For spring break (a few weeks back), I took a few of the days available, and I headed down I-35 to see my friend Carla in Austin. She lives about 3.5 hours away from me, which is approximately 3.5 hours too far away!
Not only is she one of my oldest friends, she has one of these...
John Ross has one of the cutest little arsenal of questions ever asked by any 5 year old. I love to listen to him talk, explore life, and then attempt to explain it to me.
Carla (and her husband) also own this....
There is a Flintstone cartoon missing a baby. I heart this little girl. Alexis is full of smiles, and cuddles. I got to spend some time alone with the kiddos playing Toy Story Yatzee with John, and later holding this...
while she slept in my arms for an hour...or two. I love kids, in particular these two, and I'm grateful Carla shares them with me when I come to visit. It was a short visit b/c I have a (too) full schedule, but a few years back I decided to really put forth an effort into visiting the people who mean the most to me, and cutting back on the things (and people) distracting me from being a good friend to people that know me...and love me despite the knowing. So...even if it's a short visit, I go as often as I can...which is STILL not enough.
We spent the day at an Austin area Y climbing waterfalls, and throwing rocks. Waterfalls, and water, springs, and limestone....so 'Austin.'
Carla is a really laid back Mom, and one of my favorite things to do is parent watch. I like to see how each friend interacts with their kiddos. I'm doing a scientific investigation. Everyone's approach is different, but they come from the same place, but Carla definitely ranks up towards the top.
Carla's husband headed home after work (eww, work) and we went out to dinner at the Salt Lick. Yum. I recommend the sausage sandwich.
The great thing about Austin (all the great things would take waaaay longer than one post to cover) are all the really awesome natural features (lots of caves, and fresh springs thanks to it's location on a fault line, that incidentally separates the Texas hill country from the prairies). I've blogged about trips to see one of the biggest bat colonies leave their home at dusk, and a visit to (nearby) Luckenbach, but this time we spent some time on my second day in town visiting Aquarena Springs in San Marcus (about an hour South of their home).
This spring fed area is an old resort that 'used to be.'
My great grandparents honeymooned (via train) and swam here about 85 years ago, as did my aunt and uncle (30 years ago).
There used to be resort hotels and cottages all along the springs, a gondola ride above the springs, a swimming pig/and diving show...
...you enjoyed from a seat in this submarine theater...submerged.
The thing that IS still here, other than this gorgeous little water source are glass bottom boats.
We took a ride, of course. You can see straight down to the bottom where bubbles from the springs are constantly moving, and old archaeological dive sites are still marked off (this spring has been used prior to the Spanish explorers investigating the state, and each time line visitor left a piece of themselves when they came through to freshen up their horses).
We also saw fish, turtles, and scuba divers swim around below our boat.
This spring area is kept up thanks to the local university students.
I love and hate spending time visiting Carla. I love everything about it...until it's over. I wish that fault line would move again (gently!) and create less of a track from my house to hers.
While I was blogging this journey, I searched old post, and I got to relive some old visits, and smile....and now, I'm adding this to my memory bank...AKA my blog to relive again when I'm missing Carla....and Chris...and John Ross...and Alexis...and lime stones, and everything else between here and there.