As full-timers we tend to spend a lot of time in smaller cities around the country. In the smaller cities we can stay near the center of town and do a lot of walking to places where we want to go. We get to know some people, find the great little places to shop and eat, and we always find something unique for that area.
Sometimes, though, we decide to spend some time in a place that is a bit bigger; like Austin, Texas. We spent a month there (near Lake Travis). The first week we were in Austin, we spent most of our time visiting places we don’t get to visit often as we travel around the country. The first place we went was Whole Foods Market. It seems that in our travels we rarely find ourselves near a Whole Foods. You can spend a whole day in a Whole Foods and not see it all—and, the flagship store in Austin is even more incredible! There are some things that we can only find at Whole Foods (or we have to order online), so we always make the trip.
The next thing we do is find a specialty health food store—there are a few things we like to purchase that Whole Foods doesn’t even carry. In most small towns, health food stores are non-existent (or they are a little vitamin shop that has a few things). In Austin, we were able to find a few health food stores, and a market that carried what we were looking for—Sprouts Farmers Market. I know, it sounds odd, but Sprouts carries some products we were looking for that Whole Foods did not have.
We also look for an international store. I’m not sure how to describe them, but these are those stores that have food items from all over the world and you can browse each part of the world by visiting that particular aisle. Our favorite of these stores is Talin Market in Albuquerque; we found that Fiesta Mart in Austin had what we were looking for. We were surprised to find the international section in Fiesta.
There were two other things we enjoyed about Austin—there were so many local places to eat, ranging from Sandeez Hamburger Hut to Hudson’s on the Bend; and even a quaint Irish place called The Emerald Restaurant. We also had a lot of options of things to do; one of my favorites is the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, where you can eat dinner while watching a movie.
We also visited with relatives who have full-time (plus) jobs, so live a different life than we do. They eat later and stay out much later. When living in campgrounds, pretty much all the activities that occur after dark happen in the campground, so we are not used to driving around a big city at midnight! We handled it, though.
While we always enjoy our stays in the big cities, and regularly take the time to go there, we also enjoy getting back to the places where we can get around a lot easier and things move a little slower.