After New Orleans, we spent a long day driving across Louisiana (including along the Lake Ponchartrain Causeway, the world’s longest!) and into Texas. Refineries sparkled around us in the night, mercifully irrelevant to our little battery-powered wondercar. Houston was a wild tangle of highways, a confusing mishmash of different kinds of neighbourhoods jammed up against one another, but also a really nice place with amazing food. We enjoyed our brief stay in a gorgeous, design-award-winning Airbnb, taking the opportunity to sample Houston’s beautiful downtown and the wide variety of communities surrounding it.
We have both been looking forward to Austin for years. It seems that people never stop talking about how great a place it is, how unusual it is, particularly in the context of deep-red conservative Texas. We stayed in a beautiful converted garage, exploring the city piecemeal over the course of a few days. We wandered the Texas Capitol and took in contemporary art at UT. We drove out to Longhorn Cavern, saw beautiful solar flower sculptures, and had the chance to catch up with friends from both halves of our relationship. We saw H’s friend Brandon and his husband Michael (who just happened to text H after landing for a short visit in the same city, without knowing where in the US we currently were!), and G’s fav former boss Kelly, her husband Stan, and their adorable baby JD. We’ll never forget the impression Austin left us as a progressive, exciting city leading the Vanguard for what Texas can be in the future…a sliver of hope during the nation’s dark days of the SotU and the infamous acquittal.