A Night of Fireworks!
On this recent visit to San Antonio we lodged at the Marriott River Walk. We viewed the magnificent New Year's Eve fireworks display from our balcony, atop the 21st floor. Below us, the entire city was lit up and sparkling in the night!
Each small community's display formed a vibrant ring of color around the horizon as we viewed the spectacle from our perch. Bright bursts of light punctuated the darkness time and again. I think it was the most beautiful display I've ever seen. Differing from the usual shows, these fireworks continued for quite a long time.
New Year's in San Antonio is a spectacular event!Related to:
- Family Travel
Can I help?
Alamo City Amigos are volunteers who love their city and are proud to be part of a team working to keep it a great place to visit and to live. You'll see the Amigos in their distinctive turquoise shirts and straw hats all around the downtown area.
Ambassador Amigos are there to give assistance to visitors, to answer questions on anything and everything to do with the city - attractions, shopping, getting around, where to go and what to do. Even if you know just where you're going and how to get there, take a minute to say Hi! to one of these willing helpers, they're giving their time freely to make you feel welcome and everybody likes to know their efforts are appreciated.
Other Amigos give their time and effort to keeping the city looking good, sidewalks swept and litter-free, even landscaping city streets with plants and greenery. With so many of its citizens taking an active part in making sure the city presents a clean and smiling face to the world, is it any wonder San Antonio looks and feels like a city with a heart?
San Antonio is definitely the home to many Mexican Americans. You will likely see this evidenced by the number of locations around San Antonio that sell Jarritos beverages at their restaurants. Jarritos is a very popular brand of fruit flavored carbonated beverages sold in Mexico, but is just as popular in major US cities close to the border.
Jarrito is Spanish for little jug, and this beverage is a little jug of goodness. On this particular instance, Sarah enjoyed the Pina flavor (pineapple) with our Tex-Mex dinner at The Original Mexican Restaurant.
Jarritos come in the following flavors:
* Fruit Punch (tutifruti)
* Grapefruit (toronja)
* Guava (guayaba)
* Roselle (jamaica)
* Lime (limón)
* Mandarin (mandarina)
* Pineapple (piña)
* Strawberry (fresa)
* Tamarind (tamarindo)
* Mango (mango)
* Watermelon (sandía)Related to:
- Luxury Travel
- Food and Dining
Guide to Tex-Mex - The Chimichanga
After consulting with a couple of people outside of Texas, there was a concern that some of the loyal VT readers were unaware of the terminology of Texas foods. I want to make sure and ease your concerns by providing a good guide to these foods.
The Chimichanga is a staple in the Tex-Mex food guide. A "Chimi" as it is affectionately known as is the same as a burrito, or tortilla filled with beef, chicken, beans, or some combination of those, and then deep fried. Typically it is then covered by a chili con carne (chili with meat) sauce and/or queso (shredded or melted cheese).
Some places include the standard Mexican flag of food compliments (Pico de Gallo, Sour Cream and Guacamole).Related to:
- Food and Dining
Guide to Tex-Mex - Migas
Breakfast Tex-Mex is one of my personal favorites, so I would like to introduce you to one of the famous egg dishes in the repertoire. Migas is a dish of egg, corn tortillas, cheese, and salsa mixed together and served with a warm tortilla, ranchero sauce, and pico de gallo.
The egg is normally a over easy or scrambled egg, and is delicious with some fried country potatoes or hash browns.
I would suggest this dish, or Huevos Rancheros if you are eating Tex-Mex for breakfast.
Migas comes from the Spanish word for crumbs, and was originally used as a meatless meal for people to eat during Lent.Related to:
- Food and Dining
"Show Your Shoe!"
During Fiesta parades like Battle of Flowers etcThere some floats that have princess. Yell out "Show Your Shoe!" at them and they'll show their shoe.Sometimes they'll have high heels, slippers, and in some cases they will be bare footedRelated to:
- Family Travel
San Antonio Information Ambassadors
San Antonio has done a wonderful job in making this town a friendly location for tourists. In particular, you will notice that there are several people dressed in light blue or purple outfits, wearing a sun hat that reads “information”. They will also be wearing a belt full of goodies that will help you including maps, a bottle of water, and a cell phone in case you are lost or need to know where the best restaurant to eat at is. These gentlemen and ladies are here to help, so make sure you utilize this great resource. They are normally wandering all around the Riverwalk area, but you are surely going to run into one or more near the Alamo where the San Antonio Visitor’s Center is located. All of their information is provided free of charge!
If you cannot get out to Carlsbad Caverns, then the Old Tunnel near Fredericksburg is a nice option. With over five millions bats in residence during August, the outpouring swarms at sunset are quite a sight. Times of the mass exodus and swarm duration are posted next to the upper observation area. Seats are to be found in both the upper and lower observation areas - a smaller scale of what is to be found at Carlsbad. The lower area is limited to the first 70 people who show up and there is a $5 charge - no charge for the upper area.Related to:
- National/State Park
San Antonio Mission Docents
When you are travelling around through the Missions in San Antonio, you will likely see someone in a blue or purple shirt with a purple brimmed hat. These volunteers are the San Antonio Mission Docents, who provide valuable information and assistance to travelers interested in learning more about the history of the missions. These guys seemed to be pretty busy every time I noticed one, as they were helping people get more out of their trip to these historic missions. At any one particular mission, there seemed to be 1-2 guys working to help out.
With so many military units in and around San Antonio, parades are a common sight. The vast Parade Ground at Fort Sam Houston - jog around the whole thing and you have done five miles! - is the perfect venue to hold and practice these maneuvers. It was on these grounds that my Army marching career took place - both hour-long sessions. The Medical Corps is a breed unto itself! ;-]Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Right Not to Bear Arms
As you can imagine, several of the active parishes in San Antonio are not interested in allowing guests to carry firearms on the premises. “Blessed are the Peacemakers” is a common phrase seen around the mission areas, so make sure that you disarm before entering the national parks and the missions. Of course if you are packing heat, it is also good to remember to hide your gun in your car after disarming yourself, to ensure that you will not get your firearm stolen while respecting the wishes of the Archdiocese.
Who are all those people dressed in blue?
The Air Force boot camp is located in San Antonio at Lackland AFB. Every Saturday the newly graduated Airmen are allowed to go off base with thier friends and family. However, they have to be dressed in thier blue uniforms. So every Saturday at all the touristy type places (River Walk, Alamo) you will see 500 or so new Airmen walking around in thier blue uniforms.
For any expat Aussies, Kiwi's or even Brits, go and check out the About Australia shop just opposite the Alamo. Its a large shop which also has some Texan souveniers as well, but you may just find some of the things you have been missing and can't get in the US. The American guy there is moving to Sydney to live so we had a lovely chat. I also stocked up on Berrocca, fantails and cool mints while there.
123 Alamo Plaza or visit their website for mailing those goodies http://www.aboutaustralia.com
Nationality of the Alamo
The largest proportion of defenders were foreign immigrants from the United Kingdom. From the 1800 Act of Union, the United Kingdom comprised: England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
Of the men that fought and died at the Alamo, 29 are known to be from the United Kingdom.
Fiesta, San Antonio - Party Time
Fiesta, San Antonio is a 10 day citywide festival held on the 3rd and 4th weekends in April. The festival celebrates Texas’ victory over Santa Ana at San Jacinto in 1836 which resulted in Texas independence from Mexico.
There are parades, concerts, art exhibitions, flower and fashion shows, street dancing and all the kind of lively celebrations that you could imagine.
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