Goodbye to Austin
7 February 2019
Charlotte rounds off her year abroad and makes the most of her last few days in Austin!
About two weeks prior to my trip back from Austin, it dawned on me that I was leaving. This was right in the depths of finals week, and the coffee-induced late night cramming sessions were blocking my ability to think about anything other than being a student at UT Austin. But the fact was, I was leaving. I decided to put my studies aside and, for better or for worse, to cram everything into three weeks the things I hadn’t yet done in Austin.
The first stop was obviously Franklin Barbecue. I wrote about vegan food in a previous post, but honestly if you’re a carnivore, then Austin is the place for you. Franklin’s is legendary not only for being the best barbecue in America, but also for how long it will take you to get it. We arrived at 10 to be served lunch at 1.30, all the while standing in line in the baking heat. Anyone willing to stand and wait for their lunch for 3 hours has to be pretty keen, and this was no exception – people in line were swapping tips on what to order when we finally got served, and many had brought camp chairs and coolers full of beer to help while away the hours. Plus, I can honestly say the food was worth it. The brisket was a melt-in-your-mouth piece of heaven, and the Texan-style barbecue sauces (including Franklin’s famous espresso barbecue sauce) were insanity. I had tried other barbecue places in Texas, but this was by far the best.
In a previous post I wrote about how beautiful the surrounding countryside of Austin is, and I tried to make the most of it for my final few days in the city, going cliff jumping on Lake Travis and swimming in the ice-cold natural pool at Barton Springs (although I’d recommend the adjacent ‘Barking Springs’, which is free, has no policy on alcohol or food, and has the best thing of all – happy doggos). I also managed to squeeze a little bit more American football in, having learned that although I might not be a connoisseur of the game, it’s always going to be a good time. I went to the UT Football ‘Orange and White’ game, where UT players play other UT players. I can’t remember who won – maybe Orange? – but I don’t think that was really the point.
I’m now settled back in London, and honestly, it feels like I never left. That said, being in Texas at a particularly turbulent time in US political history has opened my eyes to a number of issues that I wasn’t so aware of before, and I’ve met people in Texas that I will never forget – I’m already planning trips back to visit them. If you’re considering a study abroad to Austin or anywhere, I would say go for it. I think the great benefit of studying abroad is the opportunity to be in another country as a university student (experiencing the culture that goes along with it), rather than as a tourist. It might be cheesy, but I really think it’s an opportunity that you won’t get again.
Big love to UT Austin and hook em’ Horns.