5th May, 2011

Arrived in Austin, Texas on April 23, 2011

Total distance driven (includes in-city driving): 9,755.9 kms (6,602miles)
Average gas consumption: 20.4L per 100 KM

On the way to Austin we drove through New Braunfels –we were amazed to find a German town in the middle of Texas! Do they speak German today? Nein! Still there are buildings following Bavarian architecture. Check out the Schlitterbahn water resort.

One of the main attractions is tubing down one of the two natural rivers in the city.

Just love the lookout tower!

In Austin we set up camp at McKinney State Park. Like other Texas state parks the rate was great – $16 per night for a site with electricity and water. Thankfully the window air conditioner worked like a charm – it was really hot!

Since we arrived late (about 9 pm) we quickly dropped Wendy off at our site and headed into Austin. First stop – 6th Street.

This place really hops. Tons of pubs and clubs, some of them with big outdoor patios on the 2nd floor.

Shakespeare may not have visited here but it’s nice to have a brew in his honor at his namesake ale house.

At about 10 pm the road was closed to vehicles making the whole thing open season for walking…

We took this shot shortly after the road was closed to vehicles. By midnight it was crawling with people.

We wanted a bite to eat but there were so many places to choose from. This place looked interesting.

Hmmm…not sure how the food would be here….

Interesting but we wanted food, not cigars.

Gambling and food at Casino El Camino?

Definitely not a food place…

Soul food maybe, but tattoos from the soul – no thanks…

Where to go?!?!?

We opted for a window seat at this place. Perfect for people watching and good prices for food plus we love the sign’s art deco styling. And yes, the servers wore bikini tops so Jason was a happy camper.

That night we also walked up Congress Ave to see the capitol building. Since Austin is the Texas state capital we expected the building to be big – but like all things in Texas, this was huge. This capitol building is bigger than the capitol building in Washington. Take that D.C.

SOCO is another happening place in the city. SOCO is located on South Congress Ave. so guess where the acronym originated.

We found this little outdoor garden – Gueros – so we stopped by for live music under the big oak trees.

See the big tree in this pic? The bar is right under it. Good booze prices, big trees and live music – we really liked this place.

SOCO is full of restaurants and neat shops along with a few hotels. We took a bunch of pictures to give you a sense of the scene.

We found these little stands at a few places in the city. This one in SOCO had live music too.

We saw a huge line up on Saturday night and wondered if they were lined up to get into a cool club. Turns out it’s an ice cream place. Must be great ice cream…

We just loved this sign…

Several places had art deco styling for their signs. Love it!

On our last day in the city we checked out a few other neat things, like the 358 acre Zilker Park where Barton Springs is located.

Barton Springs pool is 3 acres in size and has a consistently cool temperature – between 68.0 °F (20.0 °C) and 71.6 °F (22.0 °C). Anyone up for a few laps?

Austin also has the world’s largest urban bat colony – right in the city limits! 750,000 bats make their home in several bridges around the city. After bearing offspring the number climbs to 1.5 million. Congress Ave. bridge has the largest so that’s where we went.

If you look closely at the bridge there are small gaps underneath. That’s where the bats live.

The bats fly out at sunset and swirl towards the sky where their feeding grounds are.

We also spent some time touring McKinney Falls State Park (where we camped).

The park has two water falls. This is the bigger of the two. There’s a drought so the falls were more like a trickle…

But these two managed to have fun in the falls…

The lower falls were about the same.

The park also has one of the largest Cypress trees in Texas. Marianna can’t even see the top from her vantage point.

So many beautiful things…like trees by the river…

Prickly pears in bloom..

This one has a bee in it…

Can you believe water gouged out this little nook?

One thing about Texas in general, there’s a lot of Hispanic influence. It’s not uncommon to see bilingual signs (English/Spanish) or Spanish only signs. Here are a few examples from Austin that we liked:

Lots of signs highlight ‘free’ items (see the pic above for an example). That seems to be another common theme in Texas – even the local HEB (a very nice Texas grocery store chain) seems to offer items free rather than discounts.

After three full days of touring this amazing city, we decided it was time to pack up and head out to the wild west. Next up – wildfires and the trip to Big Bend National Park.


Cant wait to see your pics frm Big Bend! Great post on Austin and thanks for sharing your experience at McKinney Falls!

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