Austin, Texas. January 3-8th

Austin, Texas. January 3-8th

We entered Texas on January 3rd in the usual way, lifting our feet high above the floorboards so as not to trip over the state line as we drove across. We made our way into the Austin city limits on a cold, but sunny Sunday afternoon. We checked into our AirBnB after realizing that we were in a “up and coming” neighborhood in east Austin. This involved skirting a car club whose members were “swangas” and required a bit of navigating around to get to our condo. This was a bit surprising because we’d never seen anything like that before and were not in familiar territory. 

We loved the condo and proximity to greenways, trails, and parks that led to downtown and all over the Ausitn area. We were able to ride bikes for hours and experience the “trailer park meets Manhattan” aspect of Austin that people love. For instance, in the shadow of glass and steel skyscrapers, we were able to have a beer at an outdoor Creekside fishcamp that looked straight out of Floral City, Florida. 

Another aspect of Austin that gave it a camp feel were all of the tents. They were everywhere! A bit of reesarch turned up a new ordinance for the city that was created in 2019 that allows the homeless to set up camp on any public property except for designated parks. This means public right of ways, underpasses, sidewalks, etc. were often covered up by homeless tenement camps. It was a stark reminder of this often unseen population and promoted quite a few philosophical conversati0ns on how to best address the myriad social issues including competing rights between compassion and business.

A few of the very neat features of Austin are the businesses that have a way with the white Christmas light. They managed to make everything look festive without looking like they forgot to take things down in January. Also, there was the beautiful view on Mount Bonnell, overlooking the city and lake Austin. This is so pretty, even California tech execs are flocking to the area. 

Great music is still available in very limited access. We were lucky enough to see some traditional Texas honky tonk music by a Knoxville native.   Amazing BBQ that is so good you can’t order it while sitting down and not available on a plate. For some reason, every BBQ place had counter service only and the food was served on a tray with butcher paper, dill pickle slices, and raw red onions. While we are sure there is some inherent charm in this, it didn’t stop us from enjoying the BBQ and throwing away the red onion. There appeared to be so many great dining adventures in Austin, we didn’t even begin to scratch the surface. This city is definitely on our “must return” list. 



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