I recently traveled to Austin for Ellen’s graduation ceremonies from the University of Texas. I love visiting Austin. Austin’s unofficial, or maybe official, motto is “Keep Austin Weird”. It seems to be working.
I took the trip alone because Amy’s high-school graduation was the same weekend and the rest of the family went to that. Traveling alone is the BEST because you can do whatever you want to do, whenever you want to do it. Especially in Austin, where many things are open all night long.
Since I was alone, I loitered in the airport, had a coffee, used the restroom, and took off my compression socks on a bench. Sadly, I must have dropped one, because there was only one in my backpack later. I sometimes reflect wistfully about my lonely thirty-dollar compression sock lying under the bench until a gloved airport employee disposed of it. Sigh.
My Airbnb on this trip was a small bungalow behind a hair salon. The bungalow had a bathroom, a combined bedroom/living area, and a small kitchen. There was an excellent mural of Farrah Fawcett, a former Longhorn, on the side of the salon.
The window mounted air conditioner was directly above the bed. Periodically it would spit flying ants onto the bed, so I had to turn it off before I went to bed at night, but aside from that the bungalow was perfect.
Ellen was busy on Saturday morning so I walked down to Bouldin Creek Café for my favorite Austin dish, their zucchini migas.
Austin is a town that is serious about brunch, and there was an hour and a half wait at Bouldin Creek. However, since it was just me, I was able to sit down right away at the one empty seat at the counter and enjoy migas, a latte, and my sudoku.
There was a solo woman about my age seated next to me who was also having migas and a latte, but she had a crossword puzzle. We acknowledged each other with slight, satisfied smiles and went back to puzzling.
After brunch, I meandered through the neighborhood, perspiring at a steady rate. I noticed signs in many yards that read “Peacocks Welcome Here”, and I thought to myself, “Peacocks can’t read, so why bother with those signs?” and also “What peacocks?”.
The answer was revealed a few blocks later when I came upon a large old white clapboard home that had clearly been converted into an upscale, Instagram-worthy restaurant. The front yard under the moss-draped oaks was full of women in tiny dresses photographing each other, and also peacocks.
I went in and made a reservation for the next day, and Ellen, her boyfriend and I had a very classy and delicious brunch.
We decided to make a day of it and drive out to Lake Travis to watch the sunset, an activity suggested in many guidebooks. I suppose we should have expected a Texas-size venue given how many guidebooks mention Lake Travis, but we were unprepared for the behemoth that awaited.
The Oasis restaurant at Lake Travis can accommodate 2500 people, on five levels. There are gift shops, a candy store, and an art gallery in the complex. We had to wait an hour and a half for our table, so we made Oasis Bingo Cards for each other and had a scavenger hunt in the shops. The bored saleswomen really got into helping us find things. I won’t be back at the Oasis, but I’m not sorry I went once.