I don't know why, but I've wanted to go to Austin, Texas for a while. I think it probably had something to do with going to art school and the fact that there are a lot of good examples of really interesting art that happen to be in Austin. Other than that I'm not really sure why. It's good to have people in your life who will travel with you when you have crazy ideas to road trip.
If I were to describe Austin in one word it would probably be quirky. It's a city that prides itself on its weirdness, in fact the city's motto is "Keep Austin Weird". So walking through you see all sorts of oddities that the people have embraced. Graffiti is often a nuisance, but in Austin such creativity and expression is almost encouraged (within reason I would guess.) The city is just oozing with strange interesting things. It's what I would imagine Portland, Oregon to be like (another place I want to go but have yet to visit.)
We stayed in a hotel downtown. It seemed like the best accommodations, because we were only going to be there one night and we definitely wanted to optimize our time in the city. Another good choice we made was using the hotel Valet, it was really nice not to have to worry about the car while we were out and about. Not to mention they took such great care of us. Once we were settled in at the hotel we were on a mission to find some lunch and then the HOPE Outdoor Gallery.
I did a little after the fact research. This park was launched in 2011 as a community/educational project meant to inspire art in the community (you can find out more here) Sometimes I go places and I can just feel excitement in the air. This was one of those places. Everyone in the area was crawling around the premises in pure wonder. It didn't seem like anyone there was cranky at all, which was weird...because it was a million and a half degrees outside. Everyone was engaged whether they were climbing the walls, watching other painters, scoping out the gems in the work, or even just stopping to take in the incredible view. I guess thats when you know a project is successful. Like I said though...it was real hot. We were all drenched in sweat.
We walked back to our hotel, which proved to be quite the trek. When we arrived it was definitely time to take advantage of the pool, which we though was on top of the hotel. As it would turn out it was on the roof of the parking garage of the hotel...which was only a mildly disappointing realization. We enjoyed our pool time though until the sun had disappeared enough to make the temperature drop a little. Our plan was to get ready, go to the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge to watch the bats fly out at sunset and then go to dinner on the lake.
We got there early enough to get a nice spot on the bridge to stand. Which was definitely a good thing, because watching the bats fly out from under the bridge turned out to be quite the event. By the time to sun was setting the bridge was packed and everyone was buzzing with anticipation. As soon as the bats started moving there was a collective sense of wonder, which was a cool thing to be a part of for a few minutes. We didn't stay very long, because it was getting late and we were approaching dinner time rather quickly. It was a crazy amazing thing to experience though.
For dinner we went to Abel's on the lake where we had a lovely dinner, making sure we stopped by Mozart's Coffee next door. The next morning priority one was to get some crepes from the crepe place just below our hotel. Even as I write this...I would pay good money to have another plate of crepes setting in front of me right now. They were delicious, even though the crepe place took forever and the service was kind of terrible. The crepes were amazing, so it was kind of worth it?
After our crepe adventure it was a marathon of seeing a few more sights before we made our way home. Austin is such a lovely place. I'm definitely in love with going new places right now, and I can't wait to see what the next adventures on the horizons. Stay tuned!