Austin Revisited: Around Downtown

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Gorgeous, no?!

The next couple of days were lazy days (the luxury of getting to stay for a week). We hung out around town, shopped a bit, and enjoyed the local neighborhoods. We did manage a couple of cool things, 1 was a visit to Barton Springs Natural Pool. Unfortunately we didn't have our swimsuits with us, but it was a really beautiful swimming area that is half natural, half built up and fed from the local spring (which, btw, means it's pretty darn chilly water, not sure if I'd have gone swimming in 70 degree water even if I'd had my suit!) It'd be a great place for a picnic and a day swimming for the kids though and did seem to be a hot spot for locals.

We also hit up some great eating spots. Austin actually has a lot of great eating spots! Almost all of which focus on organic, local grown foods, which sent my clean food loving Aussie friend into spasms of joy. ;) Even the food trucks and dive-iest of joints had great food. Oh, and Austin is the self-proclaimed capital of the food truck. They have something like 700 food trucks in the city, all with their own brand of quirk and crazy, amazing food. One we decided we had to hit was Gourdoughs. Huge fresh made donuts covered with all types of crazy toppings. I had the bacon and maple glaze and Barbie had the Canadian bacon, cream cheese, and maple syrup. Wow! Yummy, but I could feel my arteries closing up with every bite. ;) Still, an Austin experience not to be missed.

There is a donut under all that bacon and maple glaze!

All the food trucks are unique, some are practically art installations on wheels.
A few other restaurants I'd definitely go to again.
--Oh, I forgot a noodle place called Lucky Robot (in SoCo) that has great Japanese noodles.
This is a great spot. It's in SoCo and it's super retro (actually a lot of Austin has a retro feel to it) and it's one of my favorites. It's called, just, The Snack Bar, and it has a great patio that has a firepit in the winter and a fountain in the summer, live music, and really good food.

Another retro-esque diner that doesn't look like much on the outside (excuse the bad photo) but has great food.
Then there's Taco Xpress, one of the quirkiest of quirky restaurants I've seen. This is just the back of the restaurant, in the front there's a giant (really... it's gigantic) statue of a lady with arms spread wide and a old pick up truck on the balcony seating that's been retrofitted as a dining table. Pretty darn good tacos too!
This restaurant, Hopdoddy Burger Bar, always has a line around the corner (and another wait in line once you're inside the place)! We managed to get in early and so had half the wait. The burgers are amazing though (I'm not sure about an hour long wait amazing, but I guess it depends on how much you love burgers!) and you get to order drinks as soon as you get in and carry your mega-sized beer along with you as you wait to place your burger order.

A Hopdoddy burger! I had the El Diablo... it was reallllly good. :) Here's a link to see all their other slightly odd, but crazy-good burgers.

A self-serve frozen yogurt shop named Berry Austin. ;)

Another local Austin thing to do is to take a walk along the river boardwalk. It's not what you typically think of when you hear the term boardwalk though. It's really just a walkway built out onto the Colorado River along the south side, just east of the South Congress Bridge. It's a great walk though; a gorgeous mix of city-scape and nature. You get turtles and ducks and beautiful white egrets, canoes, lots of bikes, and an awesome view of downtown Austin. I walked all up one side and crossed over and walked back down the north side of the river. It was a long, hot walk, but totally worth it.

This is the dirt path that runs along most of the river through Austin. Pretty. 
This is out on the boardwalk, overlooking downtown Austin. More than just pretty! ;)

Joe's Crab Shack. I really wanted to give this place a try, but didn't get around to it. Great riverside location.

This is the other side of the river looking over at the boardwalk (that I'd just walked up earlier) and a house that must have the most amazing views. 

... is this really downtown Austin? I was practically back to the hotel when I took this shot of this egret. You'd think I was in the swamps in Louisiana or something! Super cool.

I thankfully found a cafe just at the end of my walk. I needed it, it was very humid that morning and I'd walked about 2 hours. A sparkling water and umbrella were just what I needed.


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