Today was quite a day! We started with a boat tour on River Walk. We were too late for breakfast in our hotel so decided to have late breakfast somewhere on River Walk. We took the tour that lasted about an hour at 10:00. It gave us a good idea of the entire area – most of the River Walk is actual river with flood gates to protect the area in between the two gates. Then there is a man made canal section that goes to the Convention Center that was built when they had a World’s Fair here and to the River Center Mall. I would not have known the difference but learned this on the tour.
After the tour we walked back down or up – not sure which – and stopped at the Zuni Grill and had a great late breakfast.
Ben and Jane at River Walk
Then we walked the other way looking in a few shops. We finally made it to the La Vita area which is composed of small homes from the early San Antonio days – they have been converted to shops by various artists in the area. Nice gallery of original arts – sculpture, paintings, metal work, jewelry, weaving – a very nice mix and we enjoyed lots of looking. Got several ideas for Ben’s metalwork and Jane got ideas for beading and uses for Christmas post cards from Grandmother Mynatt.
La Vita Shop
After all this walking it was time for a break. We returned to our hotel and had a short break. About 4:30 Jane went to Macy’s and the mall for her Black Friday shopping. There had been little traffic on the streets near us until now. Cars were backed up onto the interstate and they were bumper to bumper on the streets around our hotel. Made it into the mall and she actually found some great deals. Ben met her at the assigned place at 5:30. This would give us 1 ½ hours to walk a short way to the restaurant we had picked out, eat and walk back to our seats along the River Walk. We had to be flexible and change our minds – there was an hour wait at restaurants and the whole place was wall-to-wall people. There was a food court in the mall so we just stood in line there for some supper and when we got it found our seats outside and sat there to eat fairly decent philly cheese steaks. There were no seats anywhere in the mall food court. We also had really good cookies from a Toll House Cookie Shop.
The Christmas tree was lit and soon the lights in the trees along the canal came on. The chairs began to fill up. Ours were first row along the canal with only a few plants between us and the water.
Christmas Tree at River Center
This is the 28th year for this holiday parade. There were to be 25 floats. They were built on flat boats – some borrowed from the Rio tour company and some from another company (our guide this morning told us this). The floats started at 7:30 in our location and continued at a fairly good pace for about an hour and 15 minutes.
Floats in River Walk Parade
They were all bright with lights, happy people, and most had live music. It was indeed a great parade. The end of course was Santa and Mrs. Claus. You would have to be in a holiday mood after this parade. The lady who sat beside us lives in Houston and told me she comes every year and brings some of her grandchildren. For them it is a holiday tradition to come to this event.
We made a great choice for a hotel – we are a short walk through Macy’s and across the street to our La Quinta. We have been back in our room for an hour now and the roads below are still bumper to bumper traffic!