Some of my fellow travelers located the Edinburgh Larder prior to the arrival of the rest of the group. The Larder offered wonderful, wholesome foods along with gluten free options. The folks who operate the Larder were helpful and nice to the visiting Americans. Best find: gluten free brownies. Stop by for a coffee and dessert. You won’t regret it. Wish I had taken a photo.
Tag Archives: Travel
Christmas 2009 brought the U.S. an unsettling reminder-airline security is not perfect. Unfortunately, the Obama administration fails to acknowledge, at least publicly, the words “terrorist” and “failure” of the security system. This morning, gossip and rumor, indicate that the bomber boarded that airplane without a passport. Seriously?
Mr. Obama’s policy of word parsing like many lawyers annoys and frustrates people who just want a facts and reality. In a courtroom, knit-picking and hair-spliting are perfectly acceptable behavior. Everyone in the courtroom, at least the lead actors, understand that the law is about the finer points of wording and phrasing. In the court of public opinion, however, the administration officials who dodge the use of the words terrorist and failure present as bobbing and weaving. Clearly, these people search for ways to avoid these words and fail to speak plainly.
Plain speech. Regular folks (those without law degrees or bureaucratic longevity) perceive that the administration is covering up something, hiding information and generally just lying to the public.
The Homeland Security Secretary said that the system worked because passengers stopped the attack. The general flying public is not charged with enforcing the laws of the skies. In fact, if the general public tried to enforce laws, they would be investigated and arrested because flight restrictions are so STRICT. The passengers reacted the way humans respond-fight or flight. Thankfully for the remaining passengers, some folks responded by fighting and self-sacrifice. Honestly, if the Obama administration’s view of success is relying on human nature, we’re all really in trouble.
As I returned from a short car trip, I began watching the NASCAR race today. As I read news stories and facebook postings by friends about the lack of gasoline in North Georgia, the car race rolls on at intense speeds with quick refueling and tire changes. Realize though that NASCAR uses a different type of gasoline than regular cars but the longer I consider the situation the sillier it becomes.
People have no gas to travel to work (or so they say) but advertisers and sponsors continue to promote and major t.v. networks display the massive waste of petroleum products. Did I mention all the people who traveled to Kansas for the race? How much gas was wasted to get there?
Practicality aside, I attended the Blackout last night, although unfortunately I was fully conscious of the events. 90,000 people attended and many of those people live in Athens, like me. How many traveled from Atlanta, South Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina? As a friend noted on facebook, they stole our gas upon leaving town today and last night. And they did. Is the local economic boost provided by these travelers worth the sacrifice of the black gold for those who live here?
How long will we as citizens, car owners, employees and consumers continue to have skewed priorities? When will understand that we must plan ahead and be practical about necessities? Seems like, not right now.
Sunday we rise with no real plan. After five bbq joints in four days, John recognizes that my tolerance is low. We follow the trail to Driftwood, Tx, and Saltlick BBQ based on the advice of our unknown local from Thursday.
Salt Lick in my opinion was the best barbeque. The meat tasted moist with the right seasoning. The sauce was excellent. I’ll be ordering some when I get home. Just a great meal. The service was slow and no sweet tea always creates trouble. But, Salt Lick was worth the effort and the drive.
As we drive back, the next stop on the itinerary LBJ museum. On the way we passed the University Football stadium. Amazing. The museum is interesting and the best part, free. My limited presidential library experience pales in comparison. (Carter library just not as functional.) The multimedia presentation provides a perspective on LBJ’s administration and life experience in general that perhaps I hadn’t appreciated before the visit.
Next to the largest state capitol in the country.
A statue of General Robert E. Lee draws our attention. Having recently read “Confederates in the Attic” we each pay a little more attention to the statues. The art work on this statue grabs my attention.
In person, those flags are beautiful. The granite work is spectacular.
Later we hit Encore Record Store. Finally, we ate at IHOP. Not haute cuisine, but it wasn’t barbeque. Following dinner, we traveled back to the Congress Street Bridge to watch the bat migration with half of the population of Austin. The sight of all those bats departing is impressive and difficult to capture with a photo.
After actually mailing postcards from Texas, we found Bookpeople, an independent bookstore. The store provided a wonderful stop for both of us. I bought two books. Very organized with helpful employees, the bookstore stocked an amazing variety of books mixed with popular fiction. A must-stop for book addicts in Austin.
Saturday morning, we check out of the four-star hotel to head for Austin via Lockhart. After a detour to the Alamo to purchase a t-shirt & hat for John, we depart for Lockhart, Texas-home of Kreuz Barbeque. Kreuz has been in the bbq business since 1900, in this building since 1999.
Inside signs warn (or brag depending on your perspective) “No sauce, No forks” and other mention no salads and no credit. They don’t mention no sweet tea, but they ain’t got any. The sausage is, for lack of a better phrase, granular and spicy. Not really something that I would recommend. John orders pulled meat with his ribs and brisket. The pull meat was very dry and spicy. John loves his order, I’m not impressed. He would live in Lockhart if given the opportunity. At some point, Scrivener’s Tomb will have a review of the establishments where we ate bbq.
Later, we check into the hotel and go to Stubbs, my choice. The place feels like Athens. John even comments that he keeps expecting that someone he knows will walk in and say hi. The food is good and the sauce is pretty good, too. I ordered the pulled pork sandwich and enjoyed it. The meat was alittle dry but tasty. The piece d’resistance-banana pudding. Amazing! (Not to mention an actual green salad with homemade bleu cheese dressing.)
Following dinner we walked around the area of Stubbs and drove to Waterloo Record store. The store had more vinyl in one room than I have seen since the ’80s. (excluding the personal collections of a couple of friends). I tired of searching for music on a medium which I have to access to play. We sought provisions at Whole Foods. I was in shock. The store was like a Kroger in the northern suburbs of Atlanta WITHOUT the preservatives.
After driving by the Congress Street Bridge, home to the largest urban bat colony, we decided that we would try Sunday night, just too many people and too dark.
So, Friday, we travel to the Market that used to be a farmer’s market but now sells Mexican kitshe. The variety is interesting. I decline to buy a piggy bank for any number of small children because I’m not sure how the parents would react.
Following the old Farmer’s market, we seek out Boerne (Pronounced-Birney) and the Riverside Market-a/k/a the old filling station with great bbq. While we apparently speak too fast and John’s order doesn’t materialize quite the way he ordered it. Perhaps we speak too fast…The sausage and sauce were splendid. The best BBQ I’ve eaten in Texas, so far. While we tell the proprietor how we found the place, another man in line says that when he travels to the area from California he ALWAYS eats at this place. The establishment looks like an old Shell station, white building with a red and yellow awning. A sign on the side of the building declares BBQ and sausage.
We take a short driving tour of Boerne. The citizens take pride in their town. None of the buildings look abandoned. It is a cute little town. We should stop and explore, but I want to float the River in downtown San Antonio.
The river cruise is not all it’s cracked up to be. We paid $7.75 for what was mostly an ad for certain businesses and skipped others. Although there was a nice history and explanation for the origins and rejuvenation of the riverwalk. I’d suggest an morning or evening tour. The afternoon was sweltering.
While we waited for the tour to start we shared dessert at the Iron Cactus. Black Label Kuluha Brownie ala mode. It was divine.
After the cruise, John departed for his show. I sought out food on the Riverwalk, without success. The mall billed on the river tour as “the nicest in San Antonio” did not meet my expectations. Later, a local indicated that in fact it was NOT the nicest mall. Overcrowded and rife with smelly, greasy food, I opted for the path of least resistance (and most expense) a pizza from the hotel’s “private dining.” It was good pizza, but not compared with what I paid for it.
On Wednesday, we left Atlanta via the WORLD’S busiest airport. Ok, maybe just the US’s busiest, but the population of the airport seemed to exceed the per capita space designated for capacity. AirTran was on time and we arrived at San Antonio Airport, thankfully not the busiest airport on time.
Through Hotwire, we ACTUALLY scored a four star hotel at a really great price. La Mansion del Rio is beautiful and on the Riverwalk. In lieu of valet parking at $28 per day, we opted for the public parking across the street, $7.50 day. Below is the evening view from our hotel room.
We ate dinner on the Riverwalk at Countyline BBQ. John ordered a sampler plate, and I sampled. The meat was pretty good but covered with sauce. I found it difficult to taste the actual meat due to the heavy taste of the sauce. Their sweet tea passed muster (they understand how to make the tea but not enough sugar.) The half loaf of bread was good. If you’re stuck on the Riverwalk and need a place to eat, Countyline would be fine. But if you’re hunting great BBQ, you might investigate other options.