Neal

Celebrate

I wanted to work out Sunday morning but the hotel was charging $10 to use the gym. Meh, no thanks. Not worth it—especially since we were heading to another hotel that had a free gym and pool. It really bothers me when hotels nickel and dime guests. Despite that, the hotel was beautiful and an enjoyable stay.

Michael and I had a quick breakfast with his Dad and stepmom in the hotel restaurant. My cousins Melina and Leah were able to join us! I was so glad I got to see them. They both live in Dallas. The last time Michael and I were in Texas, it was for Melina’s wedding. It was so good to see them.

After breakfast we checked out and rented a car. Destination: Austin. Wedding stuff was over and Michael and I were off to celebrate our 4th anniversary!

The drive from Dallas to Austin is brutal—long, boring, nothing to see. We arrived in Austin around 3:45p.m., checked into our hotel (The Doubletree—very nice, glad we stayed there) and then headed downtown to start our festivities!

We walked around Congress Street—the heart of the action—and it was HOTTER THAN EFFING HELL. Oh my god. Sweat was dripping down my back and face at an alarming rate. It was so uncomfortable. See the above photo? Most restaurants and bars in Austin had these fans and misters to keep people cool. It felt nice.

We finally found refuge in a shaded outdoor patio beer garden. The huge trees shaded the guests and we settled in with some Texas beer (essentially like drinking water) and relaxed.

There was a band playing and it was just such a fun, cool vibe. I had plans to meet up with a friend who moved to Austin a few years ago. Neal met us at the food carts on Congress Sunday evening.

Michael and I got an order from the Fry Baby food cart to-go. It was 2 pieces of fried chicken (which Michael ate) and 1 piece of fried cod (which I ate) and some delicious, salty fries.

The three of us took dinner over to Barton Springs park to eat in the shade. I was so glad that we spent the evening with Neal. He was a fantastic tour guide. He suggested that I return to Barton Springs to go swimming, and took us around town to show us around.

Eventually the three of us ended up at the water front to see the bats.  It was clearly a popular event. The place was packed. We ended up waiting over 2 hours to no avail. Perhaps the heat wave made them not want to fly, but we eventually gave up. We were all disappointed.

Despite the disappointment, it was a fun evening with a friend. We dropped him off and then Michael and I headed to 6th Avenue to see the “action.”

6th Avenue was the party. Even though it was Sunday night, the place was popping! It was a row of restaurants, pubs, clubs, drive bars and crowded with people. It had a very Las-Vegas –Strip-vibe. It was just one big party!

We walked around and just checked everything out and then ended up getting a drink at The Driskill hotel. It’s right downtown and totally worth a visit. We both want to stay there next time—granted, if we can afford it. Something tells me it’s pretty spendy.

The Driskill is where the Top Chef contestants stayed last season for Top Chef Texas. It was totally cool to hang out there! The bar was classy and beautiful, and The Driskill does Air Conditioning right! It was like entering a walk-in meat locker. Gorgeous.

We tried the Texas version of an IPA. Yes, I am aware I am a total beer snob. If I can’t get the good microbrews that I like (and can find everywhere in the NW), I usually just drink wine. But I thought I’d give it a try. It was ok but not great. Better than Shiner, for sure.

It was a very, very long day and a late night but I was glad we stayed out and “partied”. If by partied you are imaging we were back at the hotel and asleep by midnight. 😉

QUESTION: Have you ever been to Austin? What was your experience?