Okay guys, we wrote this like a week ago and forgot to post it so here we go, a time-travelling post from before we even got to sunny (HAH no it has rained constantly for the last three days) Florida:
Although there is still a week and three days until we leave the US, it has occurred to us that, really, leaving San Antonio marked the end of our ‘travels.’ We’ll be meeting my family in Orlando later, and from that moment on, the planning is out of our hands and into those of my mum. Which we are not complaining about at all. We also don’t really count Miami as a stop on our travels: it’s more of an extension either of the Disney vacation or of the journey home. So with that said, we felt it was appropriate to do a little recap of our travels. This has been prompted by the fact that we’re currently in Austin airport with no wifi, only Microsoft Word, at our disposal, so depending on how bored we get you can also probably expect an emotional wrap up of the entire year. Anyway, without further ado:
Altogether now: Austin! We weren’t particularly surprised by how much we loved it; people have been telling us how cool it is all year. It’s very laid back, very cool without being painfully hipster/try-hard (my personal pet hate in life) and very friendly. I agree, and if I had millions of pounds I would have bought loads of cool stuff and shipped it home. I think I might have to move here one day.
Whether it was because it was our first destination so everything was new and exciting or just because it’s so damn charming, we also loved Charleston. If Austin is where I wanna live right now (or actually, more likely in a couple of years when I’m 21), Charleston would be where I’d wanna live when I’m like, 35 or something, although it was cool and fun enough that I’d be perfectly happy going back there tomorrow!
Call us tame, but a lot of our favourite activities have revolved around doing nothing. Barton Springs pool was one of my favourite days; another was yesterday, going to the movie theater in order to escape a thunderstorm that may or may not have ever even happened. The Mud Island River Park in Memphis was a lot of fun, and the day we spent wandering around Dallas’ various luxury strip malls with Starbucks and cupcakes was another of my very favourite days! Aside from that, Myrtle Beach was some of the most fun I’ve had all year and I wish wish wish we could have had longer there!
I’ve also personally enjoyed exploring many college campuses and creeping on all the Theta houses – I wish we’d been brave enough to knock on a couple of doors! (we really should have done, shouldn’t we!) Getting to meet Tori & the other Thetas in Charleston was a lot of fun, too, and hanging withour new Australian friends in the hostel.
I agree with all these things, and I also loved our little dolphin cruise in Savannah (as dolphins despite being very tacky are my favourite animal and I had never seen them in the wild before!) Barton Springs I literally could have stayed at forever and wish we had one more day in Austin so we could have gone again! I also liked the days we just did nothing except sit in parks and soak up the atmosphere / hide from the sun. I think it’s at these times where we really got to see the cities from a perspective that wasn’t just that of a tourist. And neither of us like to be tourists (unless it involves buying tacky souvenirs) so this was a bonus.
And you know what my least favourite activity was…unblocking a toilet with my bare hands – something I hope that I never have to do ever again.
You all knew this was coming. Let’s see. Freddie’s Place, the restaurant we went to in Austin where it’s mostly outside in the trees and there was live music and a super hippie vibe and everything was healthy. Mrs Wilke’s was good food but I wish we’d had more sociable tablemates! Beginning with Jerry’s, all the various sno-cone places we visited – thanks to Katherine for that tip cause I’d never have got ice cream in them otherwise! Oh, Breadwinners in Dallas was SO GOOD, and also the falafel place we went to in Charleston. We have eaten a lot of good food on this trip, as you may have noticed. Finding restaurants has been one of my favourite parts and, with the exception of Dick’s Last Resort and of the (non-)Hangover Day in San Antonio, we’ve stayed entirely away from chains, which I feel is pretty impressive.
I would also like to add the ice cream place where I had my banana pudding ice cream – was literally the best ice cream I have ever had. Thank GOD we bought those handy Elvis recipe cards so I can make banana pudding every day! Also I can safely say every single meal we have eaten has actually been good thanks to Bella and her extensive menu research. Oh and I also loved the Germantown Commissary in Memphis
We were a bit wary of hostels given our experience in DC/I’ve never really been a massive fan anyway, but the one we stayed in in Charleston was really good. We were lucky in that we more or less had the room to ourselves a lot of the time – we did technically have a roommate for the second and third nights but she was only there for one of those in the end – and also that we were in a sort of annex building, so we essentially had our own kitchen/dining area as well. It was very social and there were a lot of cool people there – breakfast wasn’t awkward at all and we talked to a lot of fun people! Shame the people in the Nashville one weren’t quite as cool – in fact they were all just rather odd!
Our apartment in Savannah was also great; a more or less perfect location and ridiculously luxurious given we were supposed to be broke students on our travels. Dave, who owned it, was very chilled and laid back about the whole thing which made things very easy and apart from the dodgy internet, the apartment was perfect.
Obviously getting to stay in Memphis & Dallas was brilliant cause we got to be in real houses, and Carie’s princess room/condo in general/pool area was literally perfection. We honestly can’t say thank you enough to both of you and your families for having us! Yes, thank you SO SO much we had so much fun!
Austin and Nashville, I think, both of them after we’re 21. I’d like to go back to Nashville for like a couple of days because it seemed SO much fun, and I’d love to spend more time in Austin. Like Ocean Beach, CA, spending a summer there working in a bar/whatever would be amaaaazing. Maybe after we find our American husbands and get those green cards. (Brooks and Ivan or Sam and Neal or whoever else we have promised to marry – we mean it boys!)
I’d honestly go back to pretty much everywhere we’ve been, although maybe not San Antonio. We thought it was going to be the least tourist-y city we visited, but actually it was the most. I’m still not sure what there actually is there besides tourist stuff and a mall. Don’t get me wrong, though, I liked it and it was very pretty, I’m just not desperate to go back. As soon as we realised we had 4 days there, though, we knew it was going to be too long, so that was definitely poor planning on our part! It was also kind of upsetting because we could have had another day in Myrtle (idiots!) but it’s ok – we still managed to entertain ourselves fully!
Honestly, for all the disasters we’ve sustained (I never found my bikini bottoms or half my underwear, by the way, so if anyone in the Williamsburg area has a stray collection of Calvin Kleins/H&M bikinis…enjoy) I’ve been amazed at how smoothly everything has gone. After the bizarreness that were the Charleston and Myrtle Greyhound stations, the many many bus trips weren’t even that bad which was a pleasant surprise. Actually, we just had to get a local bus from the Austin Greyhound to the airport and that was far more sketchy & terrifying than any Greyhound ever was!
I think everyone on that bus was clinically insane. We kept stopping outside “facilities”. One man got on with an 8” tin foil dragon, and all his belongings were also wrapped in tinfoil. Another guy was lamenting about the fact he was brain damaged after wielding a snake around his head and it subsequently biting him, causing him to be brain damanged. Unusually the doctor couldn’t see the snake but the man could…I think the snake might have been in his mind. Then there was the crazy hillbilly from West Virginia who was terrifying with metal in his legs apparently and I think he had escaped from prison or a mental institution judging by his conversation. He now lives in a park.
However, we survived. Everyone on the buses has actually been very polite and friendly and I don’t think I have ever felt unsafe and some of the buses have actually been rather luxurious.
On the way I have managed to lose my bikini bottoms too (well one pair) and break my laptop and my Ipod and break a pair of shoes. Luckily, there have been no injuries and all our disasters have been pretty funny so everyone who thought we wouldn’t survive – WE DID SO NERRR!
However our flight is now delayed for an hour and a half so maybe I am speaking too soon…
B & S