The stop at Fredericksburg was refreshing. We got back to the hotel around 7 PM and after a brief rest decided to have dinner on the riverwalk. A bit of research gave us few options for vegetarian food. Rio, Rio – a Mexican place was 1/2 mile walk. At that time of the evening, the Riverwalk was bustling with people and live music flowing onto the path ways. Even the side streets leading up to the Riverwalk was overflowing with diners. A few stops on the way and an inquiry had us at the restaurant. We got to sit on the second floor overlooking the water. As I had mentioned, a dollar goes a long way in Texas and we finished our dinner for less than $25 including a generous 20% tip.
Sunday morning was cloudy and drizzling a bit. Our stop was to be the Mission National park but after stepping out we realized that the temperature had dropped drastically from Saturday. It was about 40 degrees and walking outside in the cold wasn’t very enticing. We also had to drop off Canyon lake which was an hour and a half drive away due to the weather. So we stopped at the Japanese Tea Garden. This is a beautiful garden with a lot of stone work. The place reminded us of the smaller scale of structures that is so typical of Japan, one can recall some similarity with the Bonsai gardens. About 45 minutes was sufficient to walk through the gardens. Once outside we were onto our destination city of Austin.
We got to Austin around 12:30 PM. Another quick search found us the Z-rated Tarka. This is a unique Indian place where you order food much like you do at a McDonald’s or a Burger King as you walk in. Then your order comes to your table. The service was excellent and fast. The lassi and the chaats were awesome as well. The place was crowded with a lot of localites which speaks to the quality of the restaurant. It is hard to find a good restaurant in the Philly region where you can finish lunch within twenty bucks for two. Our lunch was a papdi chaat, samosa chaat, malai kofta and two lassis. One can not even dream about so much food for so little back home.
After lunch, we drove to the hotel about 8 miles away and close to the Austin airport. Our plan was to return the rental before 8:30 PM that evening but be close to the airport. The hotel had a shuttle service to the airport that was a deciding factor in us choosing the Courtyard. After a brief nap, we paid a visit to the State Capitol building in downtown Austin. Surprisingly we were allowed to take a self tour of the insides of the building which isn’t the norm in the Northeast after all the security measures after 9/11. We got to see the inside of the Capitol’s dome which is a marvellous structure and piece of work. All marble floor and some great wood work in Mahogany was sufficient to impress us about the prosperity of Texas. Over the past five years, since the recession began nationwide in 2008, the one-way U-Haul rentals from California to Texas has been steadily increasing indicating the success of the Texas economy and the State’s business savviness. But thinking about driving on the crazy, distracting streets I was content to put the thought of residing in Texas away.