650 MILES: 3 DAYS IN AUSTIN

This is Austin.

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View from Mount Bonnell

 

This is Austin.

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Vendor at Uncommon Objects

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is Austin.

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Bananagrams outside Bananarchy

This is also Austin (oops, sorry, that’s actually Spicewood).

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Rope-swinging at Krause Springs

I took an impromptu trip to Austin, Texas a few weeks ago to visit a friend who turned out to be the best tour guide in the world. We visited a whirlwind of places in three days and I felt like I got a beautiful albeit brief taste of ATX.

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Mural on South Congress St.

My friend picked me up from the airport and took me straight to Four Brothers, a Venezuelan food truck on South 1st. I had the most delicious arepas and tried Topo Chico, a sparkling mineral water, for the first time.

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The next morning I ate breakfast at Voodoo Doughnut downtown on 6th street. They had every option imaginable. I settled with an Abuelita (Mexican hot chocolate) cake doughnut, and tried my friend’s hibiscus-frosted doughnut and loved hers even more.

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Inside Voodoo Doughnut Austin

I then visited Umlauf Sculpture Garden, an eccentric and serene showcase of the work of Charles Umlauf and other sculptors. This was my favorite. I stood looking at it for I don’t know how long. I’ve never had a sculpture make me feel so much at once.

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The Kiss, 1970 by Charles Umlauf

Barton Springs Pool, in its surprisingly teal beauty, was right around the corner. The natural swimming hole seems to attract a balance of families, college students and people of all ages. Cold but definitely worth swimming the length of it (three acres!).

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Barton Springs Pool

I went shopping on South Congress St (“SoCo”) and wandered in a few quaint stores.

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Uncommon Objects: color-coded, second-hand antique shop

For lunch, I stayed on SoCo and ate at Guero’s Taco Bar, a Mexican restaurant. Best limonata ever. And my mouth still waters looking at this picture of my meal.

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Tamale and tacos al pastor

We drove to Waterloo Records, a hub for the Live Music Capital. It was the largest and busiest music store I’ve ever been in.

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I had brunch the next day at Texas French Bread. Expensive, but really delicious food. Its atmosphere reminded me of the kind of place that a young female columnist has brunch on a Saturday morning and to be inspired by the conversations around her for her next article. Or maybe that was just a personal daydream.

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Inside Texas French Bread
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Lovely cappuccino and breakfast tostadas

We took off for Krause Springs, a 45-minute drive to Spicewood. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip. The natural springs had two waterfalls, a rope swing, a serene butterfly garden and not too much of a crowd.

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Butterfly garden in Krause Springs
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Natural swimming hole at Krause Springs

The evening concluded with an Austin Poetry Slam at Spiderhouse Ballroom. It was my first slam and a dream come true. I had goosebumps the entire time. I ate next door at the venue’s cafe and was shocked to see such a bustling place so close to midnight. I would go back for the horchata cold brew, alone.

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Top three winners of Austin Poetry Slam: Glori B (1st), SC Says (2nd), Christopher Michael (3rd)

Bat City: bat-watching at sunset in downtown ATX. Apparently this is an Austin tradition, and it was hard to miss which bridge because of the crowds. It seems like most of the bats have moved their flying spot, but we saw a few below us and it was magical.

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Late night snack at Bananarchy food truck: truly revolutionary frozen banana desserts.

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“Cup of Joe”: dipped in chocolate with espresso grounds, cream, sugar and cinnamon

I finished my trip with a hilariously brief 3-minute hike to Mount Bonnell, the tallest point in the city. The lookout felt like forgotten ruins and would be a great place for a picnic with a view.

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Thanks for the memories, beautiful Austin. I’ll come again.
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