After 12 hours in a car and 850 miles, we have arrived at our first destination: Austin, Texas. As we left St. Louis our conversations morphed from excitement that we were traveling, to being nervous about Rachel’s first day of work. However, after a few stops on the 12 hour drive to boost our morale and after driving through downtown Austin, all of Rach’s pre-work anxiety had evaporated and she was listing all of the places we had to eat and things we had to see.
Driving from St. Louis to Austin was no easy feat. Which is why we decided to stay with some friends in Dallas on Monday night to break up the trip. They took us out to eat at a place called Mi Cocina which was a traditional Tex Mex restaurant. I definitely feel like we need to try a few more Tex Mex places to have a true opinion on this type of cuisine, but one thing I can say for sure is that Texans are much better at making salsa than Missourians! After dinner we went to a place called HG Supply which offered us an illuminating view of the Dallas skyline. We didn’t try any food here, but judging by the aromas coming from the kitchen I bet the food is fantastic.
Travel Tip: The best route, in our humble opinion, from St. Louis, MO to Austin, TX to to take I-55 S to US-67 in Festus which will take you south into Arkansas. Once you reach Little Rock, AR, you merge onto I-30 W which will take you to Dallas, TX. This route allows you to stay on 4 lane highways (for the most part), and keeps you away from paying the Oklahoma tolls. Click here for a map.
The next morning we woke up early and headed to Austin. On the way we stopped in West, Texas at the Little Czech Bakery. This small, unassuming shop is connected to a gas station. When we walked through the doors we felt like two kids on Christmas morning! There were approximately 18 feet of bakery shelves full of kolaches. If you don’t know what a kolache is it’s a traditional Czech pastry made with a light, sweet dough. Much to our delight The Little Czech Bakery had both sweet and savory options, which we felt were both necessary to indulge in. If you are ever in the area this place is an absolute must! After eating our kolaches and going back for more we hit the road again and headed to Waco, Texas to stop at Magnolia Marketplace in hopes of running into Chip and Joanna Gaines. Unfortunately, we seemed to have picked the wrong day to be at Magnolia’s because Chip and Joanna were in New York. Rach is still getting over this. Even if you don’t know who Chip and Joanna are or you haven’t seen The Fixer Upper this was still a very unique place to stop. We were surprised by all there was to do. With foodtrucks, a bakery, a home décor shop, and an open playing field in the center of the grounds there is definitely something for everyone at this place. Magnolia’s was also right off of highway 35 and was a easy stop for us to stretch our legs.
After Waco it was time to drive into Austin. We were both surprised at how small the city felt. St. Louis is so incredibly spread out that it was a breath of fresh air to be able to drive from one end of the city to the next in a very short time (however, we have learned this is only true if there is not traffic). We arrived at our airbnb, unpacked, and found the closest grocery store. By the time we finished we were both exhausted and turned in for the night so we were have energy to explore the city the next day.
On Wednesday, the moment we walked outside and felt the 95 degree Texas heat we knew exactly what we wanted to do for the day: go swimming at Barton Springs Pool. After taking a quick spin past Heart Hospital of Austin, so Rach would know how to get to work on Monday, we headed towards Zilker Park and Barton Springs pool. The pool is completely spring fed by blue, cold water and is partitioned from the neighboring creek keeping the water fresh and clean. With the water temperature being 72 degrees it was the perfect way to cool down on such a toasty day.
So far, Austin hasn’t disappointed us! We’re both really excited for this new adventure, but are also humbled at the idea that not everyone has this opportunity. We’re looking forward to sharing our travel and nursing adventures with our friends and family through this blog. Stay tuned to see what else we’ve discovered in Austin!