"To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted." -- Bill Bryson

Thursday, February 24, 2011

New Trip: Officially Planned?

Well I finally have a much more realistic plan for the $500 gift card I won at my Christmas work party. After two months of halfheartedly looking up plane tickets to here or there, I came upon an idea that is now beginning to take shape.

While Belize, Scotland and Boston were all front-runners, none of these ideas were coming together. A quick shopping trip two days ago though gave me my inspiration for my next trip. I bought a new bathing suit and it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn't taken a simple beach vacation in years. These simple beach vacations had never even been a trip planned by me. I suppose my normal travel "style" involves going and seeing a lot of stuff and never leaving myself any time for some old-fashioned relaxation. So I decided that I should go to a beach. Before the day ended I had narrowed it down to Miami, Tybee Island (in Georgia) or L.A.

I mentioned this idea to my good friend, Nyla, who took the idea and ran with it. Next thing I knew, she had found cheap tickets (we're looking at about $320 round trip) to LAX. Conveniently, she has a travel voucher at Hotwire, making the planning process all the more easy.

So that's where the plan stands as of now. I first have to hear back from work with the go ahead to take a vacation. Then the exciting parts: figuring out the details! More to come on this.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

San Francisco: The Final Day

The worst part of this day is having to wake up and return the bikes. I wake up before everyone else and sneak out to get a coffee and some alone time at the Atlas Cafe that Sarah and I went to the other morning. It's just barely on the verge of being chilly, so it's perfect to sit outside in the sun while I sip on my coffee. By the time I get back, Sarah's ready to being our next adventure. We ride just a couple blocks to a bus stop and hop on the 33. We have to stick the bikes on one of those fold down bike racks that sits on the front of the bus that look a little something like this:

So we ride happily on the bus...until it stops at the last stop on the line...which isn't ours. As it turns out, we took the bus in the entirely wrong direction. In our defense, the buses are incredibly confusing. You see, in Austin every bus has a number to tell you which line it is. It also has the name of its final destination so you know that you're headed the right way. This bus was just called 'Stanyan.' Stanyan was the street we were trying to get too, hence why we thought it was going in the right direction. Luckily, buses travel in a big circle, so no harm, no foul. We eventually get going again and head (finally) in the right direction. It's actually quite neat because we get to see so much more of the city. We reach our stop, return the bikes and hop back on the bus to return to Rachel for our last meal before departing.

After Rachel joins us we decide to try a different Mission burrito place. We head to El Farolito. This is Hol's favorite burrito place; but hands down Papalote wins the best burrito contest. The burritos at El Farolito are just too greasy! We finish our lunch and head back to Rachel's place for our goodbyes. It is sadly time for us to make the trek back to Austin. We part ways, hop back on the BART and finally back to Austin. Adios, San Fran