Skip to main content

Austin part 2

Well, I wrote about Bats, Bluebonnets and Breakfast Tacos in a previous post, but that only seemed to cover about half of what we actually did in Austin (were we really there only for a weekend?). And we had several more great photos that Graham has been bugging me to post on my blog, so prepare yourselves for an extravaganza of colour, light and image!

Austin is known as a great place for live music, which presumably explains the psychadelic guitars left lying around the streets. Here's Graham with a couple of his dream instruments.






















We visited the Texas State Capitol, built on a grand scale from tons of pink granite and limestone. The state capitol, you understand, is located in the state capital. Don't get confused.
Americans definitely tend towards the domes-and-pillars school of architecture for their governmental buildings. I had a feeling this was true, so did a quick search for corroborating evidence and discovered this great site by a photographer who's travelled around to take photos of all the state capitol buildings in America. I rest my case.
Inside, this is the dome looking up:


and this is the dome looking down:

The terrazzo flooring represents the seals of the six nations that Texas has been governed by. From bottom and anticlockwise, The Kingdom of Spain, The Kingdom of France, The Republic of Mexico, The Confederate States of America, The United States of America, and in the centre, the short-lived but very proud Republic of Texas.

Even the door hinges are ornamental.

Sixth Street is the bar strip for the young, trendy and beautiful of Austin. I'm not sure how many counts Graham and I qualify on, but we ventured out for a few drinks and a sampling of the atmosphere. We listened to a couple of guys playing great guitar in a place called the Blind Pig, and watched the streams of beautiful people passing by.

Wandering back about midnight, we passed a still-open coffee shop and impulsively decided to turn in for a coffee and a bite to eat. It was quite an atmospheric contrast to the packed and noisy bars around the corner, containing a scattering of somewhat less beautiful people reading books and quietly chatting, and a number of quirky works of art. Graham added to these with the above photo, which we thought was just awesome. It's a pistachio muffin, which wasn't quite that green in real life, but close; and the colour swap option on the camera highlighted it perfectly.
Next day, before going to the wildflower centre, we spent a short while at a nature reserve and park where many peacocks lived. It looks most uncomfortable to have that much tail dragging behind you all the time, but it has to be said they are highly photogenic birds. This is a small selection from the 50 or more peacock photos we ended up with.

In full glory.
With triplet of grudgingly admiring females.
Sun on tail feathers.
And finally, I never really thought how cacti grow, but I didn't think it would be like this. Those miniature cactus-lets are so cute!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Twelve Steps of Humility and Pride: Spiritual Formation Book 13

"Love is a sweet and pleasurable food because it gives rest to the tired, strength to the weak, and joy to the sorrowful. Love makes the yoke of truth easy to bear and its burden light." Bernard of Clairvaux was born in 1090. At the age of 22 he became a Cistercian monk, and persuaded about thirty of his relatives and friends to join him on this path. He became the abbot of Clairvaux when he was 25 years old. During his lifetime he founded many other monastic communities. This edition includes two of St Bernard's books: The Twelve Steps of Humility and Pride and On Loving God . They are short books, with very short chapters, often only a page or so long. The first was written for his fellow monks; the second for "the illustrious Lord Aimeric, Cardinal-Deacon and Chancellor of the Roman Church", who had apparently been asking Bernard questions about the faith. What is the book about? Twelve Steps spends its first half describing what the goal of humility is, b

San Antonio

San Antonio is towards the south of Texas and feels very much more Mexican than American. The balmy evenings, the colourful Mexican market, the architecture of the buildings, and the number of people speaking Spanish around us all added to the impression. The city, in fact, grew out of a Spanish mission and presidio (fort), built in 1718 as part of Spain's attempt to colonize and secure what was then the northern frontier of the colony of Mexico. Texas was then a buffer zone between Mexico and the French-held Louisiana, and Spain was keen to cement her hold on the area by introducing settlers and converting the natives to Catholicism and loyalty to the Spanish government. The missions in general had no great effect, but the San Antonio area was the exception to the rule, growing into an important city with five missions strung out along the San Antonio river. The first of these, San Antonio de Valero, later became well-known as the Alamo, where 182 Texans died in 1836

Melbourne Art Festival: A Surprisingly Good Afternoon Out

Maybe it was the warm autumn weather.  Maybe it was the fun of peeking into other people's back gardens.  Maybe it was the novelty of standing with other people, listening to real live musicians.  Or maybe it was just the giant pink ice creams. Whatever it was, Melbourne Festival had turned into a surprisingly satisfying afternoon.  I'd seen the posters for it and thought it might be a nice change from yet another walk on a Sunday afternoon, but that was about as high as my expectations had been. When we arrived, the male three-quarters of the family were immediately pleased to see the signs for classic cars at Melbourne Hall.  Shortly afterwards, I was pleased to discover that there were only about half a dozen of them, so that we could rapidly move on to less mechanical works of art. The festival was spread out around the village of Melbourne, in churches, halls, and private gardens.  Melbourne is one of those fascinating places anyway, with archways and alleyways and houses