We started the day with a trip to the Texas State Capitol - the tallest capitol building in the US (this point was hammered home a few times on our tour). We then wandered through the very pretty University of Texas campus to get to the Lyndon Baines Johnson presidential library. Every president since Herbert Hoover has had a library constructed after their term(s) ended, housing various document archives and historical displays about their life and times. LBJ’s library was excellent - it took us through the significant events of his presidency (from the JFK assassination to the Civil Rights movement to the Vietnam war) and included a 7/8ths replica of the Oval Office of the time, various gifts of state, and perhaps most impressively, a life-size animatronic joke-telling LBJ.
Repairing our split sides, we headed down to the river for dinner out on the “batio” for a chance to experience one of Austin’s more quirky attractions. From spring to autumn, sunset under the South Congress bridge sees literally (and we use the word literally literally here) hundreds of thousands of bats fly out from under the arches to feed on insects. Despite our waitress being pessimistic about us seeing them in November, we weren’t disappointed as we saw them swarm out for a half hour - truly impressive sight. We finished the night with a walk down SoCo (SOuth COngress - Americans love abbreviations) to check out the numerous late-night retail shops. At one stage, we questioned Austin’s reputation as the “Live Music Capital of the World” when we heard what sounded like an average-ish female singer fronting a semi-decent cover band. We couldn’t figure out why so many people were crowding their stage until we walked up ourselves and saw that it was actually a group of kids (probably about 8 or 9 years old) playing Muse and AC/DC with as much swagger as anyone. Austin’s reputation restored in our eyes, we retired to one of the numerous bars to sample the local Austin Amber.