Monday, March 28, 2011

We're back (no astro today).

Back in the saddle again!

Not wishing to bore passing readers with too many details of our trip, I'll condense this post into some "special moments" much for my own delight on future reading really, but y'all are very welcome to share.

Instead of heading directly for our destination - Austin, Texas we travelled southward around 360 miles, then 80 miles west of Austin to take a look at Fredericksburg and Luckenbach, with a couple of stops to investigate antique stores on the way. "Special moments" often happen during chats to antique store owners/assistants. This time we met a 92-year old lady in charge of her store, whose son was in Tokyo when the earthquake hit.

In another store, the lady proprietor told me she had been married to an Englishman and had lived in London years ago; they'd split up, but she still visits London's Camden Market twice a year to bring back antiques for her store. We exchanged views on how different is the lifestyle of ordinary folk both here and there. On hearing my accent these friendly souls all begin a converastion with "Where are y'all from then?" I usually say that we live in Oklahoma now, but I come from England. One assistant asked, "How do you like Oklahoma? Do you have a ranch?" Enquiree, who as it happens hightailed it out of East Yorkshire when aged 18, in order to avoid marrying a farmer's son, stifled giggles sufficiently to smile and shake her head.

Fredericksburg itself didn't provide many "special moments". It wasn't exactly as I had imagined, and turned out to be a wee bit touristy. There was German influence there via a few German eating places, two of which we sampled. The mix of Texas, Mexican and German had gelled into a rather odd mixture. Problem with German food (as, similarly, with Italian) is that original ingredients aren't easily available in deepest Texas, or in most other states for that matter.

Luckenbach provided more of those "special moments". Made legendary by the song (as in video in previous post), I've wanted to see the place for years. It's teeny-tiny, not even a village. A stone mason's installation billed laughingly as "uptown Luckenbach" was the first thing we saw after a 12 mile rural drive from Fredericksburg. The stonemason is an artist and engraver too, and specialises in engraving pictures for tourists. He engraved our names onto a beer bottle with a "happy birthday" message for my husband. His signature avatar is a "fast armadillo" drawn at lightning speed with the engraving tool. We bought one of his small pieces of engraving after chatting with him for a while. His grandparents had come to the USA from Germany long ago, he was born in the cottage next door. A sweet and happy guy.

A little further down the road we found Luckenbach proper - mainly composed of a saloon and outdoor tables where local musicians gather and jam together most of the time - afternoons onward. It was around 5.30pm, a small crowd had gathered, with three or four guitarists and singers "doing their thang". This was a special moment for me. A beautiful cockerel roamed the site, flew up into a tree to crow during each break in the music. On to Austin next, for a series of "special moments" with my husband's daughter, granddaughter and great-grandson, born 9 months ago.

Austin guitarist (excellent one too), Gary Shackelford, played outside the restaurant where we all ate a late breakfast.

As it's Music Monday - a sample:

Up Mount Bonnell, overlooking the city, with husband's daughter on our last evening. After negotiating a longish flight of stone steps we were greeted with a sunset about to happen, and a group of musicians making a video.

Pic below shows two Sun Aquarius-types doing what Sun-Aquarius types are supposed to do: consider the universe, the meaning of life and all that stuff !

The weather was peculiar. In Austin on Saturday temperatures hit the low 90s, but on Sunday, from 150 miles north of Austin we found it a shivery 45 degrees or so for most of the day, and all the way home. A cold front had rolled in overnight. Now that's pretty darn extreme! The TV told us that in Georgia overnight they'd had 4 and a half inch hailstones - even more extreme!

(To enlarge a photo, click on it.)


Gian Paul said...

Nice "Impressions", thanks for sharing with us. The US is (fortunately) still a vast land with people having time to play their own instruments.

anyjazz said...

It was one of our best trips ever.

This is a good accounting. We covered a lot of ground and a lot of experiences.

Wisewebwoman said...

Oh I'm definitely going to send you on more road trips.
How very diverse this one was and the baby is gorgeous!

Twilight said...

Gian Paul, anyjazz, WWW ~~~

Many thanks. It was a happy trip filled with special moments. :-)

R J Adams said...

I didn't even know you'd gone. The Adams's household has had a yellow quarantine flag flying from the proverbial turret this last week due to sniffles that turned into chest infections.

I enjoyed the account and the photos. Welcome back.