We just returned to our temporary home from a week in Austin, which everybody tells me is different from the rest of Texas (hence the title). I didn’t have many expectations before going, and consequently could not be disappointed (as had happened to me when visiting New York and Los Angeles). Also, the expectations I had were proven wrong, as it was very, very green and lush. Not at all what I had thought it would look like from watching cowboy movies:
PB was working with a friend of his and also giving a talk. We went a bit earlier than necessary and rented a car fro 2 days. The first day we spent mostly in the car in a wildlife refuge and at Buchanan Lake. The above slide show is from that day. We didn’t see much wildlife, though. Unfortunately what we saw most of was this:
Nonetheless, I enjoyed the day quite a lot, as it was very quiet once I stepped out of the car (something that I haven’t experienced since coming to the States). I didn’t realise how much I missed it before experiencing it again.
Next day we went to Marble Falls, which does not in fact have any waterfalls. Wikipedia tells me it’s because the Colorado River (not the same which caused the Grand Canyon) has been dammed up, thus swallowing the falls. What they do have, though, is a very nice recreational area on a side arm of the (now) lake.
On the way to Marble Falls we had spotted a very colourful shop. Since most of the shops in Marble Falls were closed, we headed back there to have a look. It was magnificent! If we ever moved to Austin, this is where I would get my outdoor decorations:
It almost rivaled the Uncommon Objects shop in Austin (of which I forgot to take pictures. D’oh!). That day was the most divers, as then we went on to Pace Bend Park, which on one side consists of cliffs, on the other of sandy beaches:
Again, it was quiet and peaceful. Should PB ever get a job at University of Austin, this would surely be our week end getaway.
The rest of the week, PB had to work, and I spent the days wandering around Austin downtown, which is small enough to be walkable (which I like). There are quite a few nice old houses still there. I also took a tour in the Capitol (which is taller than the one in Washington, they informed us). Here are some impressions:
Other than that I went fabric shopping at the Stitch Lab. I got something for me and something for PB’s mamma. The wife (and lovely daughter) of PB’s collaborator took me to a Premium Outlet, and I managed to spend my entire year’s worth of clothes shopping money in 2 hours. So now I’m a proud(ish) owner of a Burberry trench coat. I try to justify that purchase to anyone who asks (or doesn’t) with the fact that it cost about half as much as it would back in Switzerland. Still extravagant, though… (I might have to do something drastic to keep my conscious and Karma happy. Like not buying any fabric when visiting New York next week (ouch!)).
On the week end the collaborator family (sounds like some kind of spy or mafia movie) took us to San Antonio, which I really liked. We saw the Alamo (which is a lot smaller than I thought) and it’s gardens that are designed in the Spanish tradition and therefore beautifully lush and with loads of big trees.
Of course we also visited the Riverwalk, which is such a nice thing to have in a city! (Except people tell me in summer it’s full of mosquitoes).
Our hosts took us to Rio De Gelato on the Riverwalk. The gelati were really good, but what was amazing was the pizza. PB started talking with the owner, who was so happy to talk Italian that he offered us one. The crust was fluffy and airy and PB’s (who is rather picky when it comes to pizza) verdict was “Fantastic!” So if you’re ever in the neighbourhood, have a try.
As you might have guessed I rather liked my visit to not-like-rest-of-Texas. It’s mostly due to our lovely hosts, so a big thank you! You’re welcome to our home any time!