Along with New Orleans, Austin had been the other big city that I was looking forward to on this trip. It had been recommended to me by multiple people as a cool, quirky and artsy place and I was looking forward to a few days exploring.
I was due to be staying with the lovely Nick – cue Nick photo:
Unfortunately for me, my arrival in Austin coincided with a seriously cold spell. Ice on the roads, a biting wind and grey skies don’t create ideal sightseeing weather but I had a cunning plan… the Alamo Drafthouse.
According to Tarantino the Alamo Drafthouse is the best cinema experience in the world. Well, if Quentin says it I thought, I’d better give it a go!
I headed in to watch Birdman (which I quite enjoyed by the way) and I have to say I think Quentin might be onto something. Sat with a burger and chips and glass of red wine with a waiter coming to my seat to take my order/deliver food and insure all is well (whilst the film is running this is) I thought the Alamo Drafthouse was quite smashing!
In the evening Nick took me around to a few of the local bars and we also took a drive through the centre of town to see the famous Capital lit up which was suitably impressive. You’ll have to excuse the partial photos – I had the wrong lens on my camera and my hands were too cold to faff about swapping it! Use your imaginations please (or google it!)!
I did manage to brave the cold for a few hours before seeking shelter in the Drafthouse and I took a (very brief) stroll along Congress Avenue to check out some of the local shops. Independent costume shops, second hand shops full of old dusty trinkets and vintage clothes shops were abundant, all promoting Austin’s self given slogan “Keep Austin Weird”, and made me feel quite like I was back in Brighton! I liked Austin! Silly really isn’t it, how you often like the places that remind you of home… why leave home at all one could ask!?!
With the cold weather not going anywhere I was reluctant to leave the next morning, Nick’s cosy sofa bed looking very appealing, however I knew I should keep pushing on so I layered up and cycled off into the cold the following morning. Everyone had told me that West of Austin the hills would start and it turns out they weren’t lying! It was a good way to keep my core warm and I slowly wound my way through the Western suburbs up and down seemingly endless hills. Before long however the cold started to get to me and as the feeling in my toes and fingers started to completely disappear I decided to bail and headed for the first coffee shop I could find with wifi. The kindly barista took pity on me and my coffee was on the house whilst I warmed up and got online to find somewhere to stay. Warmshowers, for once, wasn’t on my side and there were not even any hotels nearby. Couchsurfing also drew a blank and I was starting to wonder where I would end up sleeping when the barista asked if I had thought of AirBnB. Ooo good idea I thought and within 20 minutes I had found a place 15 miles down the road in a lovely looking home for 30 quid! To be honest I’d have paid a hell of a lot more to get out of the cold and this place even had an open fire which my wonderful host Susan informed me was already roaring!
With the fire luring me in I pedalled my heart out and arrived at Susan and Mark’s a few hours later. Within minutes I was sat drinking tea in front of the hearth and all I can say is that it was bloody brilliant! Susan and Mark were incredibly kind and interesting people who I instantly felt an affinity with. Their home was beautiful, built by them and obviously loved and cherished. It was a home that oozed their personalities from every corner, it was part of them, exactly how I want my home to be one day.