Day 6: No! No no no! I feel like a toddler. You can’t have my city! You can’t make me leave! Everything outside of the window beckons me like a lover begging me not to go. Packing up the hotel is mindlessly efficient. I pack and go with a learned and rare skill. In spite of that fact my luggage is much more full than when I originally arrived. My partner had instructed on Texas exit that I should leave room in my suitcase but I underestimated just how much room. As we minimize what is left he mentions that the umbrella will just be thrown away if left behind which gets my brain working the way only mine does. I began collecting everything in the room that had use to someone but would inevitably be thrown away when left behind. I filled a shopping bag with; an orange, a juice, a muffin, a liter of water, multiple protein bars, an umbrella and a few other loose items. The bag was heavier than I expected but I knew it had a home out there so I prayed over it and set it in my carry pile.
The intention was to start our day off with coffee recommended by a friend of mine, who happens to be reading now from Russia, but in route we passed another stunning church that I just needed to pop into. I was not disappointed. It was breathtaking. The music far more grand then anything I’m used to hearing preformed. The structure and wholeness of the sanctuary just struck me. Churches in Austin Texas are all so presentation oriented. It is a live show that can, should be and is televised. Don’t get me wrong there is plenty to say about the efforts and the outreach of that particular practice but this, this church here, this is what speaks to me. Clean, simplistic and focus oriented you can’t help but be moved by the spirit. Before leaving I checked with staff for suggestions on the care package I was carrying. I was informed that I just missed someone that needed it but that there wouldn’t be too many steps between me and the next needy person. Usually, this statement is heartbreaking truth but today it would take quite a few (worth it) hours for some reason.
After humoring me far too long I finally joined my partner in crime for coffee “from” a friend. My enamored emotion for this city persists. This coffee is delicious! Everything this morning is fresh and delicious. We turn down the extraordinary looking pastries to cross off one more must on our list. Crepes in New York. Not surprisingly, the creperie that we stop into is equally phenomenal. It’s a small strip of retail that holds almost 5 bar stools and an order counter but those bar stools are just perfect for reading the Post and taking in the energy of the people on the street while we enjoy the smell of the wait for breakfast.
We decide to run to the financial district so that I don’t miss out on anything. I am excited but internally I know there’s no possible way to see everything I want to see in this small amount of time I’m spending in the city. I suppose that just means that I’ll have to return later this year for further, and longer, exploration. On the way we finally find a person in need of our care package and suddenly I am eight pounds lighter and moving a little more effortlessly through the crowds.
The woman we found dug in almost immediately so we were present to bear witness and we were both equally pleased to see our waste going to good use. Of course we passed almost a dozen needy people after that, such is the way of life. We arrived at the center of the financial district moments later and as usual, he was right. This was a must see. The sheer strength of the buildings was stifling. The ambiguity that lingered in the square behind the eyes of the employees mirrored by the restlessness of men in suits was palpable. And of course the tourists mounting the bull and coddling his balls reminded me of the exact reasons our financial district seemed so strained but I digress.
Today being our last day, and the fact that time was limited aside, we’ve decided to also utilize the One World Observatory tickets that were obscured in the beginning of our trip. We moved with the pace of a tourist running late to catch a flight and hustled our way to the entrance. We utilized our VIP passes and were up top in less than 10 minutes. There is a grand show unveiling the changes and the view with a theatrical comparison to a ride at Disneyland. But then the doors open and I love it! The rock was gorgeous but this view! Looking down onto these buildings! Looking down onto the water! I am aghast. I cannot believe the effort and integrity that went into building everything below me. Watching the Little League game play out 60+ stories below me I am mesmerized! I can’t even completely take in all that is outside those windows never mind beyond that horizon. It makes me wish for wings and time, lots of time. I can tell he hates to do it but my cohort gives me the signal. It’s time. We’re on the move once more.
We ducked into Francis Tavern and museum. Here we share a three continent new world whiskey flight while we wait our turn for the museum. Each whiskey I taste on this adventure introduces some new type of history or appreciation to me. I have learned a lot about my taste preference and even more about the work that goes into making my favorite sipper. We dart upstairs and explore the museum at a pace that honors our time restraints. The chronicled accounts displayed and the music is incredible! The way they honor the history of the flags is moving! The beauty and design of the memorabilia is shocking and inspiring. We briefly discuss the fallibility of the musket and reloading procedures versus the very real struggle of the 50 Cal current time, butter butter jam my friends. Reading as quickly as I could possibly read and snapping as many pictures as I knew how we hustle through knowing our flight was looming and there was still plenty more to squeeze in.
After the museum we grab a quick lunch at a renowned Mexican place while we gather our thoughts and ready for the flight. Watching out the window there’s a couple fighting. She’s waving her finger in his face passionately. He’s talking with his hands. The intensity of the city is undeniable. And I’m in love… Even with their aggression. The shrimp tacos were great but the sauce lacking because it was far too sweet for my taste. The margaritas were equally sweet and my meal changed focus to the un-matchable guacamole on the table.
Headed back to our hotel to claim our luggage he stops me and we dart into his favorite coffee shop. We definitely saved the best for last! By far my favorite coffee on the journey. Perhaps that’s because I was savoring it knowing it was my last here in the city. But it was definitely delicious! We hustle back to our hotel where we impatiently wait for our luggage from the bellhop. We grab the last of our souvenirs from shop next-door to the hotel. We hail a cab and begin to say our farewell to the city.
I don’t know how to describe the emotion I felt driving to the airport. It wasn’t the emotion of a goodbye. It definitely was not sad. There was a longing. For more time. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. I wasn’t ready to go. But I did have a feeling that I often have with the people in my life. A feeling of genuine connection. I knew that I would be back. I knew that it would be soon. The city took a piece of my heart that so few people and places can take. A week couldn’t have scratched the surface of my emotion for this place. The next time I return it will be for much longer to give back the piece of me that I owe the city.
In life’s perfect way of confirmation we flew home through Chicago where my feelings of “home” were continued. Something about that city and the way people play off each other was even on display in the airport. It just reaffirmed for me what it is I am in search of; city, culture, dynamic, music, art, imperfect chaos, sports camaraderie, and a constant fluidity in life’s day to day experiences. We ate at a burger joint in the airport that had decent burgers and beer. The people surrounding us were far more enamoring in my case. Then we popped into a bookstore for a much needed book. It would appear that our propensity for being one step ahead of the chaos curve this entire trip had us in every airport long before we needed to be and for a much longer time then necessary.
One last painless flight and we touched down in Austin. Exhausted, dehydrated and sore we both moaned our way off the tarmac, down the escalator and out into the once again stifling heat of Texas. I am struck by the fact that I lI’ve in one of the largest cities of the world and I have yet to explore it. I believe that I will now begin my goodbye Austin tour.
* as usual I love your feedback! The joy of this journey is sharing it with you. Please subscribe, comment, like and share. I’m looking forward to growing with you all! If you’re looking for more pictures check out Instagram at #SearchingNotLost And #GoodbyeAustinTour