We landed in sunny Austin on Monday evening, eager to explore the city we’d heard so many good things about. But first things first: tacos! Shane had booked us a table at La Condesa for dinner, just across the river from our hotel. It was a perfect evening for a stroll – warm, a little breezy, sidewalk terraces filled with people.

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Admittedly, the tacos were no match for Turlock’s finest taco truck, but this place definitely wins on presentation and ambiance.

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After dinner, we wandered over to Sixth Street to check out Austin’s famous nightlife. Horse and buggies, a dude riding a mechanical bull, bar after bar with live music of all sorts – it was a scene. But seeing as how it was 8:30 on a Monday night, most places were relatively empty, so we called it a night without taking any of those hustlers up on their 2-dollar margaritas (you know Shane shudders at this “quantity over quality” approach to cocktails, anyway).

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We rolled out of bed gloriously late on Tuesday and headed down to South Congress Cafe for brunch. Carrot cake French toast with creamy pecan syrup? Yes, please. It was rich and sweet and fluffy and ridiculously decadent – perfect vacation fare. Shane went nuts over his Migas Eggs Benedict.

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We loved the hip little stretch of shops and restaurants on South Congress – I bought a pair of handmade earrings, Shane looked in a shop window and wondered aloud whether he could pull off trendy western-wear, and we lamented the fact that we were too full to check out any of the street’s other culinary offerings.


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After making note of a couple places to return to, we drove to the other end of Congress Avenue to visit the city’s Capitol building. The exterior is constructed of unique red Texas granite, and the dome stands taller than our nation’s Capitol building in D.C. And thus concludes the trivia portion of this blog post…

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By late afternoon, I felt like I was due for some quality cafe time, so we headed over to Mozart’s to enjoy their sunny river-view patio. We sipped our cold drinks, read for awhile, and sank further into vacation-mode. Felt good.

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Our brunch had finally settled in our stomachs by 6:00, so we made our way over to Contigo for happy hour. It’s been a little tough to watch Shane drink his tasty cocktails while I play the part of the responsible pregnant lady, but I hardly missed the tequila in this concoction of ginger ale, lime, cucumber and mint.

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We made it back to our hotel just in time to catch that evening’s “bat exodus” at the Congress Avenue bridge. Yes, you read that right. The underside of this bridge is home to 1.5 million bats, and every evening at dusk between March and October, they leave their bat caves to come out and eat. We stood there on the lawn and watched them pour out of the concrete crevices and swarm in the darkening sky. It was incredible. And a little creepy. But mostly incredible.

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From the food to the (relatively) warm weather to the fascinating flocks of night creatures, this city was showing definite promise.