WE LOVE AUSTIN

IT’S ME! Yes, I can secretly use Bella’s laptop when she is in the shower to hijack this thing. (she said I could)

Anyway, we are in Austin and it’s SO coool. It’s very cool and very hipstery and has loads of cool shops and bars (once again another place we where we are willing ourselves to be 21!) and we like it a lot. Yesterday, we decided possibly slightly stupidly to walk the two and a half miles to 6th Street which is one of the “famous” Austin streets in temperatures of around 94 degrees fahrenheit. It was actually not too bad and we have become much more tanned because of it. But this is besides the point. We began our little adventure by heading down to the UT (University of Texas) Campus which is HUGE. They have over 38,000 undergrads so I guess this is why, but at the moment the campus is just full of high schoolers on summer programs. We obviously then headed to the Theta house which was the biggest we have seen yet. It was pink and gated and literally had about 30 parking spots.

***

Okay Sophie started this this morning and then we had to leave so Ima take over.

First off, it’s official: WE LOVE AUSTIN. Seriously, I am in love and am already planning ways to return the instant I turn 21.

Anyway, to briefly cover yesterday. After the Theta house, which we couldn’t get too close to due to the enormous wrought-iron gates, we carried on our way down Guadalupe St, where we came across some stalls selling various handmade things and one in particular selling millions of friendship bracelets. These are basically both of our weakness in life and the guy making them was this old ex/possibly current stoner man who was like making them there and then and stuff so we each bought 2 cause we are all hipster now and even promised to return. We had just left the bracelet man and were carrying on our way when we got stopped by two people holding a camera. They told us they were from PBS news and wanted to interview us about the election. We told them we were from England and not all that knowledgeable but we’d give it a try and they were quite excited about this as apparently they’d been told to look for variety. Anyway Sophie went first but literally, as soon as they asked her the question “what is the most important issue today” or whatever, I have never seen anyone look more terrified in her life and eventually she gave up entirely, declaring that she is not qualified to answer such questions. I then took my turn and just made a lot of stuff up about how we all must be hopeful about the future and improve education and so on and so on…I have no idea why we attract these camera crews but you know, I assume it is a very local thing but look out for us on PBS any day now?

We then continued on our way, headed for 6th street. On our way down we were stopped by this Indian man who stopped us to ask us where he’d parked his car. I am not even kidding. We said three times that we’re not from here and had no idea where he might have parked his car but he kept insisting it was in a parking lot on this street and where was it? The weirdest part was he didn’t even seem particularly mental, he just seemed to really believe that we were likely to know where he’d parked his car. Luckily he finally got the message that we didn’t, and so we escaped to 6th street. We wandered all around looking at all the cool bars and stuff and going in and out of all the hilarious souvenir stores, i.e exactly the same thing we have done in every other destination. We also got italian ice with ice cream, which is basically our new obsession in life. Then we went to Anthropologie (again) and went to a HUGE bookstore. When we walked in we had to leave our bags at the front desk and then they informed us we looked like we’d been swimming which I thought was very rude till I remembered we were both wearing bikinis. We were in there for ages looking at travel books and imagining our future lives as famous travel writers (but actually) and then we had to leave ’cause we were meeting Katherine’s brother who lives near Austin and had v kindly offered to show us round for a bit! We went to this really nice mall a little out of town where I was finally able to buy some new bikini bottoms to replace all my mysteriously lost ones, and then returned downtown for dinner. We weren’t trying to get arrested or deported 2 weeks before we leave, and we were both knackered soooo we then returned to the apartment for another wild night trying to sort our lives out.

This morning we were up and out reasonably early and our first stop was the bracelet man again for Sophie to buy more bracelets. Then we carried on heading south, with a brief stop at Whole Foods to buy food for a picnic (and one of the Mexican mangos Carie was telling us about the other day!), which we ate in a park just across the river. It was very picturesque and there were millions of dogs around.

Our ultimate destination for the day was the Barton Springs pool. There were so many cool restaurants and stuff on the way there and the actual pool itself was AMAZING – it’s a bit of the lake that you can swim in. It was really really cold but as it was so hot outside it was perfect to cool down in and I even did some actual swimming at one point which was very impressive I felt. My favourite bit though was watching everyone on the diving board, which kept me entertained for hours and hours. It was so nice just to lie in the sun for a while and chill – we both felt very relaxed!

SO NICE

However eventually we became too hungry to lie there any more so we set off for South First Street, where we were aiming for a restaurant we had found in our extensive research last night (obviously this revolves around food). It was called Freddie’s Place and from the street it looked like just an empty car park but the actual restaurant was set really far back and most of it is outside amongst the trees and fairy lights. There was live music and all the waiters had funny t-shirts and ours was this cool hippie guy and the food was REALLY good. We were enjoying ourselves so much, and we’d eaten so healthily today, we decided to order dessert. They had this thing called Fried PBJ which we decided to be adventurous and try and it was seriously one of the weirdest things I have ever eaten; literally a deep fried sandwich so it looked a little bit like fried chicken. Personally I felt it needed more peanut butter and a little less jelly…somebody tell the chef!

a healthy dessert

Afterwards we walked down First which we really liked, it was like stepping back in time and was very cool, and then we headed over to South Congress which we have been waiting to do for months and months. It lived up to our expectations – it was AMAZING! I think it helped that since we’d eaten slightly later than usual, we were doing all this stuff at a more regular hour when it was dark and everyone was about and there was music at places and fairy lights and it was just sooooo cool! What we really liked was that unlike Nashville or wherever there were loads of kids around and a more chilled out atmosphere that didn’t make us so unbelievably depressed that we are not 21.

Eventually we had to leave but we have already resolved to go back tomorrow morning. I think Austin is the only place I feel like we really need more time – it’s not that we haven’t managed to see all/most of what we wanted to but just that we would both love to spend more time here! I for one could spend at least three more days just hanging out by the lake watching people throw themselves off the diving board…

Also it is INSANE that tomorrow we reach our last destination! What is our life?!

B

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