I've been wanting to visit Texas for years and years, especially Austin, which draws me in because it's a small-big city full of weirdoes, hippies, and good food.
Before I share a mountain of photos, I just want to give a little shout out to getaways. My parents have gone on annual vacations sans kids for as long as I can remember. They've done big trips, but mostly small ones--where they drive around and hike a bunch. A trip for me and Brad was long overdue--we put it off over and over. Spending money on something like this is exceptionally difficult for Brad, so it took a bit of convincing. But I made my case, including some good ticket prices and an affordable airbnb I discovered! So once I bought the tickets and reserved the place there was no turning back! By the time we were getting ready to go, I was freaking out over leaving our kids for five days, especially our youngest who is VERY very attached to me. (He doesn't even make it one minute in nursery.)
But once we were in Texas and hearing about the kids having fun (thanks to our great babysitters and my parents, for splitting it up!), then we had a blast. Brad and I learned that we're going to be jusssst fine when the kids leave in about 30 years.... As long as we keep cultivating our relationship, that is! We decided at the end of this trip that it is going to be a top priority from now on for us to go on a little trip each year, even if that means we just drive two towns away for a day or so. Our marriage is better for it, our kids are better for it, and that's the whole point.
So if you're thinking about going, worrying over the expense, or the kids--just do it. We did this whole trip on a dime, and it was worth every hard-earned cent.
Now, on to some photos from our trip! This isn't going to be a travelogue. All I did was look on Pinterest a few days before we left and made a short list of things we could check out while in Austin, and we mostly planned as we went. Our time in Dallas was to focus on our friends, so we didn't plan anything for there.
|I LOVE Austin's skyline!|
We got to our airbnb in the late afternoon on Thursday (in the Congress neighborhood!), but we still managed to walk 8 miles in a few hours, exploring murals, eating some truck food, and walking all over downtown. We had the best donut of our lives (Gourdough's), only to try it again that night with much anticipation and then have the worst donut of our lives (it was like they dumped out a jar of syrup one the whole thing).
We mostly explored our hearts away! Thank goodness for Smart phones--there wasn't much need to plan that far in advanced. We didn't even know about the city bikes until we got there, and we ended up renting them our second day--that was a game changer! (We didn't rent a car until our third day for our drive up to Dallas, which was a great money-saver. We were really glad we hadn't rented one until then.)
|Brad is wondering why on earth this mural is famous.|
The next day, we rode our bikes around the outdoor parks, explored the capitol, went all over UT's campus, ate Torchy's twice (tacos!), had ice cream from Amy's twice, and made it home by 7 PM, we were so wiped. 13 miles walked that day, and I don't know how many miles we biked!
|I'm going for "tourist chic" here.|
|I bought this hat the first morning we were there, even though Brad was embarrassed I have to tuck my ears in. Sorry, Brad--but, I'm not sorry.|
The next morning, we drove all over Austin and beyond to see where the Friday Night Lights homes were filmed--Tim Riggin's, Coach's, and Matt's. Then we went to the field and Brad jumped over the fence. (All of those photos are on Brad's phone, and I'm too lazy to get them.)
On to Waco! We didn't map out where to go exactly ahead of time, so we drove mostly around Woodway and ogled at giant houses. (Also, got the best sandwiches of our lives there! Not kidding.) After we went to the Silos on one of the most crowded days of the year (still worth it, and I bought earrings!), we tried to see houses in Waco but we could only find neighborhoods that were literally on the wrong side of the tracks, and looked it. We also saw Baylor University! So pretty there! Then we drove the rest of the way north of Dallas and hung out with our friends, the Fujikawas for a few days.
The Fujikawas are always the best hosts--we've stayed with them at each home they've lived the past ten years (except two--they've moved a lot!), including Italy! They are handling their three-kids-under-two-years like champs and we SO enjoyed cuddling their babies and playing with their toddler. We had too much fun and didn't take out our cameras at all, until the last few hours when we went to the JFK museum downtown, a gift shop, and then hit up The Shake Shack before flying home.
Texas, I love you. Thank you for being worth the wait!