Thursday, November 27, 2014

Austin the Trip, Part 2

Thank you all for your amazing and kind words of support and excitement yesterday; it has all meant so much! We are so excited! Now to pick up from where I left off the other day, the final section of our Austin trip!

Sunday we were up and off to Hamilton Pool.This is a sight I have wanted to see for ages now - it's less than a 10 minute "trek" down to the "pool" and it's definitely worth the parking fee ($15) and the walk. It's geographically really interesting, and just plain beautiful. 

Paul getting his hair wet

After the pool we did a 25 minute "hike" (I call it a hike, Paul and Nancy call it a walk) to the riverway, which was also pretty beautiful to see. In the future I'd do the riverway walk first, then head over to the pool to cool down. I was very hot by the end!

We then headed out in the country for a long leisurely sunday drive bfore hitting up a most scenic brewery in the middle of nowhere, Jester Kings. Picture a couple of barn like structures and a bunch of picnic tables strewn around, with trees and white bubles hanging picturestly between buildings and trees. So lovely. The sun was shining bright - the gang got their beers (I had peach tea) and pizza (50 minute wait time, totally worth it) and side salads (noteworthy as it was one of the best caprese salads I have had in recent memory). We sat in the warm and pleasant texas sun chatting and drinking (so refreshing after a hike) while we waited for the pizza. It was a perfect shining moment. Plus the washroom was in an Airstream! So I can now say I've peed in an airstream trailer....more than once. Jealous, right?

We headed home to rest and then enjoyed movies & Nachos ala Nancy, finishing with Ben & Jerry's Phish Food and Blue Bell's Chocolate Chip Mint Ice Cream. It was a wonderful end to a relaxing and fun day.

Monday was to be a hike morning for Paul and Nancy while I slept in but alas it was not to be - at 5:45am the building's alarm started to go (never have I heard such a loud alarm) and didn't stop for almost an hour. We headed off to find caffeine, conversation and Taco Deli. Not a bad way to spend an early morning. Then it was time for Maternity clothes shopping! I'd waited to go until I was with Nancy, and it was so fun to do together. She's got a great eye and is really honest and helpful. We enjoyed some chick-fil-A after getting me a bunch of Maternity clothes and then headed down to the Capital Building for a tour. The tour was really interesting and we learned a lot. I was quite sore walking around and wished I'd worn shorts for the hot day, but definitely worth something doing again.

Then we headed to the "Mean Eyed Cat Bar" for drinks (non-alcoholic beer for me) and a rest. So thankful for a moment to put my feet up!

Then we finally headed back home to rest before a final dinner. Rudy's BBQ was in order. You can't go to Texas and not have BBQ. I think it's a rule. Rudy's BBQ is a great place to hit up - casual but so good. The creamed corn is out of this world and I have a natural aversion to the concept, but man, so good. We shared brisket, smoked turkey, sausage & pork ribs - coleslaw, creamed corn & beans, all served with a whack of wonderbread as is appropriate for southern BBQ. Also this made for perfect leftovers for our travel day the following day to make a lunch for Paul.

On our return trio (I'm currently writing this with 45 minutes left of our last flight) we've had smooth sailing. We tried to learn from our outbound trip - we didn't have much extra time when we first arrived to Sea-Tac and felt a bit rushed (we were at our gate just as boarding began) so wanted to avoid that on our return but security ended up being super fast and we had an hour before boarding began that next time (which wasn't a bad thing, we like relaxing at the airport). We flew at 7am Austin to Houston - we were landed by 8:10am and basically managed to doze most of the flight, except for the brief time when we were chatting with our seat neighbour and her super super cute little baby, Piper. Man was she adorable. Great to talk to a new mom, especially one who also had a longer time to get pregnant, though her experience was much more extreme - IVF and she describes this as her miracle baby. Piper made both Paul and I smile, huge.

We landed in Houston and thankfully only had to go one gate over as we had about 10 minutes from arrival to departure to use the washroom and stretch our legs. Thankfully there was no running all over for us! This flight has been smooth - Paul has finished a movie and is on his next one, and I finished a book and am now taking the opportunity to write out our trip. We're currently flying over some mountains and I'm enjoying complimentary tea and favorite playlists on my iPhone.

After we left the airport we picked up Paul's sister in Renton, then headed into downtown Seattle to swing by REI and pick up a pair of cycling pants that Paul had put on hold from Austin. Then lunch, and the 4+ hour drive towards the border. We stopped along the way for Costco, Trader Joes & WinCo to get groceries. The traffic through Seattle was horrendous delaying us by hours, and the border waits were a nightmare. We'd hoped to be home by 7pm but didn't make it until 12pm! 22 hours of being aware was certainly stretching! 

The trip to Austin was overall really great - Austin itself is a cool place to visit. Both times we've gone we've had a great experience and enjoyed seeing all the town had to offer - even at different times of year. Our August trip [written about here, here, here & here] and November trips were different but also still very Austin. 

On top of it being a cool place to visit, the trip to see Nancy & Cris was really a highlight. We enjoyed our time with them a lot - lots of great conversation and time to connect. They know how to be generous with time and space, and make their guests feel right at home. It was such a positive time.
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