Austin Reassessed

Jun 21st, 2019, 04:17 PM
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Austin Reassessed

Hi,

As part of what seems to be becoming an Amtrak & bus summer ritual to Mexico and/or Central America (yes, Iím a teacher), I stopped in first St. Louis MO, then Austin TX before continuing to Monterrey Mexico. I had visited Austin once before around 2014-2015 around New Yearís and had enjoyed most the State Capitol tour as well as the Bullock Museum of Texas History that visit.

So, this year was my first visit in summer to the Texas capital. This time I opted to stay on South Congress, at the Austin Motel, an area of the city I didnít see last trip (last time, I was in Clarksville near the original Whole Foods). It was an interesting location, with plenty of dining options around and a quasi counter-culture vibe, especially at the Austin Motel. I went to Torchyís Tacos, which is definitely not a run-of-the-mill taco joint and tried an Austin specialty, breakfast tacos at Joannís. The one thing that seems to have exploded in this area of Austin are the electric scooter rental stands; Iíd heard of this phenomenon but here they were like locusts!

Yes, it was 101F, but what made the heat bearable was the pool access. Yes, the hotel pool but also the outing I did to Barton Springs Pool, a naturally sourced HUGE outdoor pool in a stunning setting. Although I took an Uber to the pool, I also took advantage of being its vicinity to hike along the Greenbelt Trails that go from Barton Springs and bring one to gorgeous rapids and tranquil pools of a Colorado River tributary amidst greenery that feel worlds removed away from city living. The cool water of the spring-fed pool (big enough to do laps) felt divine as I swam laps after the hour-long walk.

Yes I actually think, despite the heat, that this summer visit was a better choice weather-wise than the winter visit to Austin a few years back. I had heard that a New Year visit was dicey and letís just say the dice didnít roll my way, with it being a sort of bone-chilling humid and cloudy cold when I went.

One nice thing about a summer rather than winter Austin visit is joining with the folks who come to observe the bats emerge at sunset from the Congress Street bridge. The bats came finally after 9pm and it was quite the sight and squeaking sound to see hundreds come out, even though they were much smaller-looking than I had imagined. From the park under the bridge, they appeared almost like dim moths in the red light of the tour boats, to my eyes.

All in all, I came out of this visit appreciating Austin more. I feel the cityís greatest asset is the terrific nature access on trails and the very unique Barton Springs Pool.

Happy travels!




Daniel_Williams is offline  
Jun 21st, 2019, 06:34 PM
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Hereís some photos of the stellar nature, all in the heart of Austin

The beautiful Barton Springs pool

Rapids along the Greenbelt trails

A cliff adjacent a tranquil pool, Greenbelt Trail
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Jun 21st, 2019, 07:06 PM
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Nice report. We went to Austin two summers ago. We ate at Hopdoddy's on Congress, and we saw the bats, which I loved. We also saw the university. Would have liked to tour the LBJ Presidential Library but ran out of time.

We also liked San Antonio.
5alive is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2019, 11:01 AM
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Hi, Daniel! Nice trip report. I’ve never been to Austin but the bats could tempt me.
Birdie is offline  
Jun 24th, 2019, 03:47 AM
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Sounds like a nice way to visit in the heat. Thanks for the report
emalloy is online now  
Jun 24th, 2019, 09:23 AM
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Thanks for the trip report. We definitely enjoyed staying in the South Congress area when we were in Austin several years ago.
northfork280 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2019, 04:50 AM
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Thanks for reading and commenting, emalloy, birdie and northfork280! Birdie, indeed, seeing the bats was a unique experience!
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Jul 9th, 2019, 06:54 AM
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If curious, here is the trip report for the Mexico/Central America part of my trip, using Austin as a springboard.

Buses: Austin & Mexican Gulf Coast to El Salvador
Daniel_Williams is offline  
Jul 9th, 2019, 09:17 AM
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Thanks for the trip report. I always enjoy reading about your adventures.
sludick is online now  
Jul 9th, 2019, 10:54 AM
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Thanks, sludick! That means a lot.
Daniel_Williams is offline  
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