TRAVEL THERE: SAN ANTONIO STROLLING
Little did I know when I tagged this trip as the San Antonio Stroll how apt the title would be. I was thinking of wandering along the river from Margarita to Margarita, not hoofing it from downtown to The Pearl. Well, that was before the VIA streetcars let me down.
Go Mobile Without Your Car
One of my favorite things about San Antonio is that you can forget about driving for a day or two, because they’ve got a great transit system. I don’t know what the locals think of it, but the VIA Streetcars are great for tourists. However there’s a pitfall. I’ve been using the VIA Streetcars for decades and that was the pitfall. I assumed I knew how things operated.
They have a route going around and around downtown – called the Red Circulator. It comes by every ten minutes or so. I have ridden that one to get an overall view of the area, but it used to cover more ground and there were several other trolley lines that hooked up with it. There’s still something called the Primo – but that’s a bus. I’m a tourist, so I want a trolley. There’s Blue Circulator which looked like it could get me to the other places I wanted to go, but I was a little fuzzy on the time thing.
I pored over the new trolley schedule online, but couldn’t find a schedule that said, “Here are the times the Blue Circulator comes by its stops.” Note to self: Next time stop by the VIA Info Center and ask them! It’s right on the Red Circulator route and it was steps away from my hotel. Instead I decided to play it by ear. Good thing I bought some comfortable walking shoes for the trip!
So, on day three of the San Antonio Stroll, we’d already strolled quite a bit. Day one, shopping at the Round Rock Outlet Mall and walking from the RiverCenter to the Tower of the Americas and back. Day Two, walking the McNay, the King William Walking Tour and the self-directed Riverwalk Margarita Tour. With day three being primarily museums and gardens, I thought a little foot relief would be just the thing.
Breakfast and The Briscoe
We grabbed breakfast at Whataburger and discovered there was an egg shortage. Not something I’d heard about anywhere else, but some poor fast-food clerk was having to apologize to everyone about it, so I didn’t think she needed my two cents worth also. Therefore we ate some chicken biscuit thing with honey-butter. Not just was the doctor ordered, but sustenance enough until the next meal. As long as I had my Diet Dr. Pepper, I was good.
First the eggs, then the museum entrance fee. Last time, I breezed in with my Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) Reciprocal Privileges. The DMA website said I still had them, but the Briscoe had changed its affiliation. To give the Briscoe its due, it did eventually comp my entry, but we had to pay for Deb’s ticket. Not that it was exorbitant, it was the principle of the thing. I’m not sure who to blame, but I’m not happy.
I enjoyed the museum the second time around, but what I liked best was that Deb discovered she likes Western Art. As I’ve said, Deb will pretty much go wherever I want to, but sometimes she’s just going along to be along and that was the case with the Briscoe. Inside she enjoyed the historical perspective of the third floor, but she was blown away by the art on the second floor. Western art has a new fan.
Via the VIA?
After a quick stroll through the gift shop, where we’d have bought several things if money were no object, we headed to the trolley stop. Well nothing was posted, because everything is on your phone – right? Unless you don’t have the latest phone and you can’t get to the right page and even if you could you couldn’t see it in the bright sunlight. (mumbling complaints under my breath). We stood there a few moments pretending a trolley was coming any minute, because I was convinced they came by every ten minutes. Then a passerby dissuaded us from this illusion.
So we tried our handy-dandy doorman, because the bus stop was in front of the hotel. He knew the trolley came by and where, but not when. We went to the concierge and she was having the trouble I had, sans the sunlight. There’s no webpage that says when the trolley comes by the Briscoe Museum stop. (Are you listening VIA?)
Or You Can Walk
We decided to hoof it. Both of us love to walk. The heat was not oppressive, so we set off. The walk was a little over a mile and a half, which took time, but not much effort.
We did connect with the trolley later in the day which allowed us to get much further than we would have gotten on our own four feet, but it wasn’t easy. With no available schedules, we had to find someone who knew the drill to get on the trolley at a stop near The Pearl. Then we’d quiz the bus driver when we got off about when the next trolley would be by. The cost was cheap – but the hassle was high. And speaking of hassle – a day ticket is $4, but you won’t get any change, so have some singles.
Yes, I could have avoided all this hassle (one hopes) by checking with the VIA Information Center, but we all know about hindsight – and I was reminded of the pitfalls of assuming you know what to expect in the future based on past performance. In other words, “Don’t never assume nothing!!”
That’s right, don’t assume anything, but come back next week and we’ll have street tacos at The Pearl.