An hour outside of San Antonio we came across Wimberly, a beautiful little town that’s surrounded by rivers and natural springs, so of course we couldn’t resist jumping out to explore and get some footage. We spent some time here absorbing the quaint antique stores, cafes and bars that line the streets, one of which was playing some incredible live Blues and Bluegrass music. Hopping back into the Mustang, it wasn’t long before we also reached the small historical town of Greune, where we’d heard the architecture and BBQ food was something not to be missed. Colonised by German and Eastern Europeans, the culture here has been enriched by its multi-cultural heritage and makes for some interesting exploration. After a lunch of typically Texan fish tacos, it was back in the car to continue on our journey to the Texan capital.
CONGRESS BRIDGE & RAINY STREET
After unloading our bags and recharging our batteries by the hotel pool we made our way to Congress Bridge to witness a truly unique spectacle. Every evening at sundown, thousands of bats appear from underneath the bridge and disappear out into the night. They didn’t leave us waiting. At 7.40 on the dot, a steady stream of fluttering bats came out from beneath the bridge and sped into the air above us before melting into the darkening sky. It really was an absolutely amazing sight. Soon after this the sky grew dark with thunderstorms and lightening claps could be heard in the distance. This in itself was a magical and atmospheric experience that only added to Austin’s infamous weird and wonderful charms and eccentricities.
Soon after this we made our way over to the nearby and recently rejuvenated Rainy Street. An infamous area where quaint houses have been transformed into hip drinking holes complete with backyards filled with food trucks and ping pong tables, this was an experience like no other. We started off with cocktails at Lustre Pearl followed by a Detroit style pizza washed down with some local draft beers at Craft Pride – definitely a trip highlight.
A GUIDED TOUR
Our first full day in Austin began with a visit to 6th Street, an infamous landmark strip of bars and music venues where we absorbed the local vibe and took some time out to talk to a few locals about this incredible city. After a few insightful discussions, we wrapped up filming to enjoy a quick Vietnamese lunch at another food truck before embarking on a guided tour. We drove around the all the main sights including Barton Springs, Longhorns Stadium, the famous University of Texas, the hills overlooking the city and the new ‘place to be’; East 6th District, which was a fantastic way to see the city. We then met the pioneer of Rainy Street, Bridget Dunlap, in her restaurant Mettle, for a further insight into Austin. A few drinks later and we headed over to East 6th District to enjoy a vegan meal at yet another food truck. Yeah, pretty addicted to the Texas food trucks if you didn’t notice…
AUSTIN SCULPTURE GARDEN & UMLAUF SCULPTURE GARDEN
Austin seems limitless when it comes to finding things to do and the Umlauf Sculpture Gardens are a perfect choice for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Whilst in the city we enjoyed a blissful wander round the gardens before moving on to the Soco District, an eclectic variety of small restaurants, music and art events and food trucks (our favourite). We also got the chance to interview top documentary maker Turk Pipkin at the Paramount Theatre before heading off on a tour of the Austin City limits television show, the longest running music series in American Television history.
Overall, we were completely won over by Austin and it was clear to us during our time here that this city really is the new up-and-coming capital of all things trendy in the US. We were not surprised to learn that around 150 people move there every day, eager to get themselves a slice of the action and admittedly, we’re a tiny bit jealous. Anyway, time to wave farewell to this amazing city. Next stop, Dallas…