Austin, TX

Austin Sunset
This post is a bit overdue, but better late than never. Over Labor Day weekend my friend and I went down to Austin to visit my cousins who live there. I went to Austin last year to visit them and had an absolutely fabulous time and my friend had never been so it seemed like the perfect time to make the trip.

My cousins moved down for work and school a number of years ago after growing up in New York City. They have carved out a nice life for themselves down there and they work and play hard. The thing I was struck by most last year when I went was how truly relaxed it is down there. Coming from the northeast you always hear that about Texas and other places, but you never know how true it is until you visit a place. There is a real sense of time being different and everyones relationship to it is different. On this trip we were there a mere four days and it felt like we had been away for month, losing all track of our lives at home and fully immersing ourselves in the Austin culture. 

After my friend had mechanical problems on her plane, and mine was early, we were off and running. My cousin who drives what I can only describe as a tank of a jeep picked us up and as soon as that open air in the back of the jeep hit my head and made my hair whip around wildly, my nervous system calmed down from my stressful week. I had been  under the weather and just hoping that I would be well enough to do some of things we wanted to during our stay. Our big thing was of course getting some boots, with a flexible possibility of perhaps going to the Zilker Botanical Gardens or the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and doing pretty much whatever came up and presented itself to us. We were on a mini break and we were psyched.

Our first full day, we both got in late night, was one of these nothing seems to get done or go smooth days, basically a comedy of errors. My cousin had to work, he was in the middle of launching a new company with his friend, so he loaned us the "tank." I had driven it once before, but I only drive a manual every so often so it took a bit to remember how the tank likes to be driven. It was a grand ol' time, there's nothing like a vehicle without doors or windows, although I think my friend was slightly worried about my driving. But it's like riding a bike and before long we were whipping around. We were on the hunt for a car inspection place, a few stores to pick up odds and ends and eye glasses place. These all proved harder to come by than you would believe. The inspection place had a three hour wait, the glasses place was unhelpful and then the mall we tried to go to was a concrete graveyard of stores. It just became comical. We decided to regroup and go back out later.

Allen's boot shop was our first real stop. I had done some research on the website so I pretty much knew what I wanted. I have a fake pair of cowboy/cowgirl boots that I love, so I was just looking for a real pair to replicate them. The place is massive. I mean really really massive. I went last year and basically walked in and out quickly. There are so many options it's crazy. If you can think it they probably  have the boot. I tried on two or three pairs but pretty much stuck to the ones I had initially found. My friend tried on probably tried on between 6-10 pairs. She had a tough decision between two pairs. The girl who was helping us was very nice, but I felt like she was watching us like we might steal something. It was a little strange. I mean all the boots have sensors on them, I wonder if they have a stealing issue there? Anyhow we both bought a pair of boots and love them. I would highly recommend looking at the website before you go in if you know you really want to buy something, otherwise you might get talked into a buying a crazy pair of boots, haha. 

The rest of our trip was a success after our first day bobbling of it. We hit the Rainey Street block several times. It is a converted block, well blocks now, it keeps expanding, that used to be regular family houses, now they have been converted into bars and restaurants. It is a great little walking district and lots of fun. I particularly like GarageMahal, the Indian food truck on the block. It's delicious. If you are a food truck person I would recommend getting the app that tracks where they are in Austin. There are over 500 trucks in Austin. Some are stationary and some move around so the app is great. We had some wonderful cupcakes, tacos, Indian food and a smattering of other wonderful stuff. 

The bottom line is that Austin is a really fun, young place where people work and play hard and eat lots of interesting things. I would recommend it to anyone. It's pretty easy to get around by car or bicycle. The greater downtown area is very walkable and not that big compared to other cities. But beware of miscellaneous tri-athalons that close down all of the major roads downtown.

Even on the way back our trip was interesting. My friend again had mechanical problems and was grounded for a bit in Dallas. I also had a layover in Dallas and she was still delayed when I got there, so I saw her for about five minutes. She boarded and then got stuck on the runway for a long time. They then had to switch my plane out because it was too hot. At the time it was still 100+degrees in most of Texas. I had never heard of a plane being to hot to fly, but I don't hang out in the hotter areas of the country too much. The journey home was an experience in and of itself.