Austin, Texas, Day 4 — Saturday, September 28, 2019

Nick and I awoke at 8:30 AM, late for us, but early for Nicholas and Carla on a Saturday. Dawn texted that she was awake. Our breakfast place was only open on weekdays, so the three of us decided to eat at our hotel. Dawn and I shared a spinach and mushroom omelet that we both thoroughly enjoyed. While we were eating, Carla joined us.

After breakfast, Dawn had many things to do before leaving to attend her friend’s wedding, which was being held about an hour away. I texted Nicholas and Carla, and the four of us decided to go the Austin Nature & Science Center while Dawn did her preparations for the wedding.

My family has a great fondness for nature centers. The preschool at which I now sub and previously taught was formerly called a nature center. Carla attended it as a preschooler, and Nicholas volunteered there during his middle and high school years. Some of the animals we saw were familiar to us but many were very different. There was a preschool in  the Nature Center, but as this was Saturday, it was closed. I would  love to have gone inside! We only stayed for about an hour, because the temperature had reached 97 degrees again.

We returned to our hotel to say our goodbyes to Dawn. As she left, she said she would love to do a long weekend with us again next year!

The four of walked to a very active part of town and stopped at a restaurant called Iron Horse Bar & Grill. Nicholas enjoyed a burger, Carla,  shrimp tacos, Nick, a salmon salad and I, a spinach salad. After lunch, Nick returned to our room for a nap, Carla went to the pool, I read my book (American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson, who sat next to Carla at school in fourth grade), and Nicholas went off on his own.

The hotel became very busy with brides, bridesmaids, grooms and groomsmen all gathering in different parts of the lobby. There was  a fifteen-year-old  girl elaborately dressed for her quinceañera party, as well.

Much later, the four of us convened at the whirlpool. We learned that Nicholas had rented one of the many bikes that are around town, just as the scooters are, and went exploring the town. Although we had not had dinner, we had so much for lunch that we decided to skip dinner and look for dessert. Yelp! recommended Gelateria Gemelli. The walk to reach it was much longer than we expected, but when we finally got there, we rewarded ourselves by   enjoying the exotic flavors,  including a dairy-free one for Nicholas.

Someone told us that we simply has to go to a bakery called Voodoo Doughnuts, which was located on 6th Street, the very lively street where we had eaten lunch.  It was even livelier at night! The road was being closed by the police, and parked cars on it were being towed away. There were many bars whose music was blasting and were bursting with patrons. The patrons were people of all age including lots of college students. The University of Texas at Austin has 50,000 students, and it seemed like they were all there!

Nick and I have not eaten doughnuts for years, but this was the place to give them a try. Nick ordered chocolate, Carla, bacon and caramel, and Nicholas’ order was called “dirt,”  actually Oreo cookies.  I didn’t order anything myself. I just tasted everyone else’s.

Our walk back to the hotel was even louder  and more crowded than our walk getting there had been. There were people riding scooters, bar patrons overflowing into the street, and a variety of entertainers, including people carrying snakes.

The total number of steps  for the day was about 20,000.


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