Exploring Downtown- Austin, Texas (Part 2)

Downtown Austin

Surprisingly, we weren't hung over the next day despite the amount of alcohol and lack of sleep. Bennett, the other two couchsurfers and I went to get brunch in downtown Austin. The restaurant was some dog friendly place which kind of grossed me out but the food was good. Since the other two travelers worked remotely, they went to the library in search of wi-fi while Bennett and I went exploring downtown Austin. We walked along the Colorado River on W Cesar Chavez St passing the riverside parks. We kept hearing crazy bird calls like I've never heard before and found out that these huge black, raven looking birds, actually called Grackles, were making the noise. Their call was almost like a rusty hinge opening. It was so strange to me I'll put the link to the calls here.

The Capitol Building

We then turned down Congress St and went to the state capitol building. I've never been to Washington D.C. but I imagine that Austin's capitol building maintains some of the same magic and impressiveness. A combination of the statues, monuments, spacious walk ways and sheer size of the building was most impressive to me. The beautiful red granite building sits on top of a slight hill giving visitors a clear view of the river. And unlike most capitol buildings I've seen, there was a large plot of land surrounding the area which essentially acted as a park. Another great feature, it's for FREE! You can check out the hours, tours and other information can be found here.

On the inside this building is huge. The first thing that struck me was the 5 point star right under the dome. This star had the coat of arms of the different nationalities that played a part in the settlement of Texas: Spain, England, The United States, France, Mexico and the state of Texas itself. Portraits of every state president or governor lined the central rotunda. You could feel the pride and history in the old congressional library, senate chamber and grand staircase.

Graffiti Park

After a few hours exploring downtown we went to explore the Graffiti Park at Castle Hills. The park is "built" from the remains of an old building's foundation. You can bring your own paint (or if you're lucky someone will share theirs with you). It's encouraged to leave your own mark. Just don't be a dick and paint over someone else's detailed art. so I left the GART (Great American Road Trip) seen in the header image at the top of the page. 

austin texasLeaving Austin

The next day we left Austin for San Angelo. But before leaving we went to Pace Bend State park to go hiking. We heard there had been some flooding going on in the area but didn't know to what extent. Pace Bend is located in some foothills so at the beginning of our hike, we couldn't see the water yet. After about 2 miles of hiking and 3 hours spent making little comedy shorts on Snapchat, we drove to the lake. 

The lake was pretty flooded to say the least. The water was frigid cold considering how hot it was (pushing 98 degrees). So, we skipped out on the cliff jumping and decided to push on towards San Angelo.