Today was a relaxing day exploring Austin with our friends Pae and Supachai. We began by visiting the original Whole Foods store in downtown Austin. While Ton knew that Whole Foods was from Austin I did not. They had a huge hot food bar there which became brunch for us. The food is trendy and aimed at a much lower demographic than us. I spent about 10 minutes looking for a plain orange juice. I found Kombucha, Keto, and a lot of mixtures of juices from plants that didn’t sound very good to me, though I was assured they were very good for me. I finally gave up on orange juice and settled for water.
Part of Pae and Supachai’s weekend routine is a walk around Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin. The Lake is a prominent green space in downtown formed by damming part of the Colorado River. It is a really nice urban space and both the walkways along the lake and the lake itself are very well used for exercise and recreation by the people of Austin. We covered about 5 miles watching families swimming in the lake, dodging bicyclists and joggers, and observing groups of kayakers and paddle borders going up and down the lake. Ton and Pae lagged behind most of the time as they chatted and caught up on life. Supachai and I are always amazed how long they can talk without running out of things to say.
Finding a place for lunch was difficult as both locals and tourists were out in force. We ended up in a trendy hamburger place where we had to wait in line for 45 minutes to get our seat in a packed restaurant. As I said yesterday in Austin people are trying to return to normal. Hopefully, it is not too soon.
The rest of the day was spent shopping for some groceries to stock Scout and our friends fridge. We arrived home just in time for me to watch the Timbers get crushed by Philadelphia 3-0.
Austin is a vibrant young city and we have enjoyed our stay here. The economy is largely driven by tech companies who are setting up second campuses here because of the cost of housing in California. Supachai commented that he and Pae are often the oldest people in the restaurants they go to, since Ton and I are slightly older than them we have been looking for someone who looks older than us, so far without success.
Pae and Supachai wanted to show us some more sites downtown and a couple of more restaurants. As we were arriving downtown traffic was being diverted away from the main street and was quite backed up. As today is Memorial Day we suspected some special event was taking place on the street. Supachai said he knew a place we could park and have a nice walk downtown. We covered another stretch of the river walk downtown, this time on a stretch that was largely on a platform above the river.
As we walked Pae and Supachai discussed where to have lunch and could not come to an agreement on a single restaurant. So they compromised by telling us we were going to have two light lunches at two of their favorite places. So to make up for eating two lunches we walked a little further and came to the cause of the traffic jam earlier. Today was the Austin Triathlon and we found the finish line.
Our first lunch was at a famous fried chicken place called Gus’ Fried Chicken. The chicken was excellent and worth the 45 minute wait to get in. Second lunch took place about an hour later at a German style beer hall on Rainey Street which is an area of the city known for restaurants and food carts. Ton and I split a bratwurst. We were definitely the oldest people in the extensive beer hall.
Our tour of Austin was not complete we went to Mt. Austin which is the highest point in Austin County at 760 feet. The view of the Colorado River and the expensive houses along the river was nice and expansive.
The final stop of the tour was a beautiful gardens near Mt. Austin. The highlight was a flock of peacocks in the garden. As we got in the car Supachai announced there was one more stop, we were going to pick up Chinese take out for dinner.