Two months have passed since my last post. There is no other way to put it: I failed again to update this blog. Work, work-related after work activities, gym, shooting range, happy hours… it’s not really about a lack of post ideas. I bet some out-of-towners had no idea one can get so busy in Austin, TX. Well, if you’re one of them, you should come have fun with us.
Here are a few updates, some of which fully deserve and will get an entire post later this month.
Austin is truly a great place for foodies. Plenty of good food and bars with incredible cocktails and innovative ideas. The Prohibition Creamery opened in July and mixes good food (ice cream, that is), excellent cocktails, and a great idea. It is offering boozy ice cream, or regular ice cream the bartenders can help you pair with cocktails. Definitely a must-try. Will definitely get its own post.
The sky has not deceived and has continued to provide excellent opportunities for oohs and aahs.
The Capitol is going through renovations and is as gorgeous as ever.
We love our tacos at every corner over here ;-)
Austin is a city with many murals that 1) change regularly but, 2) are not defiled by senseless graffiti.
Finally, this is Labor Day, so yours truly will be working a bit — yes, I do voluntarily make a point to celebrate labor the best way possible: not by doing nothing, that is, but by working of course!
I will stop here for today. Happy Labor Day to my American readers! Happy productive day to the others ;-)
Wishing everyone a very Happy Independence Day!
Whether you are traveling to see family, are joining in a Fourth of July party…
…or participating in the reading of the Declaration of Independence, I wish you all a good time.
The few pictures posted in this post were taken during a Fourth of July party I attended two years ago in a small community in Central Texas.
And this is part of my menu for today:
Wishing you all a Happy Fourth of July!
I am back in Austin, Texas – Yeah! I moved back from Washington, DC in the first days of May and started my new job early in May. Life is good. I am also eager to go back to writing and blogging now that I have settled back home.
The blog turned 4 years last May 6. Granted, posting has been a bit sporadic a lot of times, but it also means that I’ve now been in the U.S. for almost 5 years. I kept myself busy, and I loved it!
I’ll go back to my time in the Washington, DC area, but here are just a few of the things I’ve seen since I’ve been back in Austin.
You guessed it, gorgeous sunsets and sunrises:
What about you? What exciting things have you seen or done this spring so far?
This is one of the peaks of the past nine months I’ve spent in Washington, DC. I was eager to see the famous cherry blossoms around the tidal basin, near the Jefferson Memorial. They have reached peak bloom this past weekend, and that was absolutely lovely.
So yes, my promise to write my first post in 2016 from Texas is now gone. The back and forth between Austin and DC has stopped until I go back to Austin for good, in a few weeks. More on this in a later post.
For now, let’s go back to spring in Washington, DC.
The Cherry Blossom Festival originates from a gift of 2,000 cherry trees that the city of Tokyo made to Washington, DC in 1912. On March 27, 1912, First Lady Helen Herron Taft and Japanese Viscountess Iwa Chinda, the wife of Sutemi Chinda, Japan’s newly appointed ambassador to the United States, planted the first two trees. In 1965, First Lady Lady Bird Johnson accepted an additional 3,800 trees. The first festival took place in 1927, was expanded to three days in 1934, and to two weeks in 1994.
The U.S. reciprocated the gifts, sending Japan flowering dogwood trees in 1915. In 1981, DC arborists sent cuttings from the newly American cherry trees following the destruction of Japanese trees by a flood in Japan.
The cherry blossoms are of course especially impressive around the Tidal Basin, but you can find many in the entire region. According to some figures, more than 1,000 cherry trees were planted in recent years in the region.
Horticulturists from the National Park Service monitor different stages of bud development to be able to give an estimate of when the cherry blossoms will reach peak bloom. But of course, this is not an easy job. This year, the initial forecast was for early April, but was adjusted a few weeks ago and moved forward after warmer than usual weather.
In conclusion, the region is incredibly beautiful when spring comes, and well worth a visit.
As you can see from the pictures, there were a lot of people (I read that 1.5 million people come to see the cherry blossoms each year), and the weather was not sunny, which was challenging to come up with good photographs. Hopefully though, they will still give you an idea of the beauty of the event.
Source of information & additional links:
– National Cherry Blossom Festival
– This Day in History: March 27, 1912 – Japanese cherry trees planted along the Potomac
– Cherry Blossom Watch
– Cherry Blossoms in 360°
I had planned to write a more elaborate post to end the year, but time is simply missing, so instead of rushing something, I will write what I wanted to write next year now… which actually is just in a couple of days (literally).
I’m flying back to Texas to start the New Year there :-)
I wish you all a very festive New Year’s Eve and an excellent New Year 2016, filled with happiness, health, and what your heart desires!
See you next year!
I’ll spend Christmas in Washington, DC this year, away from home. I have seen plenty of gorgeously – or outrageously – decorated houses in north Virginia, but of course the big attraction is the National Christmas Tree near the White House.
Although nice, I must say that the tree paled in comparison to the Rockefeller Center tree and its decorations in NYC, or even the decorations I could see in Texas (I’m pretty sure Austin’s Capitol’s Christmas tree last year was at least the same size).
Here are some pictures and a little bit of history behind the tradition.
Ninety-two years ago, the Ellipse, south of the White House, received its first Christmas tree.
In 1923, President Calvin Coolidge, the 30th President of the United States, lighted the National Christmas Tree on Christmas Eve in front of 6,000 visitors. The 48-foot fir tree was decorated with 2,500 red, white, and green electric bulbs.
Every year after that, in times of peace and war, Washington, DC would repeat this tradition.
This year, the National Christmas Tree is decorated in honor of the National Park Service Centennial, in sparkling gold and silvery white, the colors used for milestone celebrations.
For the 7th year in a row, it is illuminated by LED lights. There are about 600 LED net lights and icicle lights for a combined 6,000 watts. The lighting has been provided by General Electric for 53 years.
The lighting ceremony took place on December 3rd this year, and is available online if you are interested.
There were also model electric trains all around the tree.
The National Christmas Tree is surrounded by smaller Christmas trees decorated with ornaments made by “ordinary Americans, representing every U.S. state, territory and the District of Columbia.”
Here is the Christmas tree for New York, and an ornament.
And here is the Christmas tree, along with ornaments, for Texas.
Not too far, there was also a Nativity scene, and of course, the White House.