Keep Austin Weird

Trip Start Jan 01, 2006
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Thursday, January 19, 2006

In a first, Zoe and I (thanks to our friend Michael) have a favorite exit...#353 off of I-35 finds you in a truck stop playing nothing but polka music and housing the best (and only) Czech bakery I have ever visited. Two gingerbread cookies later, we were reunited with the road and on our way to Austin.

Our first evening was spent dining on Wild Boar Pozole and various salsas that enabled us to remember what spicy food was really was a rebirth (or death) of our tastebuds that I am still recovering from. Unlike in many parts of the US, when the waiter says it's spicy, he means, "I'll just leave the pitcher of water on the table." After dinner, we went to the Broken Spoke which claims to be the only true and last honky tonk dance hall in Texas. All I can say is we had great fun, but it seemed as though the place was a few beers away from a Texas shootout. Also, it is not a place where I would recommend the martinis.

The new day saw temperatures in the 70's. Zoe and I decided to stroll around town. Zoe was duped into a tour of the Capitol building (see photos) which is quite pretty and made of rose granite. Amongst other things, we learned that Sam Houston is the only person to be governor of two states (Tennessee and Texas), Davy Crockett only lived in Texas a year before dying in the Alamo, most famous Texans are actually from some other state (sorry Texans!), and the Texas legislature only meets every other year so for those of you looking for more vacation time, you might consider a job in Austin!

After the Capitol tour, we ambled through the campus of UT (50,000 students) where coincidentally spring orientation was taking place. Zoe joined the Hispanic Women's Journalism Society and I joined the Texas Rugby Team. Unfortunately, the road trip will preclude me from actually playing in any of the games, but Zoe will be writing under the name Zoeito Cordero through the end of the spring semester. We also saw one of the Gutenberg Bibles housed in a research library. Is it just me or does everyone seem to have a copy of this "rare" book?

After climbing to the highest point in Austin (see photo) for sunset, we headed to what I will hereafter refer to as the Mother Ship. For those of you familiar with the Whole Foods grocery chain, the company started in Austin, and it is here that they have their flagship store, a behemoth that is quadruple the size of their store in DC. It was a futile exercise in restraint as Zoe and I stumbled in a daze through aisle after aisle of freshly baked desserts, cured meats, microbrews, wines, and sundry items we both coveted. For foodies, it is Asgard.

Well, the computer is about to die so unfortunately, I must sign off. Austin has been wonderful and fully lives up to its exalted reputation. We're off to Big Bend National Park.

Upcoming Stops: Carlsbad Caverns, White Sands, Tucson, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon
Notable Wildlife: Wood Duck, Lesser Scaup, Redhead Duck, American Coot, Cormorant, Black and White Swans, Boat Tailed Grackle, Carp
Best Coffee in Austin: Jo's
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