After our stay up late and catch up, we slept in until about 9:30am. Julie had to do a conference call at 7:30, but I fell back asleep and she came back and fell asleep too. We were staying on the executive floor, which meant we had lounge access with a continental breakfast. I had Froot Loops, why? I have no reason except I felt like a sugary start to the day. I also had an apple.
Since this was my give up control and not plan for anything type of vacation, we didn’t have any plans for the day. I had checked out some of the things online that there is to do, and one of those was a Bike Tour. We found the perfect tour…Austin in a Nutshell. It was a 2.5 hour tour of almost all of Austin. Luckily, it was on electric bikes. Kelly of Barton Springs Bike Rentals picked us up downtown and took us to the shop in Barton Springs. We got set up, and off we went!
The electric bikes were pretty easy to get a handle on. You could ride it like a regular bike, but when you needed a boost, you could rev it up. The bikes go up to 20mph, and sure do come in handy when we went up a steep hill. Plus towards the end of the tour, it was nice to just cruise along and enjoy the scenery.
Our first route was through a cute neighborhood with a mix of old, small houses and newer larger homes. It was beautiful with tree-lined streets. I think it was called Barton Creek, but I could be wrong. If I moved to Austin, this is where I would want to live (maybe, it was the first part of the city I really saw!). We made our way to South Congress, which is a really eclectic area. There are plenty of shops and restaurants and the famous food trucks/trailers.
We made our way past some great places like Home Slice pizza, the Continental Club, and Amy’s ice cream. We didn’t stop, but Julie and I decided we would come back to the area at night to hang out and have dinner.
We continued down Congress Avenue and stopped at the famous Congress Avenue Bridge. This is where over 1 million bats live, eek! More to come on that.
We then ventured over to the clock tower with no clock on it. It’s a neat building, where firefighters used to train and now chimes to tell you the time. I tried to be all artsy and frame the building with the tree branches :).
We also stopped by City Hall, which is shaped like an armadillo (you can’t really tell from the street, but I guess from the air you can). They have Friday afternoon concerts in this amphitheater that was built into it.
We then proceeded to check out “swanky” 2nd street, which their high end boutiques and NYC feel. Didn’t really get that. We checked out some downtown architecture, rode by the convention center, rode on the sidewalk where the Texas Walk of Fame is, rode down 6th Street, and made our way to the Texas State Capital.
We rode up close and there was a protest going on, something regarding the disabled. Not a huge crowd, but you realize that people fight for all types of causes. We went around the large building and headed to the University of Texas campus. We saw the largest dorm ever that has so many residents that it has its own zip code! We also heard the story of the UT Clock Tower, kind of crazy.
After UT, we went down 1st avenue, crossed the bridge, rode through Disch Field a bit, and headed back to the bike shop. Our tour guide Kelly was totally awesome, and we learned a lot about Austin and all the places we need to go. It was smart to start our vacation off with the tour. I highly recommend it!
After the bike tour, we headed to Hickory Street Bar and Grill. I had bought a Groupon a few weeks ago, so we didn’t have to spend much on lunch. It was pretty good. We were starving and I needed a beer. It hit the spot. It’s a cute place, with some outdoor seating. We ate outside in the shade (I haven’t mentioned how HOT it was have I? Ok maybe that will be in day 2, part II!) and took our time.
We weren’t too far from the hotel, so we walked back over and settled in for a nap to get ready for the evening! We covered alot during the tour and were pooped. Day 2, part II to come.
Hope you’ve enjoyed my first day in Austin!