Texas hills, that is.
After a weekend in Austin for a Very Important Project (hope to report on that when I get some professional pix) we took a little meander so we could say we dipped our toes in the Hill Country. Half a day hardly qualifies me as an expert, but from what I saw, Hill Country is “hilly” in that it is slightly less flat than a greasy-spoon pancake. You will not be making mountains out of molehills here. Topography aside, what little we saw of it was absolutely charming.
It might seem a bit scrubby if you (unlike me) live someplace where it occasionally rains, but from what I hear, it is absolutely verdant compared to West Texas. Wide open country, every turn on the road offering a perfect set for a spaghetti western. We loved it.
Since our time was limited, we picked out one town to visit: Fredericksburg. It was founded by German settlers in 1846 and don’t you forget it: the town is hasenpfeffered with German restaurants. Since we rolled onto Main Street just in time for lunch, we were faced with the tough job of choosing which one was uber alles. We ended up at Der Lindenbaum, a quaint eatery named after Franz Schubert’s composition of the same name.
I don’t know where this restaurant falls in the Fredericksburg rankings, but it was easily the best German food I’ve tasted (disclosure: I have not been to Germany). The CE observed on his way to the restroom that all the cooks were Hispanic but they truly have a way with schnitzel and bratwurst. On a beastly hot day there was, of course, no choice but to start with a frosty glass of draft German beer.
And then move right on to the bratwurst, knackwurst, Polish sausage and homemade sauerkraut:
After that lunch, we needed a walk, so we strolled down Main Street a bit:
We were surprised to find an array of home goods stores stocked with furniture and home decor items at very attractive prices. We found a lovely piece of glass at the Talk of the Town gallery that someone will find under the Christmas tree if it doesn’t fit in our New York apartment…any takers?
Fredericksburg, Texas may seem an unlikely setting in which to find the National Museum of the Pacific War until you learn that was the birthplace of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet during WWII.
I don’t think you could find a more thorough treatment of the subject anywhere, and by that I mean that after an hour, we had extreme museum fatigue and had only seen about one third of the exhibits. The tip off should have been that the tickets are good for forty-eight hours, which is what it would take to really do justice to all that is there. I especially appreciated the compelling video presentation of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, “a date which will live in infamy”.
Among other artifacts, we saw an immense Japanese flag:
A door from the U.S.S. Arizona which sank in Pearl Harbor:
And an FM-2 “Wildcat” fighter:
But our most memorable sighting was of this gentleman, a member of the “greatest generation”, who we met at lunch. He told us that he was a B-29 navigator during the war. At age 94, he is a frequent visitor to the museum. It was an honor to thank him for his service:
We could easily have spent a couple of days in Fredericksburg and the surrounding Hill Country communities, but we had miles to go. And we probably didn’t need to indulge in another helping of schnitzel.
Next stop, San Antonio…