Sunday, April 13, 2014

Downtown Austin, Texas, plus Pam and Lindy

We've seen a lot of Austin.  Some of it intentionally, some of it not.  Either way, it's been good.

Friday we drove north on Congress Street, which is essentially Austin's Main Street.  If you kept going, you'd hit the state capitol. We crossed Lady Bird Lake via the Ann W. Richards Bridge. Up to 1.5 million bats spend the spring and summer under that bridge, forming the the largest urban bat colony in the U.S.  Per an Austin web site, the bats migrate to the bridge where they give birth, hang out (literally) until fall, and then migrate south. We didn't see the bats, but they apparently leave the bridge at night in a big black cloud that can last for as long as 45 minutes. It must be amazing.

We walked through the Rainey Street District, which is full of bars and restaurants and under going a lot of construction and renovation. We walked the Congress Street District with its businesses, the 6th Street District with more restaurants and bars plus tattoo parlors, the Convention Center District and who knows where else. Then it was back to Rainey Street for lunch.

After that we decided to go to a Central Market, an upscale grocery store Steve and Norma introduced us to in San Antonio.  But instead of 40-something South Street, 40-something North Street was entered into our directions app, and we got to explore an area near the University of Texas.

As for yesterday and today: Saturday we drove west to meet up with a friend of Jim's from when he worked for Intel Corporation -- Pam, plus her husband Bart. Today we drove north and had lunch with Lindy and her family. Bev has known Lindy since she was born; Lindy now has a cool husband named Chris and two kids of her own.
Friday (the day we walked all over Austin) we had Cooper with us but left him in the car. We found a shady parking spot underneath this huge, spreading tree near Austin's Rainey Street District.
The Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail has the miles of paths in downtown Austin. 
Several Segway tours -- with tourists in matching T shirts -- passed us as we walked around Austin's city streets.  
Part of Austin's city scape.  The building on the left looked like an Escher art print.
Jim at Banger's Sausage House and Beer Garden in the Rainey Street District, where we had lunch.  If you get a tattoo of Banger's logo (a cowboy boot with the top part of the boot in the shape of a beer stein) Bangers pays for it.  We passed.
Near Austin's hike and bike trail that runs along Lady Bird Lake was this extremely thick and well-manicured lawn. Turned out to be upscale AstroTurf.
Three turtles sunbathing on Lady Bird Lake.
Saturday: Jim, his former Intel co-worker, Pam, and Pam's husband Bart, who we met up with at Jester King Brewery in west Austin. Pam and Jim worked in Intel's global staffing department.  Bart is a physical therapist and an artist.  
In the background is the line to get a beer at Jester King brewery after a tour bus dropped off a load of people.  Fortunately we got there before the tour bus.  The brewery's parking lot was so big and had so may cars in it, I thought a concert was being held.  But no -- it was just people getting pizza and beer.
A view of one of the picnic areas at Jester King.
Sunday:  Lindy's kids Riley and Connor.  Connor is demonstrating his dining technique of moving individual mac and cheese noodles from spoon to mouth.
Lindy, Riley, Chris and Connor.  Lindy works for DeVry University.  Chris teaches 8th grade U.S. history.  We ate at Chuys, a Tex-Mex Restaurant that Lindy says is the best in the state (Lindy and Chris also met at one of the chain's other restaurants).  Very good!
Bev with Lindy and her gang.  Lindy's parents and Bev have known each other since about 1975. Our families celebrated many a Christmas, Thanksgiving, birthday, etc. together when Bev's kids and Lindy and her brothers were babies.

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