I had to go to Austin last week for one day of meetings for work, so we decided Elie would join me and we would turn the trip into a mini-babymoon, one last vacation with just the two of us before the baby makes us a family of three.
I may be naïve and I may come back and eat my words, but I’m determined to continue to travel after Bubbles is born. There is still so much of the world to see and experience, and what better education for a child than to be immersed in foreign cultures and to meet and interact with people different from him or her? The kind of cultural understanding that comes from walking the streets of a place, sharing meals, and experiencing the kindness of strangers cannot be fully felt and understood through books, television or movies. You get that by seeing, smelling, hearing, sensing a place.
In light of the recent global tragedies, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to teach our child about peace, tolerance and kindness. Of how to counterbalance the anxiety and uncertainty in our world with curiosity, compassion and a search for understanding. I don’t want fear to prevent us from exploring, from discovering. Travel broadens our minds and our appreciation, makes us better people, I think.
So, I hope Bubbles will be a good traveler. Right now, he or she certainly feels like a curious child. Before this week, I could feel Bubbles moving, but this week for the first time, Elie and I could clearly see my belly contort as he or she moves, my stomach rippling and bulging against outstretched knees and elbows. The distinct punches and kicks have given way to what feels like an inquisitive exploration of movement—twisting, turning, poking, prodding. But my favorite is what feels like little curled fingers, stroking against the inside of my belly. In my imagination, Bubbles is sucking the thumb of one hand while contentedly finding comfort from reaching out and touching Mom with the other.
As I write this, I am one day away from 30 weeks, which means only about 10 weeks to go until we meet this sweet baby of ours. We can’t wait.
A Babymoon in Austin
If you’re planning a babymoon, or vacation, to Austin, here are some tips on where to stay and where to eat. You can also see more recommendations in my previous post on Austin, here.
Where to Stay
Hotel San Jose Located right on South Congress, Hotel San Jose provides the perfect home base for exploring Austin. The sparsely-decorated rooms house really comfortable beds, which is important if you’re pregnant. If you’re not pregnant, the outdoor courtyard is a perfect place for a cocktail.
Travaasa About 30 minutes outside of Austin, Travaasa is like adult camp, only with way better beds and food. At this luxury spa retreat, you have access to a daily menu of activities, from guided hikes and meditation and yoga to a challenge course, giant swing and archery. Or, you can choose to get a massage, nap and lie by the gorgeous infinity pool.
Where to Eat
Texas French Bread is a great neighborhood spot for breakfast, and you’re almost guaranteed a table, even on the weekend.
Franklin Barbecue still garners an unbelievable line, even during the week. This was our second time, and it’s still worth it. If you like barbeque, you should go. This time, we showed up at 9:15 a.m. and took turns walking until we placed our order at 12:30. The brisket is a must.
Foreign and Domestic is the kind of restaurant you wish you had right around the corner from you. Casual atmosphere, friendly service, an open kitchen and smiling chefs making really delicious, creative, Southern-inspired food.
Odd Duck is another casual ‘gastropub’ serving perfectly executed small plates. I made notes on several of the dishes to recreate at home, including the pappardelle with lamb sausage, fried kale, broccoli stems and mint butter.
We stopped into the bar at the new South Congress Hotel for tea and dessert and we were not disappointed! Their pastry chef is good. The lounge has a great late-night atmosphere, if you’re looking for a quiet spot to enjoy a cocktail or something sweet.
Postscript: Qui makes every list of ‘must eat’ places in Austin. We liked it, but we didn’t love it. For that style of restaurant, we prefer Uchi or Uchiko. But that’s just us.