Back from Austin

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We made a business trip to Austin (from Phoenix) this past week.

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While there, we got to walk our old college campus – The University of Texas.  Such a pretty campus.  I shot a few quick photos before the sun went down, as we walked.

The first image just reminded me of all the times we walked to the bus stop and rode the bus on to campus, got off and then walked across the campus in whatever weather – rain or shine.  And, of course, the bus stop was way across campus from my school.  So, it was quite the walk.

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As we walked from our parking space a few blocks from campus, we passed this soup kitchen line.   If you’ve never been there, UT is just next to downtown Austin, blocks from the state capitol building.

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Really, I should stop right there, though.  I should first tell you a little about Austin.  You may know it’s the live music capital of the world.  But, that is not all.

There is a certain “flavor” with Austin.  Austin has always been linked more with “California” than with “Texas”. 

The point in time when I knew I was for sure in Austin was when I saw a woman from behind walking down the sidewalk.  She had long blonde hair, and was in a short gold sequined dress and red pumps.  She was limping – those shoes were killing her feet I was sure.  As I drove closer and looked back, I saw it.  A beard.  It was a man, clearly.  I wish I had turned around and gotten a photo.  But, this will do for now.

This guy is pretty famous for cross dressing and walking the Austin streets.  Notice the tiara.  Leslie is a huge local celebrity who happens to be homeless and a mini-skirt wearing drag queen/transvestite, who tried to run for mayor.

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A current campaign is termed “Keep Austin Weird.”  That sums up a lot.  It’s a city full of unique people.

The university brings in many different cultures from around the world so exposure to other cultures is abundant.  It’s not unusual to pass cross-dressing locals on the street, to walk by transients sleeping on the street as you go to class or to see strange types of protests and rallies.  It’s a liberal city, yet it also embraces a conservative country heritage.  Nestled at the edge of the Texas hill country, Austin is famous for restaurants like The Salt Lick.  I also passed a restaurant called Trailer Park Eatery.  Austin has this odd, but distinctive hipster-meets-cowpoke feel.

The gorgeous landscape invites locals to hike, rock climb and swim at the local springs, watch the largest urban bat colony, or to boat at Lake Travis.  But, the nice thing is that all of the outdoor life is seamlessly integrated with the city.

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It’s a great place to listen to live music as well as a great place to raise a family.

Now, back to the campus.

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The fountain and famous UT tower.  Yes, that is where a gunman, Charles Whitman, shot a number of people in 1966.  He had a brain tumor.  It is now secured and not open to the public.

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The side of the statue on the fountain.

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The Texas flag flies proudly.  We take Texas history in school and are well aware that we have the right to secede from the union and be our own country.

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Many of the buildings in Austin are made of limestone.

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Above is a close up of the bottom of the tower building.  And, below, is inside the front porch area.  Amazing architecture.

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What is it like inside?  Here is a glimpse.

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Beautiful.

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A view of the city from the 22nd floor.  The tiled roofs are part of the UT campus.

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Something we don’t have a lot of in Phoenix – clouds.  Clouds can be pretty.

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And… another something we don’t have a lot of in Phoenix?  Trees.

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These wooden kiosks bring back many memories.  See all of the old staples?  Students post things on these such as signs for things they are selling, looking for a ride back home, looking for a roommate, etc.  I remember seeing a flyer once for a student selling a few pieces of silverware as it was all they had and they needed to find a way to earn money so they could pay tuition.

And, this sign just spoke to me about the cultural nature of Austin and the UT campus.

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And zoomed in, this is what it says.

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Inside the student union (which now there are two!).

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Just a small taste of the campus.  There is so much more!

If you have never been to Austin, I do encourage you to go.  And, take a stroll around the UT campus.  It’s gorgeous and full of history and great architecture.

It’s great to be home, though!  When we left, it was around 100 degrees here in Phoenix.  When we got home, it was around 70!  So awesome.  But, don’t worry, it was just a cold front and it’s already warming back up.  It’s not quite fall here yet.

Hope you enjoyed the quick Austin tour.

kristysig

10 Comments :

  1. I was in Austin this past weekend too! We did 6th street for a bachlorette party and I have to agree, Austin is full of UNIQUE people :)

  2. The city that I’ve come to love! I appreciate you dedicated an entire post to this little corner of Texas. Great pics! So glad you enjoyed your trip with an added bit of nostalgia :)

  3. Thanks for the great tour! I still have never been, but now I am longing to go. It’s my husband’s favorite city. Glad you enjoyed your trip.

  4. Oh Kristy, that was such a great tour of AUSTIN!……Living in Dallas, we may not have the “weird” element but being boring is another problem altogether…FYI, we have several “Keep Austin Weird” Tshirts at our house!

  5. Austin has been on my list of places to visit for a while so it was really nice to see your tour. Looks like a great city. Did you know that Portland also uses the same slogan…Keep Portland Weird.

    • I’ve never been to Portland, but know a few people who live there and that’s what they say – very similar! I love the cultural aspect of the city. The weirdness is a good thing.

  6. What awesome photos of UT!! I’m from Texas, but never have visited the UT campus. Visited Austin numerous times and know of it’s notoriety. What a wonderful tour! You are quite the photographer and tour guide, my friend. :) I’m hoping for some 70 degree weather in OK where we live now.

  7. Wow, we had a layover in Austin a few days ago and now I feel like I missed out!! Next time we’ll have to stay for a few days – great mini-tour! =)

  8. Thanks for the great tour, Kristy! I’ve never been to Austin, but have been to Dallas & San Antonio. I am from the Portland, OR area, so maybe I know a bit more about Austin than I thought……LOL! Glad you had a good time.
    :) CAS

  9. I bet you had a fun time being back in Texas!!! It always amazed me how Austin can be so different from any of the other large cities (Houston, Dallas and San Antonio) but that is what makes is unique and loveable!

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