Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sun 3 Mar - Austin, TX

Today we headed to the State Capitol Building and it was a lot quieter than yesterday during Texas Independence Day. You can do a self guided tour once you pass though security checks (unlike New Mexico with had no security scans whatsoever, which we still can't believe).

One of the first guys you see is a statue of Stephen F. Austin, after whom the town Austin was named.

To the left of the foyer is the old Treasury Business Office. Looks friendly...NOT. Below is the guide office and visitor help desk! Once this was the office where they paid the employees of the Capitol. Di asked the guide whether he minded working behind the bars, and he said you got used to them so stopped noticing them ...but he said that the floor gets to him if he looks down at it for too long. The tiling is very much an optical illusion and hard to focus on.
From the foyer you walk into this rotunda space with the great seal of Texas on the floor. This is looking down from level 4. The five circles around "Republic of Texas" are the five seals of the nations which have been in charge over Texas at one time or another.
When you look up you see the dome and lone star of Texas. Very nice but unfortunately you can't visit higher than the 4th level so can't get close to the dome or go outside.

Pictures of all the governors surround the rotunda. We should all recognize this guy.

The decorations in the capital building are not overly gilt or glamorous but boy did they pay attention to the details to ensure you knew which state capital you are in!

These are door hinges, 3 on every door everywhere!

The house of representatives is a bit crowded with 150 members. Sort of reminded Di of an exam hall but it was still lovely woodwork and leather chairs.

The senate room here is green... Opposite to Australia but not intentional, just the colour they chose. It only has 31 senators and its part time (5 months per year). There was a Uni student there, Victoria, who was studying... the Norwegian language as the language part of her history honors degree - in Texas?

She was practicing a little on Hans. Lovely girl. She did help explain the naming of Texas - it's the local native word for Allies or Friendship ,

After fully exploring the Capitol we walked downtown for the annual Kite Festival in Zilker Park on the south side of Lady Bird Lake. As we walked the Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail we came across a major parkland for dog exercise and this guy was appropriately located with his "Great Outdogs" van. Very funny that he also had doggy stuffed toys "modeling" the outfits.

The hike and bike trail is a very popular trail towards the Zilker Park with lots of dog walkers, joggers and cyclists. It runs right alongside the Colorado river (actually this section is called Lady Bird lake).

In the photo below you can see a statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan (they love their musicians here), the Lady Bird river/lake and the Austin skyline.

The trail is lovely and winds along an inlet before crossing a small bridge to the park.

On to the annual Kite Festival in Austin TX. A big event here and a real family outing and everyone seems to have a kite except us. This is just a sample of the people and kites below.

We got to be a part of it - a company handed Di a free promo plastic kite. She had a go, but even with Hans helping had no success. Operator error?

Maybe not, as she definitely was not the only one...

Oh well, some good lunch in the sun watching all the kites was still a lot of fun.

They were holding a kite completion in a centre arena but it was hard to follow it as so many kites were in the sky. Of course the puffer fish (see below) and a few others seemed professional.

We had enough of kites and sun (it was about 23 degrees today and lovely) so wandered back across a pedestrian and bike only bridge into the Warehouse District.

Like most old warehouse areas in the western world, Austin's Warehouse District has become very trendy and cool as a location (what were we doing there??).
We stopped at a hipster cafe, Halcyon, outdoor area is on an old loading dock, for a Mimosa for Di and coffee for Hans and watched the world go by for a while. Across the street, we could see two bars with rainbow colored flags outside... Liberal place this too.
Feeling relaxed and pleased with our day we then headed home on the number 7 bus.


No comments:

Post a Comment