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I Slept in the Room Meant for the Pope

Oct, 15 || 4 Comments | Tags: ,
San Antonio Riverwalk

How We Crashed the Party In San Antonio and Spent Thanksgiving Weekend On the Riverwalk

There I was, sitting nervously in the truck while Tom went inside the Hilton to see if they had any rooms. We had arrived on Thanksgiving Day in San Antonio without hotel reservations for the holiday weekend. “Don’t worry,” He told me, “everybody will be visiting relatives. Nobody goes sightseeing for Thanksgiving.”

Well, there was good news and bad news. The good news was that Thanksgiving weekend in San Antonio is the time when they light the Christmas lights on the river. Imagine millions of lights glittering in the trees over the river and you’ll get a clue what it’s like. But just a clue. The Ford Holiday River Parade and Lighting of the River includes not only lighting the myriad of twinkling lights in the trees overhead, but a Mardi-Gras-like floating parade on the river.

You got it. Imagine that instead of floats parading down the street full of glittering green, purple and gold costumed royalty it’s floats parading down the river loaded with full-skirted dancers and Mariachi singers belting hauntingly beautiful Mexican ballads backed by the guitars, violins and brassy trumpets.

The bad news was that yes, people did travel on Thanksgiving weekend. And most of them were in San Antonio. There was not a room to be found and we were getting desperate. So I sat patiently in the truck while Tom went inside. He came out ten minutes later waving a plastic room key card in his hand. “Come on.” He said. “We got the Pope’s room.”

“What?” I asked. I was confused, and a little mortified.

“Just get our bags and get in there before they change their minds.” He told me.

After we were settled in our room I was finally able to get my husband to reveal how he had managed to get us a room. “I just asked them if they’d have a room for the Pope if he wanted to stay here. Then when they agreed they did, I just told them the Pope wasn’t coming so I’d take that room.”

We witnessed the lighting of over 1.76 million lights in the trees and on the bridges above the river at 7 p.m. on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving. I guarantee you won’t find a more dazzling display of holiday lights anywhere in Texas. You can purchase tickets for the parade, ranging in price from $10 – $25 per person, or secure seating along the Riverwalk at one of the restaurants next to the water. The festival draws a crowd of over 150,000 each year.

The lighting also signifies the beginning of the annual Paseo Del Rio Holiday Festivities, which includes Holiday Boat Caroling, Christmas Caroling with Santa and the Fiesta de las Luminarias. If you decide to go, don’t do as we did. You know the old saying, “Do as I say to do.” Visit The Official San Antonio Riverwalk site and get your tickets. And be sure to book a room. You never know, the Pope might just decide to visit this year.

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  1. Michele says:

    Wow lol way to go Tom! I’m sure it was a visit neither of you will ever forget!

  2. Mark Alba says:

    LOL that is the funniest thing I’ve read in awhile. A good example of quick thinking by your husband though. I’m going to use that line the next time I’m at a hotel and they say that it’s booked.

    • says:

      Good job, Mark. Let me know how it goes. Remember though, you have to keep a straight face when you say it. At least up until they give in and let you have the room. Tom said the guy loved his line and that’s why he gave him the room.

  3. Mike says:

    Good job for your husband. It was a smart move he did. I wouldn’t actually have thought about it. But thinking now, I think hotels do actually reserve a room for VIP guests or in this scenario, for a Pope. Well, I hope you had a good time and enjoyed the celebration.

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