Tuesday, January 22

Postcards from Austin (arts, music, culture)

When we left our heroes on their travel adventure in Austin, they finished a run around Town Lake and enjoyed a wide variety of culinary adventures. They also got a healthy dose of arts and culture. Let's see where they went...

The capitol was an impressive architectural and historical site.
Capitol as seen from the rose garden
 As more than 260 feet from the rotunda floor, the capitol dome is vertigo-inducing.
Capitol dome
And the stairway to the top is a good workout...
Flights of stairs in the Capitol.
We went on a free tour of the Texas state capitol...
One of the capitol tour stops
 ... where we discovered, among other things, that nearly every fixture boasts either the lone star or the word "TEXAS."
Lone star logo.
After the capitol, we spent several hours at the the Bullock Texas State History Museum. Much like Texas itself, the museum is huge.

The exhibit on women's rights was particularly captivating. Unfortunately photography is not allowed in the museum, so I have no photos to share.

On the other side of the museum-size-spectrum, the tiny Old Bakery and Emporium, just south of the capitol, is a neat place to stop. Arts and crafts for sale on the lower level are all hand made by Austin seniors. Proceeds from the shop support senior programs.

The upper level showcases a brief history of Austin.
Old Bakery
No trip to Austin would be complete without music.

We hung out at Maggie Mae's...
Maggie Mae's
... and had cocktails at The Firehouse Lounge during a jam session. The "lounge" is really a cozy little music space in a hostel. The drinks were good. The music was good. I'd recommend a visit.
Firehouse Lounge
Austin's quirky culture is a definite highlight of any visit. On New Year's Eve, locals gathered to give out free hugs.

The city also has a thriving art scene. We stumbled upon a shop dedicated to lomography, which was described to us as an analog photography movement.
Huge wall mosaic of staff photos
Speaking of art... Austin seems to be the bronze sculpture capital of Texas. There are dozens of statues and monuments on the grounds around the Capitol. There are sculptures depicting pioneer history...
Tejano history sculpture at the Capitol
...and glorifying cowboy life.
Texas Cowboy
The city also acknowledges its musical history with statues of Willie Nelson and Stevie Ray Vaughan.
Stevie Ray Vaughan
But my favorite statue was an unexpected discovery on 6th Ave.

The bronze of Angelina Eberly commemorates Eberly's successful bid to maintain Austin as the capital of Texas when then-governor Sam Houston attempted to move the seat of government to Houston.
Angelina Eberly
According to the historical account:
When the citizens of Austin resisted his attempts to move the capitol, Houston sent a delegation of Texas Rangers to steal the government archives. They would have succeeded if it had not been for a fiery local innkeeper named Angelina Eberly, who heard the rangers loading their wagons in the middle of the night. She hurried down to the the corner of what is now Sixth and Congress and fired off the town cannon, missing the rangers but blowing a hole in the General Land Office building. The cannon fire roused the populace, who chased down the rangers and recovered the archives near Brushy Creek.
And so we ended our whirlwind tour of Austin with a bang.

What sorts of activities do you seek out when you travel?

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