April 11, 2010: Austin Museum Day

Today we are serious Austin tourists.  I have never gotten to do anything even remotely touristy in Austin before so this will be a lot of fun for me.  Dominica has also never done anything like this in Austin since she has never been here before yesterday.  Andy and Miranda have actually done more of the tourist-type stuff here that we have since this is their third day of doing that stuff.

We all got breakfast on our own and then met at our hotel, the Comfort Suites in Round Rock, so that we could carpool downtown.  On our way out of the hotel we swung into McDonald’s across the street to get iced coffee.  Dominica has gotten addicted to their iced coffee recently.

Our first stop for the day is the Texas State History Museum right in the heart of Austin.  It is a rather new museum and a very popular stop for people wanted to learn about Texas.  We got there about fifteen minutes before the museum opened so we just hung out downtown for a little bit.  It is a really nice day in Austin.  Perfect weather for Andy and Miranda to be down visiting.

We put a few hours into the Texas State History Museum.  It was fun but it did not take very long for Liesl to get bored.  There was a lot of great history to learn and I feel like I learned more from that museum than most students likely learn going through school about Texas history.  I was very happy that the museum did not appear to do anything to cover up the fact that so much of Texas’ history and existence was centered around the slave trade.  So often that is glossed over but they covered it very well here.

Part of the time Liesl was in her stroller but she tired of that quickly so we let her run around a bit.  For a long while I was stuck in a single exhibit with her just running back and forth in one room.  It was all that she wanted to do.  It kept her happy but everyone just left us there so I was stuck with her just hanging out there with nothing at all for me to do and if I tried to take her out of the room she would get all upset.

We had to cut the museum short a bit because Liesl was getting museumed out.  Originally we had thought that Dominica, Liesl and I would go to the Children’s Museum while Andy and Miranda hit an art museum but by the time that we were done at the Texas State History Museum we were pretty confident that Liesl would not put up with another museum and the Wests were not exactly feeling like going to another either.

So we walked out west using Miranda’s GPS that was in her purse and got some pub grub at a little English hole in the wall pub down there.  We had some time to kill before going on the afternoon Duck Tour of the city.

After the pub we walked up to the state capital building which I had not seen before.  Andy and Miranda toured it yesterday so they gave us the quick run down on the facility.

We went to the tourist office thinking that that was where we had to catch the Duck Tour.   When we went in we discovered to our horror that this was the “capital” tourist office and not the “Austin” tourist office.  As in, this is the place to get information about the capital building not the “capital of Texas” which is, of course, Austin!  Oh no.

We had walked to the capital building and we were a very long way from our car.  We were also a rather good hike away from sixth street where the Austin tourist office was located as it was explained to us by the capital tourist office.  The capital tourist folks were kind enough to call down for us and let them know that we were definitely coming and on our way and would be there as quickly as we could since we totally missed the window to be there in order to get a seat reserved!

So we fast walked as quickly as we could many blocks down to sixth, bought tickets and got ourselves prepped to take the Duck Tour.  We were pretty tired and hot by the time that we got onto the tour Duck vehicle.  It is a good thing that it is not a very warm day or that would have been really bad.  Liesl thought that the quick tour of Austin from her stroller was pretty cool, though.

The Duck Tour was a lot of fun.  We need to remember to do that more often in more places.  Dominica and I last did it in Halifax on our honeymoon and really enjoyed it.  They have them in Albany, Montreal and many other places that would be fun to do.  The tour took us into Lake Austin formed by the Tom Miller Dam which we found very entertaining.  One of the passengers on the tour was a girl who was celebrating her twelfth birthday.  So while navigating the “lake” the tour guide attempted to let her drive the boat which mostly resulted in us going in unending circles and Dominica getting a bit seasick.  The tour was a lot of fun altogether and we got to see a lot of stuff that we otherwise would never have seen.

From the tour we had to walk a very, very long way back to the car.  We ended up doing many times the walking that we had intended to do today.  It was great exercise and we had a good time seeing the city.

Our evening schedule was getting pretty tight so it was a quick race back to the car then to drive up to Round Rock to the hotel for a quick refresh and then to La Margarita to meet up with everyone for our big dinner that we had been planning for some time.  We had a really good turn out with Brian and Tara; Andy and Miranda; Dominica, Liesl and I; Jarrad and Jen.

After dinner it was back to the hotel so that I could get back to work writing my papers for class.  These papers are really overwhelming.  I am exhausted from dealing with them.

Tomorrow morning Andy and Miranda are flying back to Rochester.  Brian, Jen and I are driving down to San Antonio to get a tour of the famous Rackspace world headquarters “The Castle” that is located down there.  Then tomorrow night we return to Las Colinas.

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