Tuesday, June 26, 2012

All about Austin

Since we stayed in Hill Country, which lacked the resources to blog regularly while on vacation, I thought I'd combine some of our experiences into one post all about Austin.  Austin is a straight-up college town, and since I grew up in a college town, I immediately recognized the characteristics... more things to entertain 20-year-olds than 5-year-olds, hippies, and lots of trees.  Okay, so maybe the trees thing isn't so much a college town characteristic, but I liked it!

Our first morning in Texas, we drove to Austin to meet a childhood friend of Brian's and her husband and 2-year-old (exactly 2 weeks younger than Sadie) for brunch.  We went to Stubbs's Gospel Brunch. We had many email conversations about the appropriateness of this venue.  Since it included live music, we were worried it would overstimulate Sadie.  But when Mindy called to make reservations, they said they'd put us upstairs where we could hear the music, but we wouldn't be so close to it.  This was good, because it also allowed us to have a conversation with each other comfortably.
They were really nice there and the food was overpriced good.  But the most impressive part was when I needed to take Sadie to the bathroom...which was downstairs near the main stage.  They provided us with an escort, who took us down the elevator, which was one of those after-market dealiebobs that is like a big box with no ceiling on a hydrolic lift.  When we walked through the main stage area, I realized that it was VERY loud down there and I am glad we weren't seated down there.  Once we were done, we were escorted back up to our table.

After brunch we tried to go to the special needs playground.  I say tried to, because it was hot.  Whenever I'd complain I was told, "but you live in Phoenix!!"  True, but I don't leave the house!!  Pretty much the only thing Sadie could participate in was the swings, but they weren't shaded, so they were too hot to sit on.  So, we tried the wheelchair swing, but that erupted into a meltdown and a tube feeding and a suck-nap in the air conditioned car.

Sadie "enjoying" the wheelchair swing.
 We came back to Austin later in the week (but it was still hot), and took a Duck Tour.  This vehicle is amphibious, and the tour was unique in that we got to drive right into Lake Austin and then float around!  We learned a lot about the famous people who live there, what restaurants to eat at, and which movies were filmed in Austin.

And then we got off and took a walk to visit the capitol.

They aren't kidding when they say everything is bigger in Texas.  Even the capitol building was made to be taller than our nation's capitol building in Washington DC!!  And they are very proud to be Texans.  I found it a little strange...but I live in a city where 80% of the population is from somewhere else.  People in Arizona don't brag about their ancestors living in the same state for many generations.  And, even though I've lived in Arizona for 6 years, I have never seen the capitol, even though I live in the same city!

When we arrived in Texas, I knew hardly anything about Texas.  I mean, I can find it on a map (that's saying a lot, right?), and I knew the Alamo was important (more about that when I write about San Antonio), but honestly, I didn't know why it was important.  I didn't even know Austin was the capitol!!  Kind of sad, I know.  But I learned a lot while in Texas.  I learned that Texas has been under 6 governments, these are referred to as the "6 flags of Texas" (I'm guessing this is where the theme park got its name, but nobody ever really confirmed that for me) and Texans are so proud of them they are on the front of the capitol as well as on the floor under the rotunda.  They are Spain, France, Mexico, The Confederacy, The Republic of Texas, and The United States.

Even though we were on vacation and out and about each day, we still tried to stick to Sadie's eating and medicine schedule as closely as we could.  Sometimes that meant feeding her in less than ideal situations and places.  This is what feeding Sadie looked like after a long day in the Austin heat (not to mention she was teething and in pain most of the day).

And this is what it looks like after a long day in the Austin heat and a full tummy.  Sadie was so cute just sitting there leaning on Daddy while he ate his dinner.  She was so tired!

Finally, our last day we spent just a little time in Austin...mostly because we had to check out at 10:00 in the morning, but our flights were after 4:00 in the afternoon!  We decided to try to go somewhere "uniquely Austin" for lunch.  We saw this place, The Hula Hut, from the lake portion of our Duck Tour, so we decided to go there.  It was busy, but we didn't have to wait long.  The food was good and the view was amazing (although we were sitting at a table without a view).  I would recommend it to anyone who is planning to visit Austin.

Overall we enjoyed Austin.  I think we might have enjoyed it more if we didn't have kids and could drink and bar hop all night to hear the live music on 6th street.  But, we still enjoyed learning about the city, seeing different sights, and touring the capitol!  But I think we might have enjoyed it more if it were 10-20 degrees cooler!!

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