Thursday, June 30, 2011

Texas: Part Two

After much delay, here are the shots from the second half of my week in San Antonio! The Botanical Garden was one of my favorite trips out. Don't get me wrong, it was HOT spending an afternoon outside, but I brought an umbrella to fill in shade where the trees didn't provide some, and in the end it was worth it!

I loved their visual solution to the drought- instead of leaving the fountains looking bare and sad, they filled them in with beautiful blue glass!

Lots of inspiration to be found in the giant planters scattered around.

The Garden for the Blind was an interesting addition, where the plants were all either highly fragrant or tactile (lots of herbs!)

This stunning sculpture was in the Garden for the Blind, as well as:

This huge snail!

I loved the water lilies in this little pond.

It was in the courtyard of a series of greenhouses that housed:

Bromiliads from the rain forest in one.

Cacti from the desert in another.

Ferns in a fog-machine induced sauna! And there was another VERY hot and humid house filled with Palms that was setup as a ramp that spiraled upward through the foliage, which was a cool idea, but I practically had to run through to make it out the exit at the top without passing out!

Another unique display they had was the "gardens" showing the 4 natural habitats they have in Texas. I went to check out the Pine forest area, since I have lots of Pines around my house and was interested to see what would grow around them. Turns out not much!

But it was lovely anyway. And really nice to walk in the deep shade!

These roots are so cool! Can't remember the name of the tree, though...

That's my art-y self-portrait in the window of the classic wood cabin.

But I really loved the cottage garden! This is my favorite kind of garden. It was really neat to see how many of the same plants grew in Texas that we have up here in New England, and how some grew very differently! The hydrangeas, for example, were so tiny down there as to be barely recognizable, whereas up here they grow to be 5 foot tall bushes in just a few years! They must like the cold winters!

After the Botanical Garden I headed over to the San Antonio Art Museum, mostly to see their European and American paintings, which are a favorite.

But, well, their collection of paintings was TINY! They more than made up for it, however, with an absurdly large collection of Irish silver (fun to read the inscriptions!), and ceramics and pottery from the Middle East. I didn't take any pictures of those, however, because my camera battery had already died, and after photographing the garden my phone battery was dying, too!

I HAD to get a picture of this, though, because it's so unique! It's a sand mandala- that's right, that whole thing is made of sand! Enlarge the next picture to get the full explanation of how this came to be in the museum.

Sorry for the blur, I think I was a little dehydrated at that point!

The next morning, Hubby had a business meeting over in Austin, so we swapped to a hotel over there, but first we had to do the obligatory trip to the Alamo!

The pictures came out terrible- I must have had the phone on some odd setting!

Our first night in Austin we met up with another friend who lives nearby, and he took us to an UH-MA-ZING BBQ joint called The County Line.

If you're ever down in Texas, see if there's one of these nearby, because it was DELICIOUS! And I really don't even normally like meat!

This location (Austin Hills) was particularly special because it sat on the side of a hill and the patio overlooked the sunset and the valley below. Not that you can see the sunset in this shot, but you can see the color it turned me in this shot:

Bring your sunglasses and sunblock! But more importantly, do you see that food?! Those ribs have converted me- I am a big, fatty beef rib lover! Never liked them before, but these were so good I'm going to be trying to make some myself soon!

The whole place was adorably kitschy, and instead of music the bathroom speakers played a language CD called "How to Speak Cowboy", which is for sale for $10. (Yes, Hubby bought one!)

There we are, all fat and happy, rolling back to the car.

The next day we spent some time wandering around downtown Austin, but it was SOO hot, Hubby couldn't take being outside and actually suggested we go shoe shopping! Well, cowboy boot shopping, but still! So we asked around a bit and were originally directed to either a place in town called Allen's that had mostly highly decorated, more expensive boots, or if we wanted something more functional and less decorative, a place out by the airport called Callahan's General Store. Well, where would you go?

A place that sells cow feed and turquoise refrigerators along side cowgirl boots? Sign me up! Well ok, I admit we checked out the one in town first, but I didn't fall in love with anything that cost less than $400, and cowboy boots are a little too much of a novelty up here in the Northeast to justify that much money!
Callahan's was GREAT! Totally down to earth, with a great sense of humor in the home decor section (yup, they had one of those, too!) Another place you definitely need to check out if you're in the area! I didn't take any pictures inside because some stores frown on that (though this didn't seem like one of those places!), but there's a video on their website if you want to take a peek.

But all of that was a bonus to the fact that I walked away with these beauties for under $150, which is just about what I'd been hoping to pay! And they're SOOOO comfortable. I wore them pretty much non-stop for the next 72 hours with nary a blister or rub-spot to show!

And that included an immediate trip out country dancing in them! The same taxi driver who, on our first day, told us about Arjon's salsa club, also told us about Cowboy's Dance Hall for some authentic country dancing, and I was DETERMINED to go before we flew out the next morning at 7:30 AM!

So I roused hubby at 9:30 that night, put on my new boots and dragged us off to do a little cowboy dancin'! And we were both so glad we went!

The dance floor was huge, and had just the right amount of dancers on it so we felt fine going out and bungling through our version of the two-step (which was kind of a mish-mosh of a waltz, east coast swing, and polka!), but empty enough that we didn't worry about slamming into anyone. They even had a live band! A really, really good band! They're the red blur in the background there...

And look, actual cowboys! It was the perfect way to wrap up a surprisingly delightful first-trip to Texas!

Thanks to all the wonderful Texans who helped show me just how wrong I was about that state!

1 comment:

Amy @MaisonDecor said...

Thx for your comment on my blog.I read quite a few of your posts. You seem to know how to enjoy life! I have TWO pairs of cowboy boots...but we buy them online at Grapevine Hill. A great pair of Luchese boots look just like yours that I got after we went to Wyoming and got all cowboy minded! Anyway, enjoyed your posts.