Published: March 4th 2009March 4th 2009
Along the Mississippi
Kati and I standing outside of the sushi place along the Mississippi River
Austin and Baton Rouge
Following the oversized attitude of Dallas, we were definitely ready for two towns like Austin and Baton Rouge.
After about a four hour drive from Dallas to Austin, we pulled up to the state capitol building and had our “touristy time.” We walked around the grounds, which were beautiful, and wondered inside, which was just as immaculate. We learned that the capitol building in Austin is 15 feet taller than the U.S. Capitol, which didn’t surprise us, that place was huge! We learned all about the portraits of past governors on the huge wall, and said “Hi” to George Bush’s picture. We got to stand in the middle of the huge dome and clap our hands for a very loud echo. We took a tour of the building and learned a LOT about Texas history (they sure do love their “country! Umm, I mean state….”) We then drove around the downtown area and Texas University. The stadium there was enormous, it definitely put CSU’s stadium to shame! (as do most stadiums) The campus was also a great sight to see and reminded us of our oh so wonderful college days.
We then made our way to
Matt making a face alongside these faces we found drawn on the side of Town Lake in Austin
stay with our first couch surfing hosts, Asli and Cameron! After meeting up with them and bringing our luggage into their quaint home, Matt and I made our way to a local hot spot along a huge lake. There were parks and trails lining the city lake so we took a nice stroll among hundreds of dogs and their owners. (End Kati writing and begin Matt). (Also just a quick side note from Matt and Kati…. Pet people are so weird… they don’t really pay attention to the other people there, they just pay attention to how fun their pet are and how cute it is that they are sniffing the other dogs butt.…. Anyways)
After leaving the park, Kati and I went to a local spot called the Galaxy Café for dinner. Kati was in heaven because they had sweet potato fries and delicious chocolate chip cookies. I had a mouth watering blue cheese, lettuce, avocado and bacon burger. Mmmmmm good! Kati and I then re met with our two hosts and went to a local bar with about 40 beers on tap. Asli and Cameron proved to be great hosts not only because of their kindness and hospitality,
Us and our new friends!
Matt and I with Kelley and Ben, our couch surfing hosts from Baton Rouge!
but also because of their wonderful taste in beer! Two of Asli and Cameron’s friends showed up, so there was plenty of conversation and story telling to go around. We closed the place down around 2 and then made our way back to their “treehouse apartment” to have a good night’s sleep. (Their apartment is located among a lot of old trees, but one in particular almost slaps you in the face when you drive into the parking lot, its branch is so low!) We left the next day for Baton Rouge, which was a 7 hour drive from Austin and we were ready for Louisiana and the amazing southern hospitality.
Kati and I were really nervous about the whole couchsurfing thing because we were unsure about what to expect. After meeting Asli and Cameron in Austin, we knew that this was a great way to see the country and meet some great people along the way. We arrived in Baton Rouge late Sunday evening and there we stayed with another couchsurfing couple, Kelly and Ben. I have never felt more comfortable in a foreign place as I did when staying with them. Kelly and Ben toured us around Baton Rouge, home of the LSU Tigers and riverboat gambling. They really had a lot to show us and were more than willing to take us around the town. We started out that night with a trip to the Mississippi river and a riverboat casino. Let me just say that I had much bigger expectations of the casino. This thing was freaking trashy and really creepy. The people, the boat and the atmosphere just, well, not very Vegas like….. at all. We then toured around the town and ended up at a local bar playing pool, drinking shots of whiskey, local beer, and having great conversation. Ben and Kellly had a fantastic room for us to stay in and the bed was maybe the most comfortable one we have ever slept in….. seriously. This thing was a cloud 9 bed. We had a difficult time waking up the next day due to the comfyness, but were excited to tour the town. Our first stop of the day was an old haunted plantation. Now, Kati loves being spooked and soaked up the stories and the tales of old slaves wandering around the plantation, and gloves being found in chandeliers, but I think it’s a bunch of crap and one of these days were going to stay there and ghosthunt. It was a great tour though and it really gave us a sense of southern history.
From there Kelly and Ben recommended a remarkable sushi place that overlooked the Mississippi River and what a recommendation it was! The sushi was phenomenal and not terribly expensive. We stayed for about an hour and a half and were then shown around the LSU campus. It is really gorgeous and makes me wish that CSU would get their act together. There is just so much history in this state and it seems as though every building or piece of land has a story.
We didn’t think that we would like Baton Rouge (which means red stick in French… we kept seeing all these shirts that said “red stick” and had no idea what they meant), but we really loved the charm of the city and the truly hospitable hosts that we had stayed with. We definitely have some new friends in Baton Rouge and are going to make it down there for an LSU football game sometime later this year (hopefully). New Orleans is about an hour or so away from Baton Rouge and is one of the sites that we have been looking forward to ever since planning this trip. We are couchsurfing down there as well with a guy named Mike and are truly looking forward to a tremendous experience there. We will probably stay for 3 or so nights and 2 full days. Kati and I are having an unbelievable time and a truly life changing experience already. I really don’t want to come back to work!!! ☺ We miss and love you all. Wish us luck in NOLA !