After spending the night in a Super 8 in Oklahoma City it was time to head to the second largest state in the USA, which if it was it’s own country would be the 40th largest country in the world. Can you guess what it is yet? It’s the state where everything is bigger – Texas!
As Texas is such a huge state we’d given ourselves just over two weeks to get round it all and our first stop was Dallas. We arrived at our Super 8 in Garland and crashed for the night. The next day we were up and ready to explore the city. After a breakfast of Texas shaped waffles, our first stop was the 6th Floor Museum. The museum is homed in the book depository where the famous shots were fired from, that took out JFK. I had no knowledge of the details surrounding the assassination of the once president of the USA, but like Barry does with everything, he had a fascination with all the conspiracy theories surrounding it.
We entered the building and were given an audio tour to guide us round the 6th floor. The museum was set up on the 6th floor because this is where the shots were fired from. There were exhibits that informed us of the president’s life leading up to his death and all the events surrounding it. We got a glimpse of the spot where the shooter fired from and got to look out of the window towards the ‘X’ on the street that marks the spot where JFK was killed.
Once we’d spent an hour or so touring the museum, we made our way out to the street to see the famous ‘X’ and the grassy knoll where the crowds were sat, up close. Loads of people were out taking photos. They would run to the ‘X’ and quickly run back before the cars came racing down the road. Naturally Barry had to follow suit.
Next up we opted to see a bird’s eye view of the city, by making our way to the Reunion Tower. It’s a 561ft observation tower, which is part of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. By now, everyone should know that I’m not great with heights, but I’ve slowly been getting over my fear with all the vertigo inducing activities we’ve done such as skydiving, mountain climbing and glacier hiking. I was getting used to going up towers now to see views of cities and once up there I was fine. This tower was slightly different though. It had a glass lift. The one at Hot Springs also had a glass lift so I just stood facing the door with my eyes shut the whole time. This time I was determined to be brave. And I was. I stood by the door (not the edge) and looked out as we went up. I was nervous, but I made it! Once we got to the top, there was an observation deck indoors, but you could also go outside and walk round the tower. There was a fence that went up and over to ensure no one could base jump off it, but even where they’d had this previously I never had the courage to venture outside before. I did it once at the top of Notre Dame in Paris and was so petrified I swore I’d never do it again! But today I found some courage and went outside. I walked round the entire tower checking out the views.
Feeling very proud of myself, we made our way back down and went on the search for something to eat. Being a Sunday and in the middle of the city, our options were limited but we eventually stumbled across the Original Italian Café and Bar. We took our seats and were greeted by what I presume was the owner as he talked so enthusiastically about the menu and told us where he gets his supplies of lobster from. I ordered the Lobster Ravioli and Barry got a three cheese lasagne. The food was so delicious. My ravioli was stuffed full with lobster and the flavours were really strong. We were really glad that we had been able to find this place.
With our bellies fit to bursting, we wondered down to the Pioneer Plaza, which is a public park covered in the world’s largest bronze monument commemorating the 19th century cattle drive through Texas. It was a sight to see for sure and the sculpture just seemed so realistic, with the longhorn cows trampling through the stream. We spent a while taking some shots, but with the hot Texan sun beating down on us, we made our way back through the cactus lined streets to the car.
On the way home, we made one more stop at the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens. We’d been to a few Botanical Gardens on this trip, but I’d heard that this one had a special Fall exhibit and I wanted to check it out. After feeling liked we’d been ripped off by having to pay $10 to park at the gardens (it had only cost us $5 to park in Dallas for the whole day!) we made our way inside, after paying another $30 for the both of us to enter. Barry was sweating, not only from the heat but because we’d gone way over our spend budget for the day. He told me in no uncertain terms that we would not be eating for the next few days to claw it back! I was just praying that the gardens lived up to my expectations because if it ended up being a waste of money I’d never hear the end of it!
With the pressure on, I led us straight to the Fall exhibit – the Pumpkin Patch. Along the way the path was lined with pumpkins. Americans love Fall, everyone goes all out with the decorations and pumpkins play the biggest part. They have pumpkin flavoured everything – coffees, cakes, doughnuts, milkshakes. As we reached the exhibit, it was like a pumpkin bomb had gone off and scattered hundreds everywhere. There was an entire village made out of pumpkins. I was excited by it, but Barry took some convincing. He started off being a bit of a grouch, not wanting to have his photo taken with the giant orange vegetable, but pretty soon he started to see the amazing photo opportunities and got into the pumpkin spirit. All I have to do is make sure there are good photos to be taken and he’s happy anywhere. They didn’t just have the round orange kind of pumpkin, they had all sorts. White ones, brown ones, red ones, green ones, ones with bobbles all over them, ones with other pumpkins sprouting out the top of them. It was amazing.
Once we’d finished checking out the many pumpkins, we went for a walk around the rest of the gardens. They had a fabulous array of chilli plants, with all kinds of colours and shapes along with some very pretty water features and flower displays.
Barry got some great shots, so I think he’ll agree it was worth the money. But the parking was a rip off, especially as no one even checked if we’d paid!