Where's the yellow rose? San Antonio is beautiful!!My plane is once again the super small kind, so we disembark on the tarmac and the sunny 76 degree weather hits me immediately. Everyone is smiling despite our being cramped from the 3 hour flight and no leg room. And it’s January! It turns out that San Antonio’s aiport is the prettiest I’ve ever seen! It’s clean as a whistle, light and airy, and has inlaid Mexican style mosaics throughout the floor and walls that are so cheerful and pretty, I wish I wasn’t rushing past them to the baggage claim. Fiesta music is piped through the speaker system and they appear to have some folk art and southwestern jewelry stores in addition to the usual Brookstone and Sbarros. I get my checked luggage immediately (as I arrive in the baggage claim – no waiting) and pet the cutest golden retriever puppy (maybe 6 weeks old) who is attached to a long couple via a thin lead and who, they tell me, is going to meet his grandmother who is arriving from Maryland. D’oh.
I ask a bored looking Nationwide representative where the airport shuttle is (better signage would be helpful) and he directs me to go outside. Outside? Yes, it turns out a lot of things you don’t expect to be outdoors are, because of the balmy weather. An outdoor kiosk has a gibillion librarians in front of it, and three shuttles have already filled up with librarians now bound for their hotels. I begin chatting with the women around me at it turns out that the immediate two before and behind me are from Pennsylvania and are school librarians, so we have a lovely chat. The airport shuttle arrives and a friendly man helps us with our bags and takes off for downtown. In the brief drive (20 minutes and that’s with stopping at hotels), we talk to each other and listen to the driver’s friendly banter and fun information about the city. My favorite moment was when he was talking with a grave tone about the drought conditions in San Antonio and asked all of us to help as tourists by be careful with our water consumption – by drinking only margaritas while we are here! He got a lot of laughs with that one!
Downtown San Antonio is beautiful – it’s a juxtaposition of old historic buildings and high rise towers that actually reminds me of Boston, although the native architectural vernacular is obviously not saltboxes and brownstones! We see the Alamo, with its low stone wall, and soon we spot the Emily Morgan hotel with its stunning triangular structure and gothic details. I get dropped off with cheerful goodbyes from my shuttle buddies, and enter the lobby. It’s smaller than I expected and very, very elegant with marble floors, beautiful modern furniture and the old lighting fixtures and elevator doors from the original period. It makes for a stunning effect.
I get room 302 and find it easily at the end of the hall (right next to the stairs which I know will set Ethan’s fire safety oriented mind at ease) and open the door. My room is beautiful. All in shades of taupe and cream with dark wood and lovely modern art. Of course, I have my priorities and so I run into the bathroom and see it. My whirlpool tub. It’s huge. It’s stunning. I secondarily notice the granite countertops and my Aveda toiletries. Glancing out the windows, I can see that my view is lackluster (office building rooftops from the bathroom windows and the pool and streetscape from the bedroom windows) but the drapes are so pretty that I don’t think I’ll feel deprived without an Alamo view.
I walked around downtown to get my bearings and the convention center is actually very close by. They weren’t ready for people to register over there, but I appreciated being out and enjoying the weather. The Alamo is actually very peaceful – it has a garden area out back with a steam and koi in the water lazily swimming. I also can’t over that there are actually things blooming everywhere – and that San Antonians keep apologizing for how brown everything is from the drought. For goodness sake, I sat next to a bed of blooming fuschia petunias today and couldn’t get over it!
The day of travel totally caught up with me when I got back to the hotel so I ordered room service (only $2 extra) and had a delicious meal – two appetizers, a bowl of butternut squash bisque with marscapone cream and macaroni and cheese with wild mushrooms and a drizzle of truffle oil. Both utterly amazing. I think I actually whimpered with pleasure during the bisque. I followed it up with the chocolate volcano cake and it is now my life’s mission to figure out that receipe. I fell asleep at 7:15 pm San Antonio time and slept all the way through until 6:00 am the next morning. Go Emily Morgan bed!