Anniversary Trip to San Antonio

This past weekend, [Kathy->] and I went down to San Antonio for a 10th anniversary getaway. I had been plotting the trip for a couple of weeks with the invaluable help of [Christina->], who stayed with the kids while we ran off to have a little bit of exclusive couple time, and was pretty excited to finally be able to set the plans in motion.

We started off by checking into the Travelodge downtown. While not palatial, it is clean and only a couple of blocks from the Riverwalk, where we spent much of our time over the next 48 hours. We then embarked on a quest to find “Dolores del Rio”, a funky Italian place I had heard of, but had never actually been to. Given that all of the reviews of the restaurant I’d found on the internet included directions, and that those directions seemed to bear no relation to each other whatsoever, I had expected locating the place to be a good deal more challenging than it actually turned out to be. We were quickly seated, and joined a few minutes later by [Chris->] and [Becky->], who were in town to pick a place to live when they move to San Antonio in the fall, and [Lana->] and [Meara->]. The evening was great — wonderful food, scintillating company, and a jazz band nominally led by my friend [Barry->] at the keyboard, who graced us with an alternately ethereal and funky version of “Tea for Two” in honor of our ten years. Then the belly dancers came out, draped me and Chris in feather boas, rounding off the dining experience nicely. We had only expected to stick around the restaurant for a couple of hours, but were having such a good time that, by the time we finally parted company after dinner, it was time for bed.

me with hair implants
barry at dolores del rio
chris gets some attention

The next morning we lazed about for a while, enjoying the luxury of sleeping in — an opportunity rarely afforded the parents of four children. We then embarked on a driving tour of the San Antonio Mission Trail, a series of four missions (five, if you count the Alamo) established by Spanish Franciscans back when the New World was first seeing European colonization. Though I think every child in San Antonio is required to go on field trips to the missions several times over the course of his public school education, I had very little memory of the sites, and enjoyed them every bit as much as Kathy, for whom this was her first visit.

mission door
grave & bell tower
mission door cross latch

Incidentally, I can hardly think of a life I’d rather lead than that of one of these monks who helped to establish these remarkable communities. What a wonderful thing to be so intimately involved with helping people meet their physical needs, while at the same time providing a place for cultivating their spiritual lives and working together to build places that are so beautiful.

After the missions, we went and pottered about downtown for a while, enjoying a late lunch at Casa Rio, a restaurant with colorful umbrellas over its riverside tables that largely define the visual look of the Riverwalk for me. We then enjoyed the air conditioned promenades at Rivercenter for a while and ducked into an arcade for a bit to race cars and play motion capture boxing games. (Visiting Rivercenter is always a bit nostalgic for me, as my high school choir sang there when it opened. “You just add waterÂ…at Rivercenter!” I’m still not sure what unholy business dealings resulted in our presence at the opening of a shopping mall, but it was fun at the time.)

i should work for the chamber of commerce...

Our original plan for that evening included a trip to the San Pedro Playhouse for a musical show. However, by the time we left on Friday, they had not responded to my request for tickets on their website. (I finally got an email back this morning saying “Oops. You went to our old website. Here’s the address of our new website, which, by the way, doesn’t offer online ticket ordering anymore.” Nimrods.) So, we Plan-B’ed, and got some coffee at a local coffee shop with indifferent coffee but the most extraordinary service I’ve ever seen. The pink-clad fey man behind the bar, when Kathy asked if they happened to have a newspaper handy, said “No, but I’ll get you one” and sprinted out the door before either of us could respond effectively. He went across the street to a gas station, but found their newspaper rack empty. He then proceeded to run further down the street until he found a place with a paper handy, purchased it, and brought it back for us to review. (All we wanted to know was movie times!) Truly above and beyond the call of duty, and thus earns a heartfelt recommendation of Timo’s Coffehouse on San Pedro. (Just don’t ask for anything tricky with decaf.)

We capped the day with a visit to The Quarry, a site that, while I was growing up in San Antonio, was a wretched, filthy eyesore of an abandoned industrial site, ironically next to one of the richer neighborhoods in San Antonio. Several years back, however, it was made over as an upscale commercial space, and now boasts many interesting stores, a microbrewery or two, and a huge movie theater. We pottered around Borders for a while, and I picked up P.J. O’Roarke’s latest, which I perused while Kathy dropped by Whole Foods. We then watched “Cinderella Man”, which was a lovely, moving film (even though it was about boxing) and drove back to the Travelodge.

sunset crepe myrtle

We slept in a bit more on Sunday, ran a few errands, and returned to our home, to be greeted by the excited shrieks of our kids (and a few, truth be told, from me as well). The trip was a great time which Kathy and I both enjoyed a great deal and got a lot out of. It was super to devote some time to just cultivating that relationship, away from our workaday concerns, and to slow down and celebrate getting to 10 years.

Thanks for your patience and persistence, my dear Kathy. I’m glad we’re making this journey together!

(See my photostream for some more pictures.)