?!
We were slowly being eaten alive and we were also starving, so at around 5:30 we decided to head back to find some food. For some reason we both really wanted Hooters, so that is where we went. In Williamsburg Tuesday is unlimited wings which is what we wanted but apparently that is not the case here (although we were sceptical and did think the waitress was lying to us, but we’ve just googled and no, she wasn’t), so we had to order separate, ten wing plates. Imagine – only ten wings each. We also ordered a side salad since we like to get our vitamins in. There was some sort of big basketball game going on which started almost as we were finishing so everyone was all decked out in all their Spurs gear and stuff which was cool.
We wandered around the River Walk a little more after dinner. It really is the weirdest place – it’s like Disney World on crack, and what’s possibly the weirdest is that the whole river is like basically under the rest of the city so that if you’re on the streets you rarely even see it. So strange. All the Mexican and Italian restaurants have like little troupes of men playing instruments and singing which is HILARIOUS. Anyway we realised we’d done well on the budget today and had like $5 left on it, so to celebrate, we decided to spent $8 on Haagen Dazs. Economists we are not. In our defense we only ordered a kiddie cup each so it’s really Haagen Dazs’ fault for being so ridiculously overpriced.
We could have wandered around the River Walk a bit more but really all it is restaurants so we decided to head back to the hotel where, happily, we discovered that there is an ongoing Teen Mom marathon AND there was an episode of Dance Moms on that I hadn’t seen before. So basically, the perfect evening.