My last story ended how I arrived in San Antonio at my hostel. The Bullis House International Hostel was owned by Alma, a friendly woman, who explained me lots of things about how to get where and what to do and see. It was already getting close to 8pm and I was getting a bit hungry. Alma pointed me to the main road where there should be some restaurants open. I walked over and saw that the hamburger place was already closed. I didn’t feel like walking much further, so I went to a petrol station and bought some sandwiches and drinks. Good enough for dinner and breakfast.
The following day I went to the city center with a public bus and enjoyed the day walking around. In San Antonio there is a river with a wonderful walkway next to it, the Riverwalk, (lower than the normal roads) and with lots of restaurants and shops. A bit touristy, but still a very nice feel to it. I had lunch at an Italian place, where the hostess kept on chatting with me, while she in between was trying to get new customers in. I think I heard here saying ‘Great Italian food, pasta’s, pizza’s, salads, mac and cheese for the kids’ at least a hundred times… I ordered a cappuccino, but for some reason (cleaning the machine or so) it took really long. So in the meantime they brought me regular coffee, free of charge. The cappuccino was delicious, worth waiting for! I walked up one bridge and went to the Alamo, a former mission (Misión San Antonio de Valero) from the 1700’s. After that it was a station for the Spanish Military and they called it the Alamo. During the Texas revolution against Mexican troops, the Alamo was the stage for the battle which led to the independence of Texas, and is nowadays seen as the symbol for the heroic struggle against overwhelming odds. After that I went back to the Riverwalk again where after browsing in a few shops I went to Durty Nelly’s, an Irish pub where a piano player plays all different kinds of, mainly Irish, songs. Very funny. Then some dinner at a Mexican restaurant, Casa Rio (yum!) and back to my hostel with the bus.
The next day I took it easy in the morning, with showering, packing my bags and having breakfast (another petrol station sandwich). I had lunch at Zuni on the Riverwalk and then went to the Greyhound bus station for my bus to Austin, Texas. As I was a bit early, they told me I could even try to get on the delayed bus of 1.30pm. This didn’t work. There were even people who had a ticket for that bus who didn’t get on. So I went back in the waiting line for my scheduled bus at 3.15. This bus was also a bit delayed, and we got in the middle of rush hour traffic at Austin. I arrived around 6pm and Rich, a friend of mine, picked me up. We went to place called Sam’s Boat for some drinks with friends of his and I heard that they, Jee, Brandi and George, are coming to the Octoberfest this year. Great, so I’ll see them again in Munich! After Sam’s Boat we went to a bar called Junior’s where they held a Bar Trivia. With getting us 19 out of the 66 points I helped the group pretty well, I think? And yes, we had won the Trivia! Yay!
Wednesday the 14th Rich took me to Round Rock Donuts to get some for breakfast. Sweet! But good! Then Jee also came over and they took me to show me the Round Rock of… well, Round Rock. It’s a rock in a creek on a cattle trail, and was used as a landmark. After that we drove to the Oasis, a ‘theme park / restaurant / bar / and everything’ that was over the top decorated with all different statues, as if the designers couldn’t choose which ones to put in. We had a nachos bowl there with a great view over Lake Travis. The level of the lake was a lot lower than usual, but it was still a great view. At sunset a lot of people come to the Oasis as the sun goes down at the other side of the lake. Then we went to Hamilton Pool. I saw a picture of it in a German magazine and thought: that looks great! Rich was surprised I even heard of it. Jee had never been there and Rich thought he also hadn’t (though when we were there he remembered he had). To get to the pool there was a walkway of a quarter mile down. And the pool, with an overhanging grotto on one side, was beautiful! Probably even better in summer, with more fresh green trees and plants around it, but hey, at least it wasn’t overrun with other tourists. We walked around the pool and took a couple of photos. Then we had to walk back up to the car again. At the pool it was: Thanks Maaike for getting us to go here! Back at the car it was: Well, thánks Maaike… (just kidding) We then drove all the way back to downtown Austin, because at 6pm the Parlotones (a band from South Africa that I love) were going to play at the Brew Exchange. And it really was an exchange: the prices of certain beers would go up or down, depending on the demand. So just wait till the right price to get the beer you want! Haha! The bar had two stages which they used alternately, so every half an hour another band was playing. Since it was only 3.30pm as we got there, we decided to go for something to eat at Wahoo’s, and hoped it wouldn’t be completely crowded when we would get back to see the Parlotones. We had enough space in the bar when we got back, so no worries needed there! Before the Parlotones set up their equipment on the stage, I had a little chat with them and the singer told me I could go on a photo with them / him afterwards. Jee, Rich and I enjoyed the show (two new fans gained?) and they finished with the awesome Push me to the floor (check it out if you haven’t heard it yet!) which rocked the whole bar. As they cleared the stage again for the next band, Kahn came over for the promised photo and Rich took two of us, one normal and one with the Kahn-signature-pose. Yay! We then went over from West 6th Street to Dirty-6th Street, the area where the tourists and youngsters hang out. But over the SXSW Festival it’s great to walk around. Every bar has live music, changing bands every half an hour so great to do a bit of a pub crawl. Just crawl out if you don’t like the music. Seen a couple of good bands, and some that needed some more practice… For the last beer of the evening we went to Plucker’s Wing Bar and of course had chicken wings with the beer. Awesome day!
Thursday we had an easy morning with coffee and browsing for Rodeo tickets and then went to have lunch at SoCo (South of Congress) and I met Ashley again. She used to work with Rich for a tour company and she has been on the Castle tour too. Great to see her again. We then went to downtown again, saw a few more bands, spotted the Naked Cowboy from New York City and in the meantime Rich checked his phone every other minute to see if we got some tickets for the rodeo. Because, when in Texas… go see a rodeo! Luckily at about 4pm somebody sent a message that she had two tickets for us so we went to pick them up and went to the rodeo. We had BBQ dinner, which was very delicious, and then watched the rodeo: cowboys on horses, using lassoes to catch calves, men riding crazy wild horses, and of course bull riding… yikes! The rodeo clowns entertained in between. After the rodeo we got to see a performance of The Band Perry, a country band and their music was wonderful!
The next day I had breakfast taco’s for the first time and they were good, but filled me up for the rest of the day pretty much. Rich then dropped me off at the airport where I flew to Denver, Colorado. The flight was only a little bit delayed and in Denver I could easily catch a shuttle to Fort Collins, where Michelle, a girl I used to work with in Sydney, Australia, lives. She picked me up from the shuttle stop and we catched up of the past 4 years with a beer on the patio. Then we went to a birthday dinner of a friend of hers and then out for drinks. That was a long day with all the traveling and drinking, so I fell asleep as soon as I hit the pillow.
Looking forward to the next adventures!
Lots of love,