Today I woke up with a full blown cold. Tired, congested, snuffly, coughy, the whole nine yards. But I was determined not to let the entire day go to waste. Annie and I had a 9AM appointment for a walking tour of Austin, and doggone it, we were going to be on that tour! Even if I couldn’t EXACTLY remember the directions the guide lady had give me to the parking garage, so we ended up on the wrong side of the Capitol. Nevertheless! When I originally called to confirm Annie would be welcome on the tour I was cautioned we might need to hang back as some of the other group members might not be comfortable around dogs. We get there, and one dude was on his knees chatting with Annie within three minutes of our arrival, and I swear he was more interested in her than the tour.
The tour began with the Texas Capitol building, the largest state capitol building in the country, built entirely from Texas red granite. That chick on top is holding up the single star, also found on the state flag of Texas, symbolizing the Lone Star State. Fun fact I just learned: on the front of the capitol building you can see six flags represented, the flags of the six countries that have controlled Texas over the years: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederate States of America, and regular America. Apparently this is also where the Six Flags theme parks, headquarted in Texas, got their name.
From there we passed by the Governor’s Mansion which was behind a huge iron fence and patrolled by some pretty surly looking dudes. Even with all this security, seven years ago an unknown baddie threw a Molotov Cocktail up onto the front porch causing $25 million dollars worth of damage, not counting the $1 million dollars the tax payers had to fork over for Rick Perry’s rental pad. #justsayin
We continued down Congress Avenue, the main thoroughfare, and what was, back in the day, the Rodeo Drive of Austin. We saw the Paramount movie theatre which started out as a vaudeville theatre, switched over to movies, and then to a little bit of everything. The Paramount is celebrating it’s 100th anniversary this year.
My favorite stop may have been The Driskill Hotel, built in 1886 by a wealthy cattle rancher, he had busts of himself and his two sons perched on top of the building so that they would never be forgotten. Two years after building the hotel, his entire 3,000 strong herd of cattle froze to death over the winter and he lost the property. Since then it’s been an Austin institution. No, they don’t herd cattle through a la The Peabody (although I’m told Fort Worth has a twice daily cattle drive through town and that’s almost tempting enough for a six-hour detour). But it is where President Johnson and his wife Lady Bird had their first date. And it has an amazing bar with gorgeous stained glass and a giant steer head.
Oh, one other highlight from the tour:
I’ve decided to add a regular feature called Bad Ass Woman of the Day, as I seem to keep encountering them. (Annie Butler aside.) Well today’s BAWOTD is Angelina Eberly, an Austin innkeeper back in the late 1800s. Back in those days there was a big folderol between Sam Houston, the first President of Texas, and his successor, Mirabeau Lamar. Lamar wanted Austin to be the capital city, and Houston wanted it to be, well, Houston. So one night, under the cover of darkness, Houston (who by this time was Prez again) got a gang of dudes to break into the archives to steal all the official records and take them to a secret location. Well Angelina heard the ruckus, figured out what the deal was, ran out and fired off the town cannon to clue in the rest of the citizenry, thwart the thieves, and save the day! Rock on Angelina Eberly!
After the tour I was feeling pretty run down, and not at all bad ass. So I decided to pay a quick visit to one of the taco joints recommended to me and catch some Zzzzzs. The first attempt had a line for days, the second had been relocated, (and the new location was sketchy looking), and the fourth attempt was an utter GPS meltdown failure. After that I took a brief nap in the car. Finally, at long last, after only an hour and a half of searching, Annie and I filled our fat bellies with multiple plates of TacoDeli deliciousness.
And then we retired to our AirBnBStream to await my imminent demise . . .