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Old 26 Sep 15, 05:00 PM  
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CrispyA
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Join Date: Oct 11
Howdy Texas! Day 13 Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose

The Austin Motel didn't serve breakfast but luckily, we were a short walk from Jo's - which seems to be THE place to get coffee. As we had eaten so many huge breakfasts on this trip, it was a nice change to have something different - we had coffees and either a muffin or a cinnamon roll. However, this being Texas, everything was pretty large. Look at the size of this cinnamon roll!



The coffee was so good and we enjoyed a bit of people watching while we had our breakfast.

Armed with an Austin bus map, we set off to explore the centre a little. We got day passes for the buses and got off near the State Capitol building. We walked around the back of it, posing for a silly picture, before heading to the main entrance.



After the obligatory bag check and metal detector, we went into the Capitol building and joined a tour that had just started. The tour covered some of the history of Texas as a state and went into the Senate and House of Representatives chambers.



The Senate chamber has paintings on the walls depicting the battle of the Alamo and San Jacinto - a famous defeat and a famous victory - and was also the chamber in which Wendy Davis spoke for 11 hours in an amazing filibuster to protect women's reproductive rights in 2013.

The tour guide was really knowledgeable and happy to answer questions from us on how American politics works. We also got to see the Statue of Justice from this angle.



After the tour, we had a look in the shop and I treated myself to a cuddly bat because, well, bats! We then walked a few blocks to the Chick-fil-A that I'd found on the map earlier - because we needed to try it and we'd been thwarted so cruelly in San Angelo! Plus we love the Brad Paisley/Carrie Underwood song "High Life" that talks about Chick-Fil-A . . .

It was very busy and clearly very popular and we all enjoyed our food - particularly the waffle fries. And they do salads for the veggies!

We were near the University of Texas (home of the Longhorns football team) and there were plenty of orange Longhorns shirts and hats around. We had a little wait for the bus but enjoyed the people watching around the area and then a nice ride on an air-conditioned bus! Austin was incredibly hot and very humid and we were finding it hard work to walk too far.

Back at the motel, we collected the car and set off again, sat nav loaded with a list of residential locations. The reason for this was Friday Night Lights - we are big fans and it was mostly filmed on location in and around Austin. I had found a website that listed the major locations, so off we set to find them. If you've never watched the series, this will mean nothing, but if you have watched it, you should recognise these places.


Coach Taylor's house


Tim Riggins' house


Matt Saracen's house - we got most excited about this one as it is so recognisable!


Vince's house


Taking a knee on the East Dillon Lions Field - Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!

We didn't get to the Dillon Panthers field as that is a little way out of town, but we did really enjoy driving around and spotting the locations - plus being in an air-conditioned car was very pleasant!

Edited at 02:47 PM.
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Old 26 Sep 15, 05:12 PM  
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CrispyA
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Back on South Congress, we parked up and headed to Amy's Ice Cream, which was just across the street from the motel. It had been recommended by a friend and by the guide book and it didn't disappoint. A particular favourite was the Cop Shop flavour - coffee and donuts!

We had a bit of a walk up and down the street, calling into Allen's Boots to ooh and ahh over the fabulous (and very expensive) boots before heading back to the motel and cooling off in the pool.

Austin is pretty much the home of Texas barbecue, so it was only right that we went for some. Tripadvisor recommended Terry Black's and after we waited a little while for the bus, we decided to walk as it wasn't very far. Having been to Rudy's, we felt that we understood how it all worked, and were much more confident ordering. We went for brisket, ribs and sausage, while the vegetarian had some very tasty mac and cheese. The sausage wasn't as good as Rudy's but the brisket and ribs were delicious. We ate our fill and waddled back to South Congress. It was approaching sunset, so the family agreed I could watch the bats again and we all headed back down the bridge. The bats obliged by appearing very shortly after and it was again an amazing sight.





Then it was back to the motel to digest all that smokey meaty goodness (and cheesy pasta) and watch the ballgame.

Austin was a great place - very different from the rest of Texas but totally Texan in a different way. Their slogan is Keep Austin Weird and it is certainly is an unusual city - lots of Texas history and the same time, plenty of hipsters. However, we really liked it and could have spent quite a bit more time there. It would have been good to see some live music - we were there on the wrong days for venues that we could take the kids to - and also to explore Zilker Park and the other green spaces. Definitely somewhere to return to.

Edited at 02:50 PM.
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Old 26 Sep 15, 09:03 PM  
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katiebaz
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What a great day and I really want to go to Austin now. So glad you got to see the bats again too!
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Old 27 Sep 15, 09:53 AM  
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CrispyA
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Austin is a great city - we'd definitely go back. One of the really nice things is that it has great public transport and there are lots of people walking/riding bikes as well - makes it more welcoming I think.
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Old 27 Sep 15, 12:39 PM  
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The bats are amazing!

Which city did you prefer out of San Sntonio, Austin and Houston?
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Old 27 Sep 15, 02:01 PM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by Melbatb View Post
The bats are amazing!

Which city did you prefer out of San Sntonio, Austin and Houston?
Austin, definitely.
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Old 27 Sep 15, 04:13 PM  
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Jesslydevie1
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Sounds like a fab day , what a treat to try real Texas BBQ .
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Old 29 Sep 15, 05:23 PM  
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Amy's Icecreams - oh yes!
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