we had a bogo ticket to use with a month left to book and complete travel. we planned to use it for our new years trip to atlanta, but given that trip was scheduled to complete the day after the new year, it was out per the silly regulations of this deal. brian suggested disney world [he's got a penchant for the mouse... ok, not really, but we do like amusement parks], but tickets to orlando were too expensive. so after sitting on the couch trying to find flights to florida for hours, brian threw out austin. while we both hate texas as a whole, the book on the creative class always made me want to check out austin. it was perfect.
a day after we made the plans i remembered that i had a “friend” in the area. a long time “flickr-ite” i have gotten to know over the years through flickr and a few phone calls. while i have not been incredibly active on the net for the past few years and have only slowly re-emerged, i thought it would be great to meet will [and his girlfriend maggie... someone i had not corresponded with, but whom i read much about], so i sent him a note telling him that brian and i would be in the area. he agreed and we loosely set plans.
while i looked forward to meeting this long-time friend, i confess, i did have some trepidation. i have met other wonderful people from the interwebs over the years, though not for some time and not that many, but this was the first time i would do such a thing with brian. all of the other meetings happened well before brian came into my life and i have typically left off/glossed over [it generally just doesn't come up] how i know certain people. meeting people from the internet is not for everyone and does pose dangers, so i didn’t want to arouse any concerns. however, when i mentioned to brian that i knew will from flickr, he didn’t seem to be too concerned, so my worries were abated.
we didn’t have many concrete plans for austin. i didn’t really have any time to plan, there was too much happening at work and in life, so we boarded the plane and decided to fly by the seat of our pants.
luckily, we managed to make some last minute plans to meet will and maggie for breakfast at the bouldin creek cafe. it was wonderful. food and company both. the conversation flowed and it was as if we were old friends, meeting for our standard saturday breakfast. after we ate and chatted, will took us to south congress to show us a great hotel – hotel san jose - to stay in. it was quirky and artsy. a non-boutique, boutique hotel. [actually, it used to be a hotel for hookers, with "hourly" rates, but was re-done into a very nice, very austin place to stay]. it was located in a great spot for walking and exploring austin and was all-in-all perfect so we decided to stay there. after some exploring south congress, will [vermont ferret] took this sweet shot at joe’s coffee shop [next to hotel san jose] and we parted ways for the day.
we spent most of the trip relaxing, with no real plans, casually checking out austin.
we unsuccessfully tried to find the mustache ride [just think of the pictures and all the sexual innuendos we missed!]. we walked the markets [farmers and craft]. went to 6th street [oddly, it was dead]. drove by the capital. ate and ate. and did some shopping. get this, brian of all people ended up walking into the boot store and finding boots. think of that, him walking out with a desire* to purchase boots and NOT me. okay, i wanted to [i mean, look at these boots! patent leather!], but i was trying to be frugal.
in addition to that and whatever else we did, i went to the barn with maggie to meet her horses while brian watched the patriot’s game. i’ll post more on that experience later, but i will say it was an incredible gift from the universe to spend time with such beautiful souls [maggie and the horses].
all in all, austin lived up to its quirkiness. most cities have an area with quirky shops or people, but in austin, it really is the whole city. it is woven through the fabric of austin, in every part. take these purses for example.
weird, right? [confession, i wanted one of these too but conceded that the novelty would probably would wear off pretty quickly].
the thing i found most interesting about austin: food trailers. not trucks, trailers. parked in lots and serving food like a culinary trailer park. to me this seemed like a uniquely texas thing, whether it is actually or not. texas is all about state’s rights and protecting freedoms and nothing seems to typify this more for me [in austin anyway] than the food trailer. it’s just so independent. i wanted so badly to try food at one [as if it would somehow be different and magical], but didn’t get to. next time, austin, next time.
while we managed to have breakfast with will and maggie everyday, which was awesome, we capped off the trip with a delicious breakfast at the counter cafe. sharing one last round of breakfast goodies and excellent conversation.
we said our goodbyes and headed to the airport. it was sad to leave because we so enjoyed them both. wish we lived closer, but definitely plan to return.
[*brian would have bought them but they didn't have his size. i have since purchased the boots for him.]