This past week my mom and I kind of took a random trip to Austin, Texas. About once a week I get really sad that I don't live in Portland anymore and that instead I live in hot, humid, mountain-less, waterfall-less Houston. Just being honest. So, to bolster my mood, my parents keep suggesting I think about eventually moving to Austin. If you know anything about Austin and Portland, you know they have a lot of similarities - in culture, natural beauty, etc. And I have been thinking - could this solve all my problems? My desire to be in Portland and my desire to be close to my family? Could Portland + Texas = Austin? A mere 3 hours away from my parents? (Instead of FOUR DAYS WORTH OF DRIVING?!)
Although I've been to Austin many times in my life and even lived in San Marcos for a brief stint, I decided that this time I would really explore Austin with living there in mind. And in light of my recent experience and love for Portland.
We drove to Austin on Tuesday morning - which is an easy, short drive! We drove around a lot. First around the UT campus and the capitol, then down Guadalupe and our first stop was Amy's Ice Cream. Of course! Then we went to a park under a bridge, near the water, close to downtown and watched the dogs play in the water. So fun. If you love dogs like I do. After we had been out there forever we went and checked into our motel room and freshened up and looked stuff up on the Internet. In the hot Texas summer, especially if you spend ANY amount of time outside, I want to take at least 2 showers per day. I don't like feeling gross. That night we ate dinner at Threadgill's - we both got vegetable plates and fried pickles for an appetizer. I love fried pickles and could have just eaten those for my meal...but I thought that would be a little weird. We also walked around the capitol a bit. When we got back to the motel, I swam in the pool = fun!
The next morning we had pancakes at Kerbey Lane. I love those pancakes. My mom got gingerbread and I got the seasonal cherry and then we split. So yummy. For the rest of the day we did lots of stuff. We drove around a lot, went to Zilker Park, back to the dogs-in-the-water park, Mount Bonnell, ate lunch at Hula Hut, got more Amy's Ice Cream (haha), hung out at a coffee shop, shopped on South Congress (SoCo) where I got a stone owl made by kids in Haiti and Henry got a wool toy made by orphans in Nepal (from Ten Thousand Villages). That night (after going back to the room to freshen up) we went to Vivo and had margaritas and chips & queso because we were still kind of full from Hula Hut. Then we used my GPS to discover a coffee shop that was open late. After a few duds we found Bouldin Creek, which was open till midnight and so Portland-ish, with cute outdoor seating, lots of vegetarian/vegan stuff, and a friendly baby grasshopper that kept jumping on me. I was not ok with that. We had lattes and shared a non-vegan cookie.
Thursday morning we got my oil changed, went to the Kolache Shoppe (or Creations, whatever) and got some of the best cinnamon bread ever. I once dated a guy who was from Austin and one time he gave me some of this cinnamon bread, and now every time I go to Austin I want some. We also got coffee from The Coffee Bean. I find it exciting that Austin has Coffee Bean. The first time I ever went there was in Los Angeles and I thought it was only on the West Coast. Then we headed back to Houston. The whole drive was really rainy and at one point, in Houston, I could barely see and had to slow to a crawl. But seeing Austin rainy did remind me more of Portland!
Overall, it was a very fun get away. As for how much I thought it was like Portland...it is a lot like Portland! Good live music, pretty scenery, laid-back, eclectic culture. But there's also a Southwestern feel in Austin, which is very different from Portland. But I like it. One of the things I actually really like about Houston (which is similar to Portland) is how green it is. I think most people don't realize how green Houston is - we really have a lot of trees and plants and it kind of rains a lot here so everything is very lush and full (and swampy). I like Houston. Will I ever move to Austin? Who knows. Maybe. It's definitely a possibility in my future. I think if I did, at the soonest, it would be in the beginning of next year (2011).
Anyway, fun times....or awesome times :) I didn't really take any pictures, except for this one from Bouldin Creek, this was in the bathroom and I thought it was really funny: