My friend and I left New Orleans quite early in the morning, but not before a quick coffee, croissant, donut and the cheapest, largest baguette ever purchase for another long day of driving to Austin, Texas!!!! Another destination I have never visited! Most of the day was driving through the bayou on 10, playing the game "let's see if we can spot an alligator or an armadillo!" For the record, we saw none! Driving, driving, more driving, trading off driving, traffic, radiolab, shows on the iphone, driving, pandora. A quick pit stop at a cute little BBQ spot...Though I passed on BBQ (the baguette filled me up) I more so was dying of thirst, the Texas heat hits you like a brick. We arrived in Austin in the evening around 6 o'clock.
We were grateful to stay at one of our friend's Tyler's apartment and so excited to finally be there!
Oh hello Schwinn at Tyler's building.
My first thoughts on Austin were how clean it is! So clean! I also loved seeing so many solar panels! I really wish Richmond would have more natural energy efforts. So after catching up with Tyler, we were very anxious to try some of Austin's finest food. A key staple in Austin is food trucks...everywhere!! But these food trucks are not like Richmond's food trucks that you know.... move around...which baffled Tyler's mind. Austin's food trucks are stationary. there were thrice as many if not more food trucks then Richmond. The recommended dinner choice was...Tacos! Why not?! At Torchy's
This place was incredibly dangerous=best tacos ever. I got the Baja shrimp, chicken fajita, and the Brush Fire=Jamaican jerk chicken, grilled jalapeños, mango, sour cream & cilantro. w/DIABLO SAUCE on a flour tortilla. My new favorite. It had the cutest gravel patio
I caught my first glimpse of many, the Grackle bird vulturing on the outdoor bus station.
We drove around the downtown area and found a night spot that looked straight out of Richmond!
The Black Heart
And then we ventured a little closer to the college area and found another fantastic gem, Shangri La. Another spot that seemed right out of Richmond.
And some art on the walls
Good morning Austin! Wooo! The heat was blasting early.
We went to brunch at a fantastic spot called the Magnolia Cafe. Greatly appreciated the sign
Magnolia Cafe also had awesome murals.
And near it!
Flamingos and all. Probably licked the plate of enchiladas... Best decision ever.
Our next activity on the itinerary was to check out the Barton Springs Pool Unfortunately, this was closed for cleaning on Thursday's.
But! To the left, the "free" side was open. Thank goodness. I'm fairly certain the temperature was about 106 degrees. The temperature of the spring was about 70 degrees. It took my breath away! That was one of the coolest free things to do in Austin.
A little grackle bird friend.
Afterwards, we trolled around Congress avenue to check out some of the shops and fell so hard in love with the store Parts & Labour I would love to sell my jewelry there. I almost died walking around there attached screen print section.
We started to get loopy and dehydrated from the heat so we swung by Shady Grove restaurant for water and a snack.
And why not, pomegranate frozen sangria
Later, we decided to go a little out of the way to check out Lala's "The Christmas Bar" per Anthony Bourdain's recommendation.
Lala's was just that... A Christmas bar. Unfortunately, we were starving! No food service at Lala's but a heck of a lot of Christmas decor!
Off to Stubb's instead.
The barbecue was lacking, though we paid for the experience and saw great gig posters of previous shows. :)
Onto one of my favorite stops, the Jeremiah the innocent mural.
Painted by Daniel Johnston.
It was such a long day. We were pooped. On the way back to our friend's apartment, we saw massive amounts of people along the Congress bridge, watching... swarms of birds?? We circled around once more, we were so confused, because clearly this was a thing. We later found out that the flock of birds were actually bats! The great free-tailed Mexican bat migration of the Congress avenue bridge occurs every year so the bats can birth. An aha! moment, that is why there are so many bat references!
Below a beautiful bird mural on the side of a residence.
Called it an early night. The next morning we would be making a long stretch to New Mexico.