Texas is 100% the place to beat – I am so in love right now…
We woke up bright and early to free breakfast in the kitchen at the hostel, which was just the basics (tea/coffee, cereal/toast) but enough to see us through for at least a while. Abbie’s dad sent a list of things to do in Austin as suggested by his friend who visits frequently, so we picked what sounded like the best of the bunch and headed out.
In terms of getting around we had a few options. We could have walked, but didn’t want to with such high temperature and humidity. We could have taken taxi’s, but that would’ve been a bit of a strain financially. We could have taken the bus, but they take quite a while and get expensive when you need a few. Instead, we hired B-Cycles.
B-Cycles are Austin’s alternative to what we know at home as Boris Bikes. They cost a flat rate daily and you can pick up or drop off on almost every block around town. Compared to most bicycle hire companies they’re pretty cheap too, so it was an easy choice to make.
First on our list was Barton Springs, a natural spring maybe two miles from our hostel. We cycled there and found that we could either pay $8 and swim in the sectioned off bit with lifeguards, or swim with the fishes for free. Of course we went for the more exciting option:
That’s not mouldy water by the way it’s a very shallow bit which just drops suddenly, so much so that I could only touch the floor in a few areas.
We stayed there for a few hours until we got hungry, then took a quick selfies before going on a hunt for food:
Throughout the morning we asked a few people for suggestions as to what we should eat and everybody said the same thing, whether for lunch or dinner, regardless of day or time, Terry Black’s BBQ is apparently the place to go. It was pretty far away but how could we say no after numerous people all give us exactly the same feedback?
We ordered 1/3lb of brisket, four ribs, one jalapeno sausage, macaroni cheese, spicy rice, green beans and potato salad, with unlimited pickle, onion and bread as sides:
I know it might sound like I’m exaggerating but it was without doubt the best eating experience I’ve ever had. I never eat slowly, but spent nearly an hour putting everything away this time because I enjoyed every bite so much. It didn’t get boring either – usually it’s quality or quantity, but this was both and then some. We didn’t get up to leave for ages after we’d finished because the thought of moving was painful, but had to be done at some point, although not until after a few cups of ice tea to keep our energy and hydration levels high.
On the way to our next stop we passed a shop with the same surname as me:
I was half tempted to go inside and be like ‘hi guys I’m Somogyi’ to see if I got a reaction, but we had better places to be.
Next on our list was the Texas State Capitol, which contains the offices and chambers of the Texas Legislature as well as the Office of the Governor, and is genuinely one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve ever seen:
We took a guided walking tour and learned all about the history and development of the building, visiting all four floors as well as the basement extensions in the process:
On the way home we stopped at Congress Bridge again, after learning that it is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. Rumour has it that of an evening the bats could be seen leaving the bridge, so we waited, and we waited, until finally they all made a move. The below picture isn’t the clearest, but the black bit that looks like smoke above the trees is in fact 1,500,000 bats:
Then as we turned away, the sunset couldn’t go unnoticed either, look:
When we got back to the hotel, after one of the longest days we’ve ever had, the receptionist had some bad news for us. It turns out that the B-Cycles we hired cost $8 per day, but have to be ‘checked in’ every half hour to avoid further charges. We had ours for probably six hours with no checking in at all, so panicked and sent an email of apology immediately.
It was 23:00 by then though, so we knew we’d have to wait for a response. Not ideal!
Streets of Nuremberg on I guess I should probably wrap… Streets of Nuremberg on Days 363 & 364 – Sat… danstravelling on Days 355 & 356 – Fri… David Parkes on Days 355 & 356 – Fri… danstravelling on Days 345, 346 & 347…