What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

06 July 2011

"This Is More Fun."

I knew our trek on Route #30 was going to be a good one when it started off with a conversation with a wee boy and his mum. The wee boy was giggling with pure joy at the universe, and his mum told us how much he loves to ride the bus. She finished up with, "We could bring the car, but this way is just more fun." Yes. Yes, it is.

We're in a drought, but
this trail still manages to be
green and friendly.
The 30 passes a couple of parks and through a really pretty neighbourhood before our preferred first stop near the Austin Nature Center. There's a trail head immediately behind the bus stop, so that's where we headed. The trail is gorgeous and blessedly shady (it was around 100 Fahrenheit on this Friday afternoon), winding around a dried-up creek and including plenty of trees, plants, and informational signs. There's also a Lookout Point, which naturally we climbed up to, cursing our own stubbornness as we went. The Nature Center is really close to a freeway, and for this country-bred girl it's a bit surreal to be in the middle of forest and still be able to hear traffic. And yet, that's more or less what happens.

Our next stop was Barton Creek Square Mall, because we wanted as much contrast between nature and city as possible. The drive there was what really made it worth it, though, because the mall is near the Barton Creek Greenbelt, which meant hills full of trees, and as the bus came over a hill we could see for a long way. I was totally awed, because I never get tired of scenic vistas.

One downside at Barton Creek Square is the placement of the bus stop. I don't know if it's the mall's design, CapMetro's, or both, but the bus stop is situated so that passengers have to cross traffic and walk along the edge of the building (no sidewalk) past an unloading zone and behind the handicapped parking spaces before getting to the building. No "Watch for Pedestrians" signs, no crosswalk markings on the lot, nothing. It needs a redesign. I would imagine these not-ideal conditions extend to anyone who parks and has to cross the parking lot. Definitely needs a fix.

Now, I had previously thought that we had hit the heights of posh peeing the time we used the loo at the Scottish Parliament building. But I was wrong, because the facilities in Nordstrom are far superior to the public loos in Scottish government buildings. After we finished our visit, I remarked to Chad that it was probably the poshest pee I'd ever taken, but he disagreed; apparently the men's at the Radisson (where we dropped in for a visit last week) is fancier than the men's at Nordstrom. The women's, on the other hand, is much better in Nordstrom. Do with that information what you will.

As we wound our way from Barton Creek Square to the South Lamar Transit Center, I watched out the window and thought about how little I know of Austin. I'm very familiar with the swath of city from downtown to our apartment, but that's it; I've only become acquainted with a small sliver of the place I currently call home. And I suppose that's the real meaning behind this project, and probably the sort of motivation that convinces people to take staycations instead of going somewhere far off: There is plenty to be discovered right here. As we rolled down streets I've never seen and saw glimpses of neighbourhoods I've never visited, I was glad that I chose this stunt over any others that came to mind. It really is more fun.

More pictures from Route #30 are here.

How well do you know your city? (I won't specifically ask for public restroom comments, but by all means, feel free to volunteer them.)


Anonymous said...

That trail looks like a delightful spot to spend time on a hot summer day. As for peeing...well...any port in a storm as far as I'm concerned.

erica and christy said...

Hmm, I've never heard it called "poshest pee" before, but it works! There's one restaurant we go to that, when there, I always have to visit the bathroom, whether I have to go or not. It's that fancy, er posh. :)

Su said...

@Delores: Yes, very delightful! And that's a good point, hee hee.

@erica: Some bathrooms are just worth the visit! :)

anthony stemke said...

I've been in bathrooms so posh that I hated to use them.

Deniz Bevan said...

Great post! Now I'm trying to think of how many neighbourhoods in Montreal I've actually visited. And the best public restroom award goes to... hmm, maybe the newly renovated ones at McKibbin's Pub.

Su said...

@Anthony: Ha! :)

@Deniz: I'm totally willing to come up to Montreal and help you visit a few more. Especially if there's a pub with a clean restroom involved.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had fun! I remember in D.C. my friend and I were so amazed by the gorgeous bathrooms in the Capitol Building. The Lincoln Memorial was a whole different story. I actually don't know who gets the award in my hometown though.

Su said...

Dang! I don't remember visiting any restrooms when I was in D.C. That is, I used the restroom, but none of them were memorable.