Sunday, December 18, 2016

Austin: Day 2

On the morning of day 2, we walked the bridge across Lady Bird Lake to Travis Heights in search of breakfast. We were looking for tacos, but were hungry enough to eat whatever.


Sullivan wanted french fries. I was like, 'No, we don't eat french fries for breakfast,' and he was like, 'They do in Austin! In Austin they always eat french fries for breakfast!'

Just so you know.

The weather was gorgeous - foggy and drizzly, but warm and humid (my favourite). My hair freaked out. I took a picture, but then I deleted because I looked weird and old. Is 29 the age where you start to look weird and old in selfies? It's looking that way. Prepare for a sharp decline in selfies around here. 

Anyway, we found a little place, got some breakfast tacos, and ate outside on the deck so my hair could continue to freak out without bothering the other patrons. Here's a picture of Sullivan checking for french fries:

After breakfast, we wound our way around to South Congress, where we window-shopped and graffiti-pondered, as it was early Sunday morning and nothing was open. Made note of a few places we wanted to come back to later. Got coffee at Apanas and crossed the bridge back to "our side" of the lake. 

I like the way Austin's set up: In the picture above, you can see the downtown area. If you were to look behind the camera, behind me, you'd see South Congress, which is a really sweet little street full of interesting shops and restaurants. And if you were to take a right at the end of the bridge, which is what we did, you'd be on a little trail beside the river that winds right back to our hotel, and also to Rainey Street. 

(When we travel, we don't bring a stroller or a car seat or any of that stuff - who wants to lug that around? We don't check baggage [we do one backpack each] and we rely on public transportation. So it's cool when you find a city that has enough stuff within a short walking distance that you don't even really need to figure out the buses or metro or whatever. I get that this isn't a lot of peoples' cup of tea, but it's how we do it, and we really like it.)

On the trail beside the lake, we found an art installation called Hurlyburly - a giant sculpture made out of recycled lobster rope. We sat on it and climbed the little blue hills and Sully thought it was the best ever. 

The next day, as we were walking past it again, I overheard an old local guy remark, "I wonder how many tarantulas and snakes are in that mess." When we got back to the hotel that night, I Googled TARANTULAS AUSTIN, and fell down an absolutely grotesque internet rabbit hole, wherein I learned about tarantula hawks and 12-inch centipedes and read a story about a scorpion climbing up into a toilet bowl that haunted me for the rest of our stay. 

Dear me: don't use Google on vacation.

After nap time, we headed to Rainey Street once again, for Indian food at the G'Raj Mahal (I think you could eat anywhere on Rainey Street and feel like you made a good decision, but this was exceptional).

A couple doors down, there was a gourmet mini doughnut food truck, so of course, dessert.

And then we wandered downtown. Downtown Austin is great in the evening, because there's live music pouring out of every doorway and even tucked into back alleys. We stopped for a bit to listen to a guy who could've been (but decidedly wasn't) Dave Matthews singing Crash. What a dream city. I think it'd be fun to go back without Sullivan (no offence, Sullivan) to better take advantage of the nightly music, but this was magical in its own ways. 

Then we got on a school bus. A school bus! A big, old, clunky yellow school bus. I hadn't been on one of those in years, and it was exactly as glamorous as I remembered. 

It was a hot tip we'd picked up from the barista in Apanas - the bus was bound for the Trail of Lights, an Austin Christmas tradition, and he said we should go.

So we did.

As we were bumping along the trail into the depths of Zilker Park, though, I couldn't help but think about this book I'd read as a kid, based on a true story, about a whole school bus of people who were abducted and then buried. In the school bus. Like, the abductors buried the school bus. With the people in it. 

(The people escaped in the end, which was nice.)

I read that book at least five times. Maybe more. I think it was my grandma's. 

Good news! Our school bus just went to this lights thing and then took us right back home again after, with no underground detours.

A note or two about Barclay's face: 
1. Isn't it nice?
2. If it looks like he wasn't having a great time because he's not laughing and grinning in every photo, that's because I never warn him when I'm taking a picture and he often doesn't even notice it's happened. He's usually concentrating on something or eating or whatever. He did, however, have a great time. He even said that, yes, he'd consider moving to Austin if some imaginary situation ever presented itself in which we had to move somewhere tomorrow in the vacation exit interview. So.