Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Austin: Day 1.5

I got about a half day in Austin before I had to head home, but again, I squeezed the most out of my time, and today, I actually used the Austin B-cycle bike share system to get around more quickly! (And I cursed myself for not using it more the day before.)

First stop was an early morning dip in the much beloved Barton Springs Pool. This favorite local spot is fed by a nearby spring (it's chilly!) and is part of their park district. If you go early - between 5 and 8 a.m. - it's free swimming time!

It's a little far out from where we were staying, so I almost didn't do it, but we were there, and like eight people had recommended it to me, so we decided to bike over. It was indeed chilly, but it was fun to hang out with the locals and cool off a bit.

After I dried off and changed, we biked over to favorite local breakfast diner Magnolia Cafe for some breakfast tacos and pancakes. I loved their gingerbread pancake so much that I immediately Googled it for later printing.

Dave had an earlier flight than I did, so I asked him what he would really like to see in his last day in Austin. Based on what I had done the prior day, he said he wanted to go to the state capitol building, which I was excited about because I had visited too early yesterday to actually get inside.

Capitol rotunda
After that, we hit the nearby independent bookstore, BookPeople, which I had not been able to visit on yesterday's speedy walking tour.

This store was awesome. The two stories contained a wide breadth of topics, knick knacks, and reading spaces. In fact, there was a story time for kids going on as we visited. This is something my library, and a lot of local libraries, do, which shows how both libraries and bookstores play a key role in supporting your local community.

We bought some books and hit the road - in fact, Google Maps took us on this adorable little bike path on Shoal Creek. It was like Austin was saying, "Hey, there are cool hidden things all over this town - please come back!" I wish I had gotten a picture.

Speaking of the bike share, you always hear mixed things about bike shares in major cities, but our experiences in Montreal and Austin were both very good. It was easy to locate spots on the map, we never had any technical problems with the bikes, and we were always able to find or return a bike where we wanted to. Thumbs up to B-cycle.

By this time, it was time for us to check out of the hotel and for Dave to go catch his flight. I put all my stuff into my backpack for easy travel the rest of the day, and I was glad I traveled light because it was another hot one.

I had to go back to BookPeople to pick up my fancy water bottle, which I'd left on the check-out counter in my excitement over UFO cow abduction socks, then I sped over to to something I had never visited before - a bake shop and beer garden in one business, Easy Tiger.

Their baked goods looked tasty, but I picked a house-made sausage and some local beers. Yes, the beer garden was cute, but I elected to stay in the AC, knit, and watch some world cup coverage with other denizens.

On my way out of town, I picked up another donut at Voodoo - this one was maple and was STUNNING - and caught the bus to the airport.

I know that less than 48 hours in any town is depressingly short, so I would like to go back. Here are some things on my list for next time:

  • Granny's Tacos
  • Chuy's Tex Mex
  • Zilker Botanical Garden
  • Blanton Museum of Art
  • Kayaking on Ladybird Lake
  • Parker Jazz Club
  • Women & their Work (shop specializing in gifties handmade by women)
  • Tesoros Trading (shop specializing in Mexican gifties and art)
  • Museum of the Weird

Austin, you're awesome, and I'll be back.

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