Austin- Pleasantly not what I expected.

If you’re an art-loving, nature-seeking, foodie, who also happens to love drinking craft beer, then Austin, Texas is the place for you! I expected cowboy hats, bull riding, and for everything to be BIGGER, as they say in Texas. Maybe that stereotype came from old movies or something, no clue where I got the idea, and maybe it runs true in other areas of Texas,but not Austin. That city is rustic and full of self-expression. Could call it a “hipster” town.

As soon as we landed we high tailed it in the rental car for the Baylor Street Art Wall. Its a huge hill of just walls that the locals come and cover in graffiti(art) on a daily basis. It is truly art and it’s refreshing to see that the city allows it. As a visitor, I definitely appreciated it.image image image

Next stop, Lady Bird Lake. NOT actually a lake, just a  large reservoir in the Colorodo River that runs through downtown , so it annoyed me to call it a lake.On the RIVER were tons of paddle boarders and kayakers.Of course, we hopped in a double kayak and spent a while on the river. I even ran into a fellow photographer who gave me some great tips for cloudy days like that particular day.I love advice and help from other photographers, I always try to learn new things.image

That night we made our way to Rainey Street. Rainey St. is a block of homes that have been gutted and renovated into bars. Each house bar is unique and many are accompanied with a food truck in the back yard and out door games lie cornhole. You feel like you’re a friend’s house party. After bragging about being able to drink copious amoutns of beer I ended up passing out before we could make it halfway down the street and I was carried home for the night. Rainey St-.1 Amanda- 0.

Suprisingly I wasn’t hungover the next day and we rose before dawn( because of my sunrise obsession) to see the sunrise from Mount Bonnell. To my disappointment, “mount” bonnell was more like a long drive up, and a small staircase to the top. I was prepared fro a mountain hike with a beautiful sunrise to great me at the top. Instead, it was cloudy and bushes blocked where the sun would’ve risen anyways. My advice, leave mount bonnell off you list of must-sees if you have limited time n Austin.

After the Bonnell bust, we decided to head to The Hamilton Pool Preserve. It’s a 45 minutes out of the city, but well worth it! You must call ahead and make sure that the preserve is open that day. Sometimes, with too much rainfall and runoff they will close it. You also must get there right when it opens because they will turn people away if the preserve fills up. The preserve is a natural pool that was created when the dome of an underground river collapsed thousands of years ago. The waterfall drops a gorgeous 50 ft. The ceiling forms a sort of grotto. It is absolutely breath taking. I couldn’t stop saying “oh my god” the entire time. I am much more impressed with what nature has to offer, rather then buildings and cities. The preserve was by far my favorite part of the trip.image image image

Another must-see: The Cathedral of Junk! Can you say most creative hoarder ever?! The cathedral of junk is literally a two story junk pile in a man’s back yard.He started building it in 1989 and has attracted travelers ever since. The popularity of it has grown so he does require call aheads now and for you to park down the street because a few neighbors aren’t too happy about all the neighborhood traffic.image

A few other spots to check out:

The Oasis- Overlooks Lake Travis.

Sear Sucker- For some AMAZING food! ( a little pricier though).

Jackelope- located on 6th street. If you haven’t had a burger here then you’ve never had a burger. By far the BEST! and make sure to get you photo riding the jackelope!

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