(Part 3 of my personal, non-techie report from my trip to #DrupalconNA in Austin, Texas)
I arrived on a Saturday at the lovely Austin International airport; friendly Diana from our Austin team was kind enough to pick me up at the airport and drive me to the fancy Hotel Ella where I spent my first night in Austin.
I was welcomed with the lovely words “and of course we have an upgrade for you” – something a traveller always loves to hear, especially after a 16+ hours trip. The room was nice, spacious (enough) and by the pool. Guess what, it took me less than 10 minutes to unpack (a bit, only staying for one night) and to jump in the cool pool. Fantastic.
Being a tad tired I decided to eat at the hotels very own Goodall kitchen & bar. Which proved to be a good choice, both on the food and drinks side. They served a decent steak (hey, I was in Texas, c’mon) and a fab Hefeweizen (it’s always fun to hear a non-german speaking person try to pronounce that..) from a nearby local micro brewery. Exactly what I needed and wanted. And so close…. it only took me a couple of steps to get back to my room. Where I fell asleep within seconds (exaggerating only a bit.).
Fast forward to Sunday morning. Decent brekkie at the hotel restaurant (for once) and then one of Hotel Ellas courtesy cars drove me downtown where I met some of my peeps who had brunch at the Moonshine.
What do you do on a Sunday afternoon in the US of A? Yepp, you go to the mall. So did I.
During the conference we AirBnB’ed right next to the conference center – one can’t be better located than on 301 East 4th street, all you need to do is cross the street and you’re there. Ryan’s got a perfect suite there.
The conference ended on Friday and we moved out of the AirBnB then – I moved on to (fanfare) the Driskill.
Built in 1866, located perfectly on 6th Street. Posh, classy, stylish (a tad expensive though, but hey it was the XGames weekend…). It’s been a while since I’ve been at such a nice hotel. I mean, really – look at this bathroom – have you ever seen anything like this? Quite posh, all black marble, huuuuge shower.
In a nutshell: if you ever come near – go inside and have a look at the lobby. And the bar. And the old safe room, left of reception. If you can / want to afford it stay there for a couple of nights.
Food: Barbecue. Outdoor food on Rainey Street. I’ve seen my fair share of US cities, but have hardly come across so much of (nice) outdoor places. Of course the good, warm, nice weather is adding a lot to the fun of outdoor places.
Also outdoors: the craziness of 6th street on weekend nights. Bar after bar after bar after bar (infinite loop). It reminded me a bit of the French Quarter in New Orleans, just a younger crowd. And different sound of course. Walking up and down 6th street was nice, but in the end “the scene” is pretty much people checking out other people checking out other people (two loops in one paragraph, that’s enough).
Being downtown as an European tourist also means: no car. Not that much of a problem as you can get around in downtown Austin walking or using one of the nice bikes available. The positive aspect of a “small city“. If you want to go a bit further the options are quite good too – Lyft and Uber came to town lately and compete with the local taxis – good disruption, y’all.
There are some nice steak houses down town (eh, barbecue every night? No way). I paid the Capital Grille a visit and left happy, a decent filet and, yes, yet another beer from a local micro brewery.
Being in a hotel in the US also translates into: you don’t want to have breakfast there (few exceptions like at hotel Ella) – if you’re downtown Austin chances are pretty good that you’re near one of the lovely Royal Blue Groceries. Go and have coffee (and a burrito maybe – always remember you’re down south).
The weirdest thing that happened to me? In the next post, my friend. Stay tuned for more.