Monday, December 19, 2005

This past weekend, we snuck in a roadtrip to Austin, Texas...hooray! We had heard that Austin was a fun town, and now we can verify that for fact (in our opinion). ;) What a great weekend! We drove in Friday afternoon and out again on Sunday. While there, we discovered the quirky shops on South Congress, wandered two great museums and dined in some EXCELLENT restaurants (and you know it's all about the food as far as Jennifer is concerned).
On Friday, we explored a bit to get our bearings. The assistant manager at our hotel recommended Tex-Mex at Guero's on South Congress for a late lunch. Delicious! All we had was soup (saving room for dinner later), but we could tell the ingredients were very fresh and wonderfully prepared. Afterwards, we wandered the boutique-y shops along that street. We could tell how artsy and young the city is just from that one street. The shops were really fun to browse, with everything from vintage clothes to local art to western wear (more on that later). That night, we went the fine-dining route for a three course meal at the Driskill Grill...quite posh for a "grill" (maybe too posh for us, actually) but also delicious food. Markus can highly recommend the hazelnut creme brulee (claims it's the best he's ever eaten). They sat us at a table next to the Christmas tree so Ellie could appreciate the lights, but she slept through the entire meal. None of the other diners ever knew there was a three-month-old baby in the restaurant...what an angel!
Saturday morning, we toured the LBJ Presidential Library, which was incredibly well-done and covers a fascinating period in US history. Before our visit, we hadn't been aware of the sheer amount of ground-breaking legislation Johnson introduced from civil rights to arts to education. Incredible! VERY interesting museum and well-worth a visit if you are ever in Austin. Saturday night, despite the cold temps, we walked the city's Trail of Lights in Zilker Park. Though the weather was generally too cold to enjoy much of the outdoors, Austin really seems to have a lot to offer in that department. Rowing or paddling the Colorado River, jogging along Town Lake, playing in Barton Springs or Zilker Park...and Markus desperately wanted to cycle the winding hills of the posh neighborhoods overlooking the city. That night, we ate at the Castle Hill Grill, which was relaxing and casual with fabulous chow. The winning plate was the entree Meditteranean salad. YUM!
Sunday was our last day, but we made use of the morning by visiting the Harry Ransom Museum on the UT campus. They were hosting an Ansel Adams exhibit with over 150 of his photographs. Beautiful! They also own the first photograph (a heliograph) and a copy of the Gutenburg Bible as part of their permanent collections. Very impressive for a university museum. Must have some wealthy alums contributing there! And the last food recommendation...lunch at the South Congress Cafe. Their potato enchiladas are amazing!

Last fun little tidbit: Jennifer now owns a pair of cowgirl boots! She just couldn't resist the temptation. After all, one must have something to show for a short stint of living in Texas. ;)

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