I decided to do something I don't normally do: post pictures from our fantastic road trip. I will edit this post as the day goes on to tell a little more about what we did. For now, enjoy the shots. (Or don't.)
I took the day off Friday in order that I might have more time to pack and clean and get ready for the trip. It also worked out perfectly as it was a first friday and I needed to get to Mass and adoration. Waking up that morning I was both excited and nervous. I had never made a trip like this and I'd never traveled alone with these girls. I love them to death but we were about to be thrown into a bunch of unknowns together and I was just praying it would all go smoothly.
I started out the morning with Mass. I love daily Mass, as I'm sure I've mentioned before, because it is so very different than a Sunday Mass. Both are absolutely beautiful and I could not choose one over the other. Anyway, I was able to pray the Divine Office, attend Mass and then adore Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament immediately following. What made my morning even better, you ask? I also had spiritual direction! Yes, quite the morning. Praise God!
After that I went home and piddled around with laundry and packing. It wasn't until I got the phone call from Elizabeth telling me she was in Dallas (and about 15 minutes away from my house) that I really put myself in high-gear. After packing and cleaning the car we head out to Arlington to have dinner with another of our friends (plus one of our friend's friends). We ate at a cute little restaurant that couldn't figure out what to serve. When I say that I mean that they had Italian and Mexican cuisine.. yes, quite the mix. It was dark inside, which made finding our tiny friend quite the challenge, and I never really figured out why. It could be that management is attempting to save money (which would explain the parking lot as well -- broken up gravel and rocks...) or that they were going for a 'romantic' feel. Perhaps it was both? Perhaps. We'll give them the benefit of the doubt, though, and say it was meant for lovers. After all, it is called the Candlelite Inn. The booth was.. cozy.. and the jukebox fun. Our waiter was a bit overattentive, if you know what I mean, but the food was good. Overall it was a pleasant evening and I'm satisfied with the experience.
After dinner we all headed out to Hill's choir concert. She had a solo and I was looking forward to hearing her perform. Unfortunately we were running behind and missed her by only a couple of minutes. Her director was quite the show though. Melodramatic does not even begin to scratch the surface of this woman's conducting style. Can you convey melodramatic in conducting? Yes. She proved that you can. Believe me. Anyway, the choir sounded wonderful and I instantly missed singing with my high school choir. It was nothing like my church choir. It was big and always challenging. I loved singing with so many people and being able to make such beautiful and varied sounds. (That's not to say that my church choir isn't challenging or that we are not capable of beautiful music. Like with the Masses, they are just different.)
After some mingling (mostly done by Hill while we all waited on our starlet friend), we headed out to the car. We were on our way! ... or so we thought. Shortly after getting in the car, Hill started screaming about her skin burning. It started out with her mentioning something wet/sticky that was on her skin and THEN she started screaming. At first I thought she was kidding. I quickly realized, however, that she was being very serious. I frantically searched for something to get it off of her (water or a towel or something) and begged Elizabeth to give her something. Elizabeth could find nothing but I did find a couple of paper towels on the floor. I darted out of the car, towels in hand, and sprinted to a puddle in the middle of the street. (The street was within the parking lot. Don't worry, I'm not that stupid.) Having soaked the towel in puddle water, I opened up Hill's door and started wiping her skin, quickly but delicately. Within just a minute or two we had successfully removed the liquid from her skin and, if I remember correctly, the pain decreased. What caused this comotion? Turned out to be some pool chemicals that had been left in Elizabeth's car. The same chemical also ate a hole in her carpet.
After about three hours of driving, we arrived in Austin. Finding our hotel proved challenging but being the smart girls that we are, we did eventually find our way. It was a beautiful hotel. We were on a very high floor, which for me, because I'm afraid of heights, was quite intimidating.. but fun too. The room was spacious and the bed luxurious. Too bad we were only there for one night! After settling in (aka: throwing our bags by the wall), we headed out to see one of my friends from high school that goes to UT. We had planned on brunch the next morning but knowing that most college students are dead on Saturday mornings, I figured we should meet up that night. So we did. And it was fun. I hadn't seen her in about two years so it was great to not only see her but also get to see where she will be living in the fall, meet her boyfriend, and enjoy some laughs. As an added bonus, I saw another friend from high school who kept me laughing the whole time she was around. Good night. Before leaving we decided that we would still do brunch but at 11 am instead of 8 or 9.
The next morning, after touring my h.s. friend's sorority house, we found ourselves enjoying a fabulous brunch at Kerbey Lane, a cafe native to Austin and reminiscent, at least for me, of Cafe Brazil. To our surprise, the cafe was celebrating it's birthday. I can't remember which year it was but I can remember that the cake was fabulous. So not only were we at a fun, hip cafe with excellent food, we were able to share in celebrating it's history! If ever you find yourself in Austin, ask someone where to find the original Kerbey Lane -- it's on Kerbey Lane. *wink* (I had the migas. So good!)
After passing the capitol, and taking a picture of it like every good non-Austin-native Texan would do, (and picking up our car since my friend had driven us to KL) we were off to San Marcos for shopping, shopping, and more shopping. I was both excited and bummed. It wasn't even fifteen minutes after leaving when I wanted to turn around and go back! Seeing dear friend again reminded me how much I missed her!
Anyway, we spent several hours in San Marcos. Elizabeth did most of the shopping but I did find a couple of things for myself. By the time we left (in the early evening hours) we were spent. Hill and I could barely keep ourselves up and moving any longer. It was so nice to be back in the car, knowing that in just a short while we would once again have a nice hotel room in which to rest.
The second hotel, this time in San Antonio, was nice but not so much my style as the first. No complaints though as we stayed at an excellent rate (considering that it was full service) and enjoyed a comfy bed and a hot showers. When we arrived I did some laundry (I had overpacked and then insisted on wearing the same jeans twice) and we watched a movie. Shortly after that we called a cab to drive us down to the River Walk. Once there we had dinner at Rio Rio, my favorite restaurant on the river. No one really wanted to wait for seating on the river so we went inside and enjoyed very fast service by a waiter named Juan. The food was good, I think, but we were all so hungry that we filled up on chips, queso, and hot sauce before our real food even came. We took lots of pictures there and each was coupled with a hearty laugh. Good food and good company.. yep. Good night. That is until we left...
Elizabeth really wanted to go dancing and Hill and I really just wanted to lie down and chill. But since it was E's birthday trip, we walked to find some place to dance. The first place we found was for 21+, a problem we had anticipated. They did, however, recommend another place that was 18+. In most cases that would have been great and appreciated. Unfortunately, all we had was the name of a place and one street. Not being from San Antonio and not having any clue which direction to even head to find the street they mentioned, we were at a loss. Still, we walked. And walked. And walked. Finally we reached the Alamo. I needed to fix my shoe (rocks, especially in heels, are not comfortable) so we sat along a wall just in front. There we decided that we had no idea where we were and that the chances of finding the place were too low to keep trying.
We had grabbed the local taxi number back at the restaurant and attempted calling it. After being on hold for at least twenty minutes, we finally were being transferred when the phone cut off! *sigh* We tried again and after another long period of waiting, ordered a cab to our corner. I was relieved to see the cab arrive shortly and nearly ran to jump in. Our driver was nice -- and fun. That concluded our night, for the most part, in San Antonio.** to be continued **