Happy Fourth, Y’all
We thought it better to start slowly this morning, since it’s a holiday here. But we didn’t want the heat to build up too much before we went out, planning to make the most of the cooler hours of the day to be outdoors.
There were already quite a few people out on the water before 10am and crossing the “bat bridge” I was on the lookout for the bat sculpture. My fear of birds extends to “bird-like flying things”, so there was no way I was going to view the nightly flight, however spectacular it might be. I suggested to Mary and my Hero that they might like to go and take a look, but from the looks on their faces, I don’t think they were that enthusiastic either!
We were heading for SoCo, a lively neighbourhood to explore. First job, park the car following instructions – not easy reversing into a space on a busy road.
Actually, we didn’t walk very far but there was a disproportionate amount of entertainment to be had in that short stretch!
It was still quiet, even though it was gone ten and most shops were already open. So it didn’t matter too much that we lingered and took photos.
The sign in the first window seemed an apt description of the two characters in the reflection.
But Allens Boots was calling. We’d read of this institution and just had to step inside and see what was on offer.
What do you reckon to these little beauties?
Yes, of course I had to try them on!
They were perfect to strut about in too But at $595 (plus tax) I really couldn’t justify the purchase. I mean, can you imagine the reaction in Waitrose?
So instead, I dreamed…of rhinestones.
Of gorgeous shiny black
Of pale green with lilac flowers
and of embroidered teal.
Beautiful, but not for me.
But Allens is a great store and there were some really lovely things.
And a very apt birthday present for my hero, too!
A little further, we spotted this cushion in the shop window. Love it!
Inside was quite a collection.
Some very amusing devotional candles too!
But passing the open door to the next store, I smiled and had to go right in and take a photograph.
It was just the start of a series of amusing signs, though.
You can imagine, we weren’t getting very far.
But the next stop came highly recommended, by Jordi and by Jenny. We’d marked it on our map and crossed our fingers that it would be open.
We went up to the door and sure enough, it opened – hooray! Hill Country Weavers is the most magnificent collection of interesting yarns, many of which are new to me. Some beautiful samples were there too, to inspire and motivate a purchase or two.
So how come I left empty handed?
Well, perhaps it was a feature of “weird Austin”, maybe something or someone had made a mistake and forgotten to lock the door last night, but the shop was totally unattended. Mary went into the back of the store and called…but there was no response. Only one light was switched on and it didn’t feel quite right either.
Guess what we did? We filled every pocket and bag of beautiful yarn No, of course we didn’t!
We tiptoed out, closed the door tightly behind us and felt very awkward indeed. My hero now tells me we need to keep an eye on the news for a report of some crime or other in there, early this morning! (please, no!)
One last SoCo snapshot of Willie Nelson for President and we were ready to move on. It was starting to get really hot (108F was forecast for today), so we visited the next landmark by car.
This mural is so well known around here, there was a queue of people waiting to take their photographs by it. Not us…we adopted the drive by method!
We had another neighbourhood to explore, which happily included the original WholeFoods market mothership where we could buy a couple of drinks for this evening’s BYO location. Sadly, the Paper Source opposite was closed today.
I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the colourful lady waiting to cross the road in front of me though. You wouldn’t lose her in the dark, would you?
This afternoon’s stop was the Bullock Museum of Texas. Difficult to miss it!
Now, were we ready to get a flavour of the Texan mindset?
The floor in the lobby has a map of Texas on it – no, it’s not a puddle!
The first section was an interesting exhibit about La Belle, a 17th century wooden ship which was wrecked in a storm off the coast of Texas.
It’s been lifted from the seabed, freeze dried and displayed with some of the artefacts which were on board.
In the next exhibit, about food, I was pleased to see a familiar character! We had first “met” Ötzi in Bolzano some years ago and here he featured, on the other side of the world.
Amongst the other exhibits, we found the answer to a question we’ve puzzled over since we’ve been in Texas. We’ve seen T shirts and other souvenirs with the “Come and Take It” tag on them and wondered about the origin – here it was, on a flag flown during the Texan Revolution, to taunt the Mexican forces. I think only a Texan would wear it.
This delightful character loomed over us as we entered the museum but it was only on the 3rd floor that we learned that it used to stand on top of the Capitol. It’s been replaced by an all-weather copy now, so this original stands tall in the museum.
Yes, there was a replica of The Alamo there too, but of course I’d remembered it from our San Antonio trip a few years ago.
Finally, there was possibly the one thing we all associate most with Houston.
What a great way to spend the afternoon, in the cool, cool air. The underground parking lot meant we didn’t return to a searing hot car, too.
We had decided to spend this last night of our trip at the Salt Lick BBQ and since they didn’t take reservations, we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best. As we turned into the place though, it was another Magnolia moment: there were cars as far as the eye could see. Oh no.
But all was not lost! An efficient system for seating people and a pleasant place to wait until our table was ready meant that the half hour wait was no bother at all.
Inside, we had plenty of room and excellent service too.
We each ordered brisket and ribs and had brought our own beer, juice and wine from Wholefoods in a cold bag. In typical Wholefoods style, the checkout guy went to fetch a bag of ice to put inside our bag to keep the drinks cold, but now, of course, all that was left was a bag of water. As I pulled it out of the bag and held it up to show my hero and Mary, the woman next to us giggled. “I thought you’d brought your goldfish” she said!!
When our food came, it was as good as we’d hoped – better, even. Oh my goodness, these Texans can barbecue!
When we ordered, we could specify how we wanted our brisket. I chose namby pamby “lean”, whereas my hero and Mary both went for the connoisseur’s “burnt end”. You can see what I mean here and I can tell you, my hero’s reaction was much the same!
So, feeling utterly stuffed, did we have room for pecan pie dessert? Of course we did – but with three spoons!
As we left, we offered our compliments to the BBQ master! What a great place to spend the last night of the trip.