Wednesday, August 31, 2011

TEXAS [Part 2] - The Alamo

I really can't blame him for making this I-hate-your-guts for making me wake up face because I do the same thing... Actually I'm worse.





Clearly, my early morning excitement for seeing all that the city had to offer wasn't shared by my travel partner.

Too much to see, too much to do. We can sleep at home - is my motto.


It took a little convincing, and I might have promised him some ice cream. But he eventually got up.

[First stop, The Alamo!]
On our way there we passed

The Majestic Theater

"Legendary performers such as Bob Hope, Jack Benny, Mickey Rooney and George Burns. Contemporary comedians and performers such as Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, B.B. King and Tony Bennett have all performed at the Majestic Theater. "

and

The Children's Museum

(It gave me a panic attack just looking at all of the chaos happening inside that building.)


And one of the most popular attractions, Ripley's believe it or not.

(Apparently, you can Text omg to 77007, for a 2 for 1 - offer on Ripley’s Believe It or Not and the Wax Works. I didn't try it myself though.)


There was a neat haunted ride next to Ripley's, it looked really fun (and most of all air conditioned) but it was $18 a person. And to me that's just crazy talk.


How about I keep my 40 bucks, and I'll just imagine what it would feel like to be be scared... and broke.
  Thank you.


According to a tour we took later on in our trip, this is the most visited tourist attraction in all of Texas.






I was pretty excited to check this place out. I had even done my home work on it.

Well, kinda... I watched a special about it on the travel channel.

I had seen the movie, you know the one with Billy Bob Thornton (on spring break, at a Florida drive in, my senior year of high school to be exact.)

-Before you read that and think bad thoughts, I was a good kid, so calm down.-


All I remember was thinking is; this is soooo boring, and I didn't understand any of it.

So to learn it's history, was probably the good, adult like, thing to do.
Without giving away the ending - It is an awesome story. About some really brave men.

First of all, it was FREE. So that part was my favorite.

As you walk in the front doors, you are greeted by people saying "Please, no pictures". boo.
I guess I understand them wanting to have people see it for themselves though.

It was a large, rectangle room, with a very high ceiling. There were other little rooms connected on each side.

Each one, showed different engraved messages. Such as dates, or pictures on the walls.

There was one room in-particular that really gave me chills. It was where all of the women and children gathered together to try and stay safe. Looking inside made me feel weighed down with worry, and I felt a sense of helplessness. It was pretty intense.

Other than that, it was just kind of interesting, not great. I didn't feel like they told the story very well. I think someone who was just walking through, without any knowledge of what had happened there, could have left with no new information.

They should have had a video playing (obviously, not the Billy Bob one...) or some kind of re-enactment. I don't know, a better presentation would really make it great. (Who am I kidding? I was hot, and cranky.)  

It was just so unbelievably hot outside, and my little guy only wanted to be picked up. But really, I can't complain too much, I mean it was free and all.


Outside of the main building, they had a garden area (that did give facts about The Alamo), and they also had a gift shop. I'm still thinking about these adorable children's canteens they had inside the store.

While we were inside the gift shop, my mother in law called and said they were at a restaurant on the Riverwalk.

So we started walking in that direction...

Not exactly realizing, how far it actually was from us.

I believe we almost died of heat stroke trying to find them.

Did I mention it was hot outside? Very very hot & very humid.
(This isn't the last time I will say this, cause it was bad and I'm a wimp.

After drinking a few giant cups full of ice cold water, we were okay. Hydrate people. Hydrate.

This is the ridiculousness that was waiting for us by the way. [Auntie M rockin the signage.]

We picked up our bags from the Sheraton hotel, (they were nice enough to hold them for us after we checked out). And we headed toward Lackland Air Force Base. Woooo Whoooo!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

TEXAS [Part 1] - Room #819


(Our in our case - fly.)




Bright and early, Tuesday morning, we took off in search of the missing piece of our family.


With knots in my stomach, and a secret need to show everyone I came in contact with, my new button -with my husbands picture on it; after waiting more than 8 and a half weeks, we were finally on our way.

This was my first real trip with just me and my son. I was really nervous about handling it all myself. And just praying I was strong enough to deal with any situation that may come up.




Being a 'geographically' single parent is a tough job.


We had (2) layovers.

We went from Detroit ->  Nashville -> Houston -> San Antonio. 

Phew.I'm tired just thinking about it. Nobody wants to be at the airport this long.
Nobody. Especially people with small children.

We were both pretty exhausted. At least one of us got a good nap in.

When he woke up, he started playing with a surprise I got him for this trip, an orange train.
I'm pretty sure he thought he owned the place.

When we arrived at the San Antonio Airport (SAT).

We gathered our bags, and headed towards all of the different booths with rental cars and shuttle services.

We ended up using San Antonio Airport Express.
210.281.9900
They were very nice, and the driver also helped us with our bags.

~~~

From the Airport to San Antonio, (near the riverwalk)-our bill was $19.00 total (plus a tip)
- for both myself and my 3 year old. Not bad.



For our hotel, we used Hotwire.com. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I Love Them!
We said we wanted a 4 star hotel, near the Riverwalk, for $84.00 and we got the Sheraton Gunter Hotel.
Not only does it save you money, but it's also fun to see where they put you.
Each time we've used hotwire, we've ended up staying at great hotels like the Hyatt, Hilton and Sheraton.
No complaining here.












The hotel was beautiful. Built in 1909, full of historic charm. It was right in the middle of everything.
With a Starbuck's right across the street. (Yes, that's important information.)

~~~~

A couple different hotels in this area have been known to be "haunted".  Which normally I would find pretty cool. -> but not so much with a three year old with me. Like I said, I already had enough to worry about.
Because I had no idea what hotel we would be staying at there was no way to really research ours.


 But after we returned home, I found this article (shown below):


"In 1965, an unidentified woman was murdered at the historic hotel and her restless spirit is said haunt the premises.

It all started on February 2, 1965, when a blonde man in his late 20’s checked into room 636. Though he checked in alone, under the alias Albert Knox, he was soon seen over the next several days accompanied by a tall blonde sophisticated looking woman.

All was seemingly fine until afternoon maid prepared to check the room on February 8th. Believing the "Do Not Disturb" sign on the door was an oversight, she turned the lock with her passkey. However, the maid was shocked as she entered the room to find "Mr. Knox” standing beside a blood-soaked bed. Letting out a scream, the man put his index finger to his lips as if indicating that she should be quiet. He then gathered up a blood soaked bundle and ran right past her and out the door.

Precious time was lost as the frightened maid to another maid, who told a bellhop, who finally told the manager. It was some forty minutes later before the police were finally called. Arriving within ten minutes, the two detectives encountered a grisly scene when they entered the room. The entire room was covered in blood, from the carpet, to the bathroom floor, to the walls, and the bed, the room was pilled with the sticky remains of the woman’s lifeblood. Small pieces of flesh her also found in the bathroom, and the police theorized that the woman’s body had been butchered there, with some parts disposed of down the toilet.

Within days, the police tracked down a suspect checked in at the St. Anthony hotel a few blocks away. As they knocked on his door, they heard a shot from inside the room. The suspect, later identified as a man named Walter Emerick, had taken his own life.

Though a thorough search was made by police, the woman’s body was never found. Police theorized that Emerick may have disposed of the body in still-wet cement at one of the many construction projects that were taking place in San Antonio's downtown area at the time.

Since this terrible incident, staff and guests have reported strange occurrences in the vicinity of room 636. The seemingly restless spirit has often appeared with her arms outstretched. Strange sounds of hammering have also been reported coming from an unoccupied Room 636. Others have reported the image of a blonde woman inexplicably appearing in photographs. Housekeeping staff have reported that new employees often quit after the first time they are assigned to clean the room. Where there is one spirit, others sometimes also linger. Other reports indicate that an elderly woman has also been to known to lurk about the hotel.

Several years ago the Gunter Hotel underwent an 8 million dollar renovation when it became part of the Sheraton Hotel Group. Today, the historic hotel provides 322 guest rooms and suites, furnished in the style of the Texas cattlemen's club rooms of old. Fully updated, the hotel also offers all the amenities of a full-scale modern hotel, including the famous Sheraton Gunter Bakery, a restaurant, lounge, meeting facilities and more."

Now luckily, we didn't unknowingly stay in the room 636. That would have freaked me out!

Looking back, I didn't really get any bad vibes there. Just a feeling that it wasn't new. But it wasn't until I saw one of the pictures I took, that made me question the story above.

I'm going to show you both the edited picture, and the non edited version.

{Edited}
{Original - No editing}
As you can see, in the above picture, my son is on my right side.

So... what the heck is that white thing on my left side?!

Anywho... we stayed in good old (not haunted) room 819.

It was cute. Lot's of character.

And let's be real, besides it being clean in general, I pretty much only care about what the bed feels like...

and this one was good. Especially the pillows. After hauling luggage around all day I was exhausted and sore. That bed was exactly where I wanted to be.

We were on the 8th floor, but we didn't have the best view. It wasn't terrible though.

I loved how they left the old doors.

One of my favorite things are old door knobs. Especially the skeleton key ones.

The bathroom was a little small. I guess I expected more from a Sheraton- but at least it had a bath tub.
(The other places we stayed just had showers. Which doesn't really work if you have kids.)

Just Joking! lol


After talking to the hotel about near by food options, and looking through the room service menu about 100 times. I decided I was just way too tired to try and go sit down somewhere. So we called up the restaurant located inside the hotel, and got our food delivered right to our room.


Caesar Salad & French Fries. Vegetarian, yes. Healthy, I don't wanna think about it.

It was such a treat!

After we ate, we pulled those beautiful covers up to our chins,
and watched cartoons until we were ready to sleep. A perfect way to end our day.

Next is our trip to The Alamo, and checking out the San Antonio - Riverwalk.


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