Austin Daily Photo
train's a coming...
We were driving past the wonderful 30's power station I've been meaning to photograph for a while, but then this train turned up. You can't tell quite how weird and spooky the atmosphere was, standing there right by the edge of the track in the semi-dark with these vast huge containers coming by. So, more power station pictures another day, maybe when it is light enough to see clearly.
Shiny Happy Buildings
Downtown as the sun goes down on the other side. Note the little cute old place on the front left. And the blazing building in the middle is pretty. And there are skylines even in this one, just on the right of the picture there. I love this place.
Entrance area to the downtown flagship store of Austin's most world-famous natural and organic foods supermarket (supermarket! not grocery store! I do like it when European words turn up over here), Whole Foods
. It is easy to make fun of Whole Foods. They are so unashamedly unapologetically ginormously extravagantly Texas, and yet they have the same name as a hundred (OK, maybe there were only actually twenty) health food shops of the 1970's. I am not what you would call an environmental activist, but I cannot help wondering what original flower children would have thought of this place. They have lovely food though. Really very good indeed. As you can see, they are also selling bags of compost outside, and they have covered their security entrance doors with twigs for some reason. Twigs. Isn't that great?!
PS Also, notice all those wind chimes just inside! I could make more fun of those too. But I won't. Not only do we have some ourselves, all the grocery stores do wind chimes here, including the humble HEBs.
view from the camper van
A red Dodge truck catches the sunset. We've been seeing a lot of good sunsets lately and one of my favourite things about sunsets is the way the light reflects back on shiny buildings, cars etc. I once took some beautiful panoramic pictures of the buildings along the Danube in Pest from Buda bathed in orange sunsetlight. That was in the olden days when digital cameras were unusual, expensive and not very good; clothes were more boring; nobody had internets; and apart from that everything else was basically the same as it is now. Hmm.
More Free Music
It's great to cool off to some great music and BBQ at Hill's Cafe. Every Wednesday they have free country music concerts in an outdoor, kid-friendly environment. Since 1947 Hill's Cafe has been entertaining and feeding Austin...south of the river.
Giant billboard triangle and little stores
Not quite sure whom these billboards are aiming at (small light aircraft?) but the contrast struck me as quaint and interesting. Also, they have margaritas on...
Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits (in the sunset)
Fried chicken is of course one the Southern soul food greats. Popeye's originated in New Orleans and it is a long way from the cardboard burger of international "fast food" renown. Side dishes include Cajun rice, red beans and rice, corn on the cob and coleslaw as well as battered seasoned fries (yummy) and mashed potatoes and gravy (very popular Southern dish, not my thing at all). But we usually just get a box of chicken and eat it with some salad from home.
People who live near or walk by or know the creator of this outdoor art work will no doubt know all about it. Unfortunately I don't and life was too busy yesterday to stop and ask questions. So it's a mystery.
We apologise for the late posting of today's Daily Photo, with only 38 minutes or so left of today... but isn't this a great sunset? If you look closely, you can still see the cars in the foreground. There are many ways of photographing cars, and being in America teaches you them all! Although this particular picture was actually taken by my ten year old daughter, who was in the front seat of the camper van at the time and therefore able to catch the sun better than me. Of course.
wooden railway bridge
I don't know how old this is or whether they used wood for cheapness or because metal was too expensive/ hard to get in whichever days those were, but it is very pretty and appeals to me very much. Another example of the countryishness that permeates this city.
rainbow over the parking lot
Our amazement at coming out of the DIY store to find that it was raining
(!!) was overtaken only by our amazement when this fabulous rainbow appeared, which was surmounted only by the fact that the entire arch
was visible and it was a double rainbow too, if you look closely enough. We thought about either seeking pots of gold or trying to fly over the rainbow, and went home for dinner instead, because it's true what people say: On earth as it is in Austin, Texas
We have a policy of showing our best Austin pictures here first, but this one got away onto another blog yesterday. It's more Austiney than I realised at first glance, with the big pecan tree and the wild back yard and the obviously hot day... flip flops just out of sight.
sunset on the road
Can't recall where this one was taken, but really, does it matter? There are roads like this all around Austin, Texas and indeed America. I have never been a car lover, in fact I don't even drive (over here that's like not being able to read...), but even I can see the beauty of the great big open road looking at scenes like this.
Our poor old VW camper is not doing too brilliantly in the sun these days. It's hard to be air cooled when the air is like a sauna. And here's another risk of combining your American love of cars with your Texas summer heat... I just hope the firefighters have mini air-conditioning systems inside those suits!
Austin is the capital city of the biggest, lonest and possibly most famous state in America. It is also in many ways a cute old-fashioned Southern country town. You still have to stop your car at the railroad crossing, which still has crossed signs and bells and whistles. A younger family-member tells us that this is a terrible burden because the train takes so very long to go by, she is obliged to turn up late for school on a regular basis. Well you wouldn't want to risk arriving early, obviously!
a roadside meadow
This is a view facing away from yesterday's stadium. Although it is quite green and pretty, it is also characteristic Texas countryside with the now-yellowing grass and the hardy trees that look capable of surviving being blasted by all sorts of extreme weather. Native Texas plants have to survive both months of dry hundred-degree-farenheit summer and winter days when it goes below freezing, so toughness is what counts. Some say that rule applies to the humans here, too...
empty stadium in the early evening sun
Look at that long, long shadow... this is the sort of photo you might expect from Texas. No green, no clouds. Everything dry and hot and empty. Tomorrow we will show you the view in a different direction from this stadium, which is towards the edge of the city and used for various high school football games. But most of the time it is deserted, which is great because it just adds to the grand effect overall. A modern colosseum, complete with floodlights, right here in Texas!
This is the River City Donut and Coffee House on Research, but there are also two down south, on William Cannon and W. Stassney. I do still love the Krispy Kremes, but they are a bit like cotton candy as far as the satisfaction and inner joy they leave behind. These are proper donuts, with weight as well as calories, which can fill you up at breakfast time! Also there are a fabulous original seventies interior, old-fashioned coffee refills from a jug, and real china plates and metal cutlery! Traditional good old American loveliness all round and good value too.
There are a couple more pictures on this other blog of mine
. And today we would like to alert you to some other Daily Photo blogs around the world. Berlin Daily Photo
hails from one of our favourite European cities, now liberated from its World Cup football duties... the gorgeous beautiful Szentes Daily Photo
comes to you from a small town in Hungary, a fascinating country we would like to revisit (one week in Budapest is not enough)...and Stavanger Daily Photo
, from the Norweigan coastal town, with its cool Northern light, reminds me of LBT (Life Before Texas)...
Notice on the dam
It says: AUTOMATIC TURBINE ACTION MAY RELEASE SWIFT WATER ANY TIME WITHOUT WARNING. NO ACCESS BEYOND CABLE AT ALL TIMES. I think that should be "any time" instead of "all times". And "swift water" seems a little over delicate- don't they mean "absolutely huge gushes of water that could sink your boat and drown you"? The old-fashioned writing is nice though. The dam, called Tom Miller dam, was built in the 30's (1938 to 1940), an era of great modernist design; Austin also has a gorgeous 30's power station, which I will capture pictorially for you soon.
What could that big tall fence be for? Is there a prison in there, or a zoo? No, it is just a golf course. I don't know whether it was for road safety or golfball safety, but I had never seen anything like this before. So here it is.
Through the stone railing you can see the shore of Shoal Creek, famous for the "Memorial Day Flood" which drowned 13 people and caused $36 million in damages back in 1981.
Looking down from Westlake Hills on trees and trees and trees, and the downtown with its tall buildings ghostly in the distance. When I first came to Austin from Europe I found it weird that skyscrapers should exist in the middle of such a roomy town in general. But now I am used to this place. When something seems anomalous now, instead of asking why?
I simply ask why not?
This is Toy Joy, one of Austin's groovy independent unique shopping experiences. Inside it is stuffed with things and you can hardly move. Just like being in Europe! I suspect this shop is more popular among students than with children and families, but it has everything from playmobil to Jesus action figures. Their website
is here but it isn't very finished yet.
Vultures at Dusk
From left to right, John, Paul, Herbert, William, Ringo, George, Samantha, Annabel, Richard... no, I am only joking. The vultures do not all have names. They really are vultures though, and that one third on the left (from bottom, clockwise) is in a very characteristic vulture pose, with hunch-ey looking wings, isn't he? They are so lovable. We watched them for ages.
This is one of the greatest finds for us in Austin. Not only do they have great falafel for me, but they have Ribena and other English imports for the Mrs.!
Traffic Lights in the Sky
Here are some traffic lights in the sky. I like the way American signs command one to "yield". In the UK, where I am an immigrant from, they write "give way" instead. Give way sounds a bit like give up, whereas yielding is more active. Does that tell us anything about the American psyche? Your guess is as good as mine.
There are good views of Austin to be had from the south side of Town Lake which is a bit uphill. This is taken from South Lamar. You can see the downtown skyscrapers in the distance and a nice white VW bus in the foreground. Mostly I like all the wires and poles and cars in this one.
train in the rain
The weather has been unusually damp for the time of year this past week, and here is the view from our VW bus front window today: a blurry goods train by the side of the road and raindrops on the windscreen. Rain on July 4th is quite unusual, so I hope it didn't spoil anyone's holiday barbecue. Happy Independence Day!
I love cranes! Building work is always exciting, with its processes being mysterious to probably most of us, and as a growing city with 40,000 new residents every year, Austin needs constant ongoing buildings to match. This picture might not look especially characteristic of anywhere but it is definitely very relevant to Austin.
Actually, the Gold 'Dillo bus stop and the Capital Metro Signature Trash Can make it quite characteristic!
I don't know what these are, but they are pretty and you seem them around quite often. As I am often saying, contrary to what you might think from Dallas
or Paris, Texas
, there is a lot of countryside here and the plant life runs pretty wild (much of the time). The landscape around Austin reminds me of Spain or even the south of France. Both places where many Texans' ancestors actually came from, once upon a time, in fact.
Home Slice Pizza
Home Slice Pizza has not been in Austin very long, but already seems like part of the furniture. We do still need more good, independent, non-Pizza Hut pizza places, and if they also offer New York style pizzas and a grungey bar atmosphere, then all to the good. This is the view from the side, going downhill, on a weekday night. How do they say Bueno appetito!
in New York?