Austin

The thing about Sam is that she does not like visiting people. She is the quintessential host with queen bee like traits. Boils down to you visiting her. Which I actually like. It has become akin to going home once a year. There is always a fridge full of food and a home full of love. Anyway, this isn’t one about one of my visits to Singapore. She came to Dallas in December 2015 for work, and since Dallas doesn’t swing my boat (or anyone else’s for that matter!), we decided to do a road trip to Austin for the weekend. Duly pulled in Adnan too.

My memories of the trip are a bit hazy, and I didn’t carry my camera (my usual reference for a trip) or notebook. Maybe this requires another trip to pen down the trivial details. And that city is worth another trip for sure. I had a shit load of work that weekend and I do remember taking calls in the middle of the Graffiti Park! A very fun weekend nonetheless.

Dallas to Austin is a 3 hour drive through the I-35. Don’t remember the landscape being spectacular. Maybe also because I sleep like a baby when I am not driving. But I am pretty sure Texas does not host amazing landscapes. Made a pit stop at the Czech Stop for coffee and kolaches.

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Like I said, my memories of this trip are extremely pleasant but fairly unclear. What I do remember is that the city has a very musical and artsy vibe. Walking around is heart-warming and having a good time is easy. Few recommendations from the city –

  • Hopdoddy Burger – These burgers are life changing. Burgers and truffle fries here are incredible. Highly highly recommend. The queue is usually really long, but absolutely worth the wait!

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  • Wall art all over the city – Eclectic and fun. The city is full of wall art. Definitely go to the Hope Outdoor Gallery. There is a 313 number painted on one of the walls there, thanks to Sam and Adnan. A reminder of the Patna house which has been home to a lot of growing up madness.
  •  Dirty Sixth – We had gone here on a Saturday night. They usually close the road to traffic, and you can conveniently walk around (bar hop is more like it). Essentially, this is Austin party central. Music on the street and a big crowd of very happy people walking around. A lot of school (aka college) kids, but my patience with such crowd is decent enough post a couple of rounds of beer. High energy levels and a very fun place. We spent the evening at Pete’s Dueling Piano bar. A concept fairly common in the US, where two musicians on pianos face off with crowd favorites and song requests. Most of the songs are of the singalong variety.

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    Pete’s Dueling Piano bar
  • Local art – Just walk around the city a bit. You will see a lot of local artists selling their wares. I LOVE the ones I picked. 🙂 Also, try going to the Austin Art Garage. We didn’t make it, but another good source of art.
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I bought the elephant! 🙂

Somewhere on the way, we did stop at a small German-ish town called Fredericksburg. Don’t think it was too impressive. Don’t think American towns can imitate European ones too well. Even Solvang falls really short. The beer was good and this one hot sauce shop was quite memorable. It almost blew the lid off my brains!

More when I visit the city next time. Closing the post with the hope that Sam’s work gets her to travel to this side more often!

Edits based on Sam’s reminder –

  • I missed my flight. Due to overconfidence and one too many airports in the city! Downside was the harrowing running between the airports. Upside was that the I was bumped to the next flight without any cost. 🙂
  • We did a small hike to get to the top of the Enchanted Rock. Ordinary hike and pleasant  views. Don’t go out of your way to do this hike. Yes, I forced Sam to climb this rock and she was not too pleased.
  • The Texas state capitol building is impressive and beautiful. I skipped because I was working. Earmarked for next time.
  • Sam played amazing car games. Not.

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