Saturday, March 2, 2013

Sat 2 Mar - Austin, TX

2nd of March is Texas Independence Day, which recognises that Texas fought and won independence from Mexico ten years before joining the United States. We decided to go downtown to check out what's doing. A surprisingly cold and windy morning, which we had not expected, although sunny.

There is a metro station, Highland, not too far from our motel so we ventured towards it, but once there, the signage advised us that the train does not run on Saturdays before 4pm (and not at all on Sundays). Never seen anything like that before. Only one track for both directions and 9 stations in total. We gave up on rail.

We eventually found bus number 7 which would take us downtown, although a slightly altered route due to Independence Day parade. We got off close enough to where we wanted to be and found the procession on Congress Ave towards the Texas Capitol building (we should have figured that out ourselves).

Here is looking south down Congress Ave.

Quite a diverse range of characters and vehicles in the parade. Here is Davy Crockett...
And of course a large school marching band.
Vietnamese Americans, Vietnam war veterans, were represented. The blokes looked pretty old but still proud.
This boat/car had a Texas registration plate, so all kosher...
Well, it is the south. We liked the "come and get it" flag. Saw it a few times.
Some eye candy for the Texan boys... And boys from other places too...
When the parade finished we made time for a coffee then wandered up to The State Capitol building. Here we are outside the State Capitol building.
We are going to tour it, but tomorrow as the queue was too long today.
Outside the main entrance...Di looks very guilty. What has she done? Has she been unpatriotic? That must be an offense here...

The gardens surrounding the State Capitol are lovely and contain a lot of historic markers and statues. This one was very clear about how Texas felt about the American civil war. We are learning so much just by studying these memorials.

Looking down Congress Avenue from the State Capitol.
There are many German historical links in Austin, but we also found this plaque, indicating some Swedish history.
The woman of this statue was a real hothead, so we placed Di next to her. Her story is that an early governor Sam Houston tried to "sneak" the Capitol away from Austin to Houston, and had staff emptying offices at night. She found out and got so mad she lit a cannon and shot a nearby building. The Capitol stayed in Austin.
There are arty street guitars everywhere in Austin.
This is a very nice old hotel building in Austin, the Driskill.
A bit of history of the Driskill Hotel.
And some interior shots...

Looking into the bar area below.

Hans could not resist this big guy...

Back out on 6th Street, there are a lot of bars and pubs.
This lady was trying to drum up business in a way that we haven't seen before.
Even the mural along 6th Street are pointing to an entertainment atmosphere.
There was some filming going on at one of the restaurants/bars.
After 6th Street we headed south and ate our sandwiches by the river before strolling a short while on the north side of the hike and bike trail. Well, here is Di, on Texas Independence Day, with an Arizona cap!?!? Nobody took offense though.
The trail stopped due to improvement work so we headed back into the city streets. Well, this is music territory.
We wandered around a bit and encountered this footbridge next to an old railway bridge over Shoal Creek, just west of downtown Austin, in the Warehouse District.
They have put hike and bike trails along Shoal Creek Trail heading north. A very nice way to cross a few city blocks. Here is Di on the trail.
We stumbled onto this video clip recording. They were filming at the same time as they played a song and the girl was miming to it. Well, this is a University town after all.
Up from Shoal Creek we reached Bremond Block Historic District. The area has a lot of old lovely and stately buildings on a small hill just west of the Capitol. Many seemed to be law firms these days, surprise surprise...


After all that, we took bus 10 back to the motel and had a break. After seeing all the bars and live music advertised we knew we had to go back to 6th Street for Saturday night.
Here is Hans "prepping" with a glass of red in the bath... Very nice by the way. I'm singing in the rain...
Back to town we go. We must have just missed the bus back to downtown as we waited for quite a while..., next to this very patriotic car yard...
Eventually, we got back down to 6th St and had dinner at the place below called Iron Cactus.
Di chose well, jalapeƱo stuffed bacon wrapped prawns on a sizzling platter, but Hans less so with blackened chicken breast with chorizo, mash and asparagus. To save the peace Di "willingly" shared a few of her prawns.
Anyway, corn chips and salsa were great, the beer was cold and nice...and the 100% Agave margarita was excellent. Good for people watching on a busy Saturday night.
After dinner, it was music on the menu. Austin, TX claims to be the "Live music capital of the world" and they may be right. At 7.30pm or so, the music is in full swing in a number of pubs, bars and venues. We ended up checking out 4 bands. First band below, which we rated number 3 out of 4.
These guys were funny though as the guitarist to be right could not get the chords right to a song and he was then promptly replaced with a guy from the audience. After the particular song (we didn't know the name of the song, but it sounded quite standard for the late 50s) the first guy was back again.
OK, this was the best band of the four. No weak link. Loud and very tight blues and rock. The singer looked like a nerd, but boy, did he just have the voice for it. The band finished off with Chuck Berry, that song from Pulp Fiction. We rated them 1st out of 4 bands. Easy.
At the same stage, the guys above were followed by the guys below. A typical "try too hard". They singer and harmonica player looked like he really wanted to be part of the scene, but he just didn't cut it. It was quite ordinary and we left after a while. 4 out of 4.
The 4th band we saw had an interesting setup, a singer / acoustic guitarist and cello player. Very good. They looked like two intellectuals, but boy, they played well. 2 out of 4.
After that, we were approaching bed time, and we walked back to the busstop of Congress Avenue. A few night shots up and down the street while we are waiting for the bus.
These are two Theatres next to each other.
That's it for today. Big day and lots of photos, but for now, good night.


No comments:

Post a Comment