Travel Thoughts by Kim

By Orleans Hub Posted 10 June 2023 at 3:00 pm

The Texas State Capital building in Austin is a stunning example of architecture that can be seen from quite a distance.

The fourth and final part from my recent Texas Adventure covers the second half of day five in Austin. That morning, I spent some time at The Alamo in San Antonio – I wrote about that two weeks ago. I decided to add on a side trip to Austin for the afternoon.

Austin, about 80 miles north of San Antonio, is a country music mecca and the capital city of Texas. Their motto is “Keep Austin Weird”! Originally called Waterloo, Austin became a key crossroads for trade between Santa Fe and Galveston Bay. It is currently the largest city in Travis County, TX, the fourth most populous city in Texas, the 11th most populous city in the United States, and the second most populous state capital city.

Visiting Austin wasn’t in my original plan for the trip. The plan was Houston/Conroe, Galveston, and San Antonio. But, when I looked on the map and saw how close Austin was to San Antonio and that I could fit it in, I decided to add it as a side-trip. I’m so glad I did! I LOVED Austin! Since I only had a few hours in Austin, I wanted to see as much as I could in that small time. So….yep, you guessed it…..I went to the Welcome Center and got a ticket on a double decker city bus tour. It was perfect! I sat right in the front seat on the top level of the open top bus and had the BEST view of the city! The guide was amazing and it was an awesome hour or so loop full of cool things to see and interesting commentary.

Austin is a fun and colorful city. I was impressed by the architecture, brightness, and general cleanliness of the city. The perfect mix of eclectic and modern. We rode down Sixth Street – a street full of clubs, music, restaurants, food, and drinks. As we drove along the street, music blared from just about every building we passed. It looked like a fun place to be. The Texas State Capital building is stunning and a very prominent sight that can be seen from quite a distance. Food trucks are a BIG attraction in Austin – we saw several “food truck parks” along our journey.

Our guide told us several folk lore stories about the old days in Austin – like this story about a dark December night in 1842 when Sam Houston tried to take the Texas archives out of Austin, thereby eliminating it as a possible capital city of the Republic. A middle aged woman named Angelina Eberly saw what was going on downtown and fired a cannon at the thieves. They failed their mission and Austin became the capital city. In 2004, the city erected a bronze statue of Angelina firing her cannon at the spot where she stood on Congress Ave between 6th and 7th streets.

The oldest building in Austin is now the Moonshine Grill restaurant – a must add to any trip to Austin!

After the tour ended, I asked about a nearby place where I could get dinner before heading back to San Antonio. I was told with no hesitation about Moonshine Grill right across the street from the Welcome Center. It was amazing!!! They brought a bucket of popcorn lightly seasoned with a wonderful kick to munch on while I waited for my meal. I had chicken and waffles – again, with a slight kick that delighted my taste buds – and sweet tea. It was all soooooo good!!! If you’re ever in Austin, be sure to include a meal at Moonshine Grill – you won’t regret it. It is the oldest building in Austin and specializes in comfort food with a Texas twist.

I made it back to my hotel in San Antonio in time to pack up and get to bed fairly early to rest up for my VERY early morning flight back home. My trip was done… time in Texas had ended… was a wonderful trip and I feel I did Texas right this time. The first time I was in Texas, it technically met all the criteria to check it off the “visit all 50 states” bucket list item, but I really felt like I cheated and wanted to go back and see more. And, now I have! I put 653 miles on my rental car, visited five different cities, had a wonderful visit with my cousin in Conroe, scratched off three more items on the banners on my Adventure Wall, and made lots of amazing memories – all in five days!!!

A view of part of Sixth Street in Austin – an eclectic strip of restaurants, clubs, and shops bursting with music and fun.

One last thrill to share about this adventure… was the perfect cap to the trip! I was at the gate during my layover in Baltimore-Washington International Airport and saw a guy dressed in a colonial uniform with a bell and a line of military men – most were Army, one was a sailor – all in uniform. What I soon realized was that there were preparing to deboard an Honor Flight plane filled with war veterans headed to Washington DC to tour the monuments. With each set of veterans, the colonial guy would ring the bell and another man would announce their arrival – they represented WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam War. All the passengers waiting in the terminal stood and cheered….the veterans passed by with smiles and waves and shook the hands of the military soldiers greeting them. It was an AMAZING and very emotional experience. And…..I and not ashamed to admit that I shamelessly flirted with the young sailor that was standing beside me waiting for the veterans to arrive….there’s something about a sailor in a white uniform! Hehehe

Check out my blog post with LOTS more photos from Austin, TX:

Happy Adventuring,
Kim Pritt