Nov 14, 2012

Trip to Austin

Josh and I love being Dad and Mom but getting some time away to be husband/wife, just Josh and Jamie, is a great thing.  We were able to sneak away to Austin for five days. We are on our way home refreshed, rested, rejuvenated, and reconnected.  We had a great time together and were thankful that our dear friends Kim and Zach were able to join us for this awesome weekend!  Austin was the perfect location for a fun getaway! My parents graciously gave up their time to be with the boys.  While they are tired they had a great weekend getting to spoil their grand kids and the boys loved every minute of it and had a weekend to build great memories with Mimi and Ba. 
Upon arrival in Austin we wasted no time exploring the unique culture of Austin.  We walked down Rainey Street which used to be a rundown neighborhood of abandoned homes just outside the downtown area.  Recently, a women had a neat vision for this neighborhood and purchased one of the homes, did a little work and opened it up as a bar.  Now the entire street is filled with old homes converted into really neat bars and restaurants.  It feels like having a drink in your backyard, or in the living room.  Super cool!  That first stop a famous Austin restaurant called Bangers, known for its brats.  We ate at picnic tables that were all connected together, under lights in the trees, smell of good beer, enjoying the sound of great live music.  It set a great tone for the weekend.  We had a few drinks at a few other bars along the street before calling it a night after our long day of traveling.

Love this girl!
We next morning we started the day with a walk/jog along a trail running along Towne Lake right next to our hotel.  We also walked up to a very vintage style coffee shop for breakfast.  After getting cleaned up we explored downtown, the University of Texas, and the Capital all on foot.  We estimate we walked over 10 miles this day, but had a great time!  We made a stop at the student union building and the bookstore (called the Co-Op) to load up on UT gear/gifts.  There is something so fun, fresh, inviting about walking around a college campus.   

The capital building was beautiful.  It is hard to not feel history and daydream about all the people who have set foot where you are standing.   

After touring the capital we very unexpectedly decided to go to the UT b-ball game.  It was a fun impromptu stop.  Before the game we spoiled ourselves with some frozen yogurt at the coolest frozen yogurt place I have ever been to.  All walls were filled with candy bins, you could put whatever you could imagine on your frozen yogurt.   
Nice purse Zach :)

After the b-ball game we walked to 6th street (the most famous street in Austin).  We ate what I thought was our best meal on the trip at a place called the Iron Cactus.  We also enjoyed having some cactus juice (so good…but one was enough).  What happened on 6th street as the evening went on was crazy.  The whole street was filled with bars, all with live music.  We have never seen so many short skirts, dresses, shorts, nor such high heals, boots, shoes in once place in our lives.  Needless to say we were very out of place.

The football game was the next day.  WOW IT WAS AWESOME!!  So fun to be in a stadium that holds 100,000 people.  So cool to be in a sports environment where people have so much pride for their team and their state.  The word I keep using to describe the day is pure.  It felt like what sports should be; people getting together to cheer their team on, all for fun.  It was nice to watch a game without hearing people complain, whine about the refs, get mad at coaches, take things so personal, or be negative.  It was FUN!  UT beat Iowa State 33-7.   

Halftime tribute to our military!!  Pretty sweet!
 After a little rest we rented a car and drove out to a recommended restaurant called the Hula Hut on Lake Austin.  We felt a little like we traded Austin for Hawaii but enjoyed getting to eat outside.  We love getting to spend time with Zach and Kim.  We are thankful for friends who love the Lord, want to travel, desire to raise kids to be leaders and followers of Christ, are real in conversation, care about us, support us, encourage us, and make us want to be better people.  We love time with them and can’t think of a better couple to walk through life with.   
 After dinner we headed back down town to find a place to have a drink.  We discovered the west side of 6th street.  At this point we decided that Austin/6th street is bi-polar.  The East Side of 6th Street we saw the night before never woke up before noon, enjoyed shots, any loud music, decorated with band posters, and dressed like hipsters.  The West Side of 6th Street we now were on shopped at expensive boutiques stores, spent the morning at the spa, traveled first class, and drank martinis and we liked this side a little better.  We found our way into an old renovated luxury hotel.  It was beautiful and once again you could feel the history.  We were able to go on a carriage ride around the capital.  It was beautiful at night.  It was another full but fun day. 

Sunday we started the day worshipping at the Austin Stone church.  Church was held at Stephan F. Austin High School (home to about 2800 students).  It was a great start to the day.  We then enjoyed a late lunch on 2nd street (in the same neighborhood where we had explored the night before).  It was then time to enjoy an IMAX experience of the newly released 007 movie Skyfall.  It was awesome and well worth our time that evening.  We couldn’t resist the temptation to finish the evening returning to the best yogurt place ever.  
Tickets of all our fun events!!

Our final day we decided to go to the last two places in Austin that had been recommended to us.  The first stop was a 4-block strip full of vintage shops and restaurants called South Congress.  The biggest hit was a cowboy boot store called Allen’s Boots.  It was filled with rows and rows of the coolest cowboy boots ever—too bad they were all $400-$700 dollars.  We finished our trip in the Arboretum area.  This was the new area of Austin.  We were told that on average 700-1000 people a week were moving to Austin…CRAZY.  This area was filled with all the chain stores we are all familiar with.  Zach and Josh should be glad this was our last stop with little time for shopping.  
Allen Boots
We now are on the plane home ready to see our two adorable boys and sleep in our own bed.  But not too excited about facing laundry, grocery shopping, work after being gone, snow on the ground or cleaning the house.  However, the trip was what we needed.  My parents once said they are glad we live in the Northwest and can travel to other parts of the country.  At the time I wasn’t sure I felt that way, now I couldn’t agree more.