Day 85 – Austin

As we had two nights in Austin we took it fairly easy on the second day (combined with the fact that I was feeling ever so slightly poorly – but clearly drinking expensive spirits means your hangovers aren’t as bad since I was feeling a lot better than I expected to feel!). Brian was up early and blogging next to the swimming pool and eventually we got going with our route for the day. We set off for the parks of Austin about 11am and followed Riverside Drive to Butler Park where we stopped for some pictures. We then headed off to Zilker Park where we stopped by the food carts for only a Dr Pepper and a milkshake, even though had some amazing sounding food on offer (we had other plans for lunch). It appears to be a very interesting part of the city, with some more bars and restaurants about and I can see that it would be easy to live around there! Austin it the first of the really hot cities we’ve been to where people aren’t put off by the heat and seem to be very physically active, with people cycling, running and walking around the river paths and parks everywhere – even in the worst of the midday heat. At least this didn’t make us appear completely insane like it did in the other recent towns!
We also dropped into the Umlauf Sculpture Garden and the Zilker Botanical Garden, both of which were interesting but things that we were probably only doing because we had an extra day to spend and wanted to do something with our time. I’d read about HopDoddy Burger Bar online so on our way back to the hotel we dropped into the one on Congress Avenue. I say dropped in, but in reality we had to queue around outside, then queue inside and in total took about 45 minutes to order our burgers and fries. This wasn’t as bad as it sounds (to me anyway – Brian may disagree!) and we got ice water in the queue to keep us hydrated. I ordered the Magic Shroom after seriously debating whether I should have the La Bandita vegetarian option. Brian had the Classic Burger and we had some fries to share. The burgers were ok but I have to say that for me it was the combination of toppings that really made it good, rather than the meat, which is usually how I judge a burger. The buns were pretty good and are baked in-house, but I wouldn’t call this the best burger in Austin when you could have a much better one at Old School as the meat just wasn’t that great!
We (gratefully in my case) made our way back to the motel where I had a lie down and Brian spent some more time beside the pool, before heading out to 6th Street for drinks again –and this time managing to avoid anyone trying to buy is drinks! We stopped by quite a few bars, most with live music, the standard of which is very good (I assume the live music scene is quite competitive!). Considering it was a Tuesday night the town was busy, with some bars just starting to get busy by the time we headed home at about 10pm – by which point the temperature had just about become manageable outside! I really enjoyed Austin and I’m sure there’s much more to the food/drink scene that we haven’t managed to explore, i.e. there’s a LOT of restaurants and bars and I’m sure the suburbs have their own ‘scenes’ as well. One of the experiences I’m kind of glad I missed though was the Franklin’s BBQ experience. Franklin’s was literally right next to our motel and has a reputation as the best BBQ in the state – but it was closed when we were there, a fact that I’m very happy about as it happens! Along with its fame comes massive queues….people in reviews report anything from queueing 3-6 hours, HOURS for their food…starting at 6 or 7 in the morning…this to me sounds absolutely insane and I totally refuse to believe any food is worth that sort of dedication, but the fact that they were closed meant I couldn’t even be tempted to try or feel like I’m missing out on anything! Austin was awesome, despite the mad heat and somewhere I can recommend going – though maybe stay somewhere a bit nicer than the Super 8 if you can afford it!

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