Austin Texas and my SXSW visit

Last week I spent in Texas. Austin to be exact. I’ve never been to Texas before and only been to the USA once, last year. Unfortunately last year was not my finest time but that was not due to the people or the places I visited, New York and New Orleans, but the fact I was exceptionally poorly through the whole visit.

This year I was asked if I’d like to join my work colleagues in the USA again, or had my journey last year put me off. Obviously not as I jumped at the chance to visit again.

The journey to Austin from the UK is surprisingly easy. Manchester airport to Heathrow (where I became a Heathrow rewards member just in case I get to travel lots again) and straight from Heathrow to Austin.

The only place I got lost at all was at Heathrow which is an awful place to get about. Sorry Heathrow.

Austin is a fabulous place. The airport I found very easy to traverse and is exceptionally clean. The staff all seemed very happy, and on the way back, one took the time out to bandage my finger for me as I was pretty bloody after catching it on my bag trying to lower the handle.

I was told the airport is quite new and an old air force base. Just one structure, so short walk to all gates at either end.

Austin is wonderful. A modern city overtaking a village, but still with the village mentality. Friendly, clean, with a feeling of safety even when walking through SXSW visitors, alone. I adored it there and, if my life was different, this is a place I’d live in like a shot! I felt at home from the moment I got there. I was driven out for two days by two wonderful friends, so managed to see outside the city. It was everything I’d hoped for.

One day I visited The Oasis by the Lake. The view is spectacular! The company was wonderful. The food? Nah….. But somehow it was not important.

♥The view at The Oasis

One place I visited twice to eat . Once with work colleagues and once on my own on my final day, was a restaurant called Anthem, and if you ever get to Austin, I highly highly recommend the food here. Hence my second visit 🙂

‘Miso Mac Daddy’, the most moreish taste from my visit at Anthem’s

I stayed in the Fairmont hotel, a new, modern but with classic touches, 5 star hotel. The breakfast waiter looked after me very well, pandering to my requests on the first morning of egg on toast. After that I found out about blueberry muffins….. egads I’m ruined 🙂

Fairmont Hotel

I only had two gripes about my stay there. Unfortunately, as a child my family and I lived in a hotel whilst waiting for our house to be built. I learned to expect a certain standard of care. If you ask for something, and are paying a huge amount of money for the service, then you get that something. I was promised it twice… The second time waiting up for it to arrive. No show. When I advised another member of staff about this he was admittedly very fast to rectify the situation.

The receptionist who made the two promises, and reneged on them, also made me feel very uncomfortable at one stage. I had thought I had no coffee maker although had been told I had one. I had asked a colleague where theirs was, but they hadn’t known so I asked the receptionist. He came back up with me, and it turns out my door had been stiff so I’d thought it didn’t open. Sure enough, there was a coffee maker, with the most disgusting coffees I’ve ever tasted in my life… But that’s personal taste as I’m not a lover of espresso anyway. Anyway, to get back to the story, when I said thank you and went to let him out, he hovered and said that he really fancied a coffee right then……..

Now I’m too old and sensible to think that was a come on, and later I realised he may have been waiting for a tip, but at the time, tired from a long flight, it made me very uncomfortable suddenly realising I was in a strange place, in a strange room, with a guy not going out of the door. He went. All was well and he probably meant no harm at all… In fact I’m sure he didn’t, but ugh!

Room Service

The second thing about the hotel was I booked a late checkout as my car was not arriving to take me to the airport until 5 in the afternoon.

But I get two knocks telling me to get out before I’m due to leave. One by a lady and the second, frighteningly, by what looked like security! Not impressed. The lovely stay marred by the feeling that, okay we got your money now go!

SXSW was fabulous. Noisy, busy, hectic, just like it should be. The music was 80% amazing and 10% huh? I won’t go into the other 10

If you get the chance to go to SOUTH BY SOUTH WEST then I recommend doing so

Crazy us looking for food

Food bars were everywhere. The food in Texas is wonderful as a whole, even for us vegetarians. But don’t visit Lambert’s. Or, if you do, beware, there is one waitress there who appears to think vegetarians should only eat fish or salad. Another bad experience… Patronising much… I’ve not had someone look down their nose at me since school.

So a huge thumbs up to Austin as a fabulous place to visit. To all the Texans who made the visit so memorable, THANK YOU!!!!!!

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