Friday, May 17, 2013

Oh Austin, TX! I hope to be back soon!

My trip to Austin turned out to not be bad at all.  In fact it was really really good.  Everything went smoothly and I had a great time.  I learned a lot on this trip.  I leaned a lot about myself.  I learned that I should not let fear cripple me.  (I think the fact that I finally read Divergent on this trip.  I think I need to be more Dauntless.)  I learned that I have become very independent and don't need someone else to help me figure everything out.  I learned that being alone isn't so bad.  And I learned a lot at the conference I attended, but I won't bore you with all that!  I'll let the pictures do most of the talking...

1. My adorable room at the W- Wednesday I got there around 4 pm.  I took a cab from the airport to The W Hotel.  If you've never stayed at a W you are missing out.  They really go above and beyond to make you feel welcome and cared for.

2. The bathtub in my room was so deep!  I could barely climb over the wall to get in.  But I loved it!  I took a nice relaxing bath every night.

3. The president was in Austin on Thursday.  I saw all kinds of security along my 3 block walk to Austin City Music Hall where our convention was held.

4. Thursday night I was scrolling through my Instagram and saw that Jessica Alba had posted a pic of the goodies the W Austin had left in her room to welcome her!  I was really hoping to run in to her at the gym or the spa or in the elevator or something but I didn't.  And no I didn't get any welcome goodies in my room.

5. I ordered room service Thursday night because it was raining.  Beef brisket sliders that were quite yummy.  I just love room service even though it is way overpriced!

6. That was my view from the treadmill at the gym.  I worked out every day at their gym!  It was so nice!

7.  They had an Acura car service you could use to take you places.  It came in handy!

1. Saturday morning I switched to The Hampton Inn because The W rate went up to almost $400/night!  The Hampton Inn was nice too, but it didn't feel like home like The W did.

2. Saturday evening I walked down to the Congress St. bridge to watch the bats.  Apparently the largest bat colony in North America lives under that bridge and they all fly out around dusk.  It was not what I expected, but pretty cool and there were tons of them!

3. A bat statue near the Congress St. Bridge.

4.  Lady Bird Lake trail- this trail was so pretty!  I walked it Sunday to and from church.  Cam would have loved this trail.

5-8. I looked on Yelp to see what food places I should try.  I wanted to go somewhere I could easily get something to go.  I saw great reviews for this Torchy's Taco truck and it was only about a mile away so I walked.  I will admit I got a little scared on this walk.  Even though it was all on main roads, it was dark and I was by myself.  It was such a cute place though!  Great date spot.  And the food was amazing!  Highly recommend the Baja Shrimp Taco and Green Chile Queso!  And on the walk back over the bridge I did get the best view of the city at night!

9. Sunday morning I walked to go to church at Austin Stone's downtown campus.  I have listened to this church's podcast for over 2 years so it was really exciting to finally hear the sermon live!

So here's all the details of how I spent my time in Austin:

Wednesday night the company I work with took me out for dinner and drinks after I toured their offices.  We went to Lambert's for BBQ.  The ribs were good, but the fried strawberry pie we all split was ah-ma-zing!  Then we walked down to The Elephant Room and we got to hear a full jazz band live which was really cool!

Thursday I went to the conference all day and came back to the hotel and hit the gym and then ordered room service because it was all gloomy and rainy outside.

Friday I went to the conference all day.  After we got out around 4 pm, I walked to Whole Foods because it is apparently their flagship store.  It was huge and overwhelming but I was able to get something for dinner and snacks.  I walked the mile or so back to the hotel, hit the gym, and then the spa.  I had booked an appointment for Friday night because I figured it would give me something to do.  It was the most amazing spa treatment ever.  Here is the description from their website:

Over The Hills and Far Away     105 min/$225
Rock out to this zeppelin-inspired VIP treatment with all the features of an exclusive detox.  Begins with a full body dry-brushing, followed by a coconut sugar scrub & detailed parafango treatment.  The experience continues with a full body massage, including our signature foot treatment.  Finish off with a cool coconut mini facial, incorporating cold stones & hot towels.  Your skin is cleansed, hydrated, and protected from the brilliant Texas sun.  Who says only celebrities have it so good?    Voted best body treatment by Austin Monthly readers, October 2012. 

And even better I had a $50 off any spa treatment coupon.  Soooo worth it!  Best.  Treatment.  Ever.

Saturday I woke up and went to the gym and then showered and packed.  Then I had their Acura car service take me to The Hampton Inn.  Luckily they let me check in early there!  After getting settled in my room I took a walk down Congress Street to Homeslice (thanks to a suggestion from Tracy on my last post!)  Along the way I popped in a lot of the cute shops that line this road.  I got the pizza to go and walked back to my hotel.  After I ate I went out to the pool and soaked up the sun and read my book.  Then I went to see the bats and get Torchys.

Sunday I walked to church and back, showered, and then just went on to the airport.  My flight wasn't until 5:15, but I people watched, read, and tried Salt Lick BBQ and Amy's Ice Cream (amazing!!!)

Time flew by and I really didn't feel alone.  I actually had fun!  It was very relaxing and definitely taught me a lot!  Just what I needed.  And I have to say thank you for all the encouragement through comments here and on Instagram and all the tweets!  I think that is part of the reason why I didn't feel so alone!

Hopefully next week I will be able to compile all my tips for traveling alone!

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