BBQ, The Alamo and a Starry, Starry Night

Our next journey on the road was to the home of the famous Franklin BBQ – Austin.

Texas is all about BBQ and we have found that BBQ means different things in different states. In some states BBQ is more sauce oriented whereas in Texas it’s all about the smoke. Franklin BBQ has been around since 2002 where it began as a humble food truck. Franklin is all about low and slow with how they BBQ – they have perfected it and now people visit from all over the world to get their mitts on as much of it as they can eat!

We unfortunately arrived a little late in the day from Houston to get the good stuff – so agreed to come back early the next morning. For dinner we visited a local institution called Moonshine Grill where we had some good southern cooking (and Tex Mex) with, of course, some moonshine! We tried their seasonal blend – a gingerbread moonshine – which was derishous! After dinner we wandered around the city and visited the state capitol. It was an early night for an early start for BBQ!

So Franklin BBQ opens at 11:00am and closes once it’s run out of goods. Tim and I figured if we got there by say, 9:30am, we should get a good place in the queue. When we arrived – the queue was already headed down the street with people at the front in camper chairs (like they’d either been there all night or from very, very early in the morning!) Luckily it wasn’t TOO long so I jumped out and got in the queue so Tim could park the car. Whilst waiting we got talking with a woman from Los Angeles (Christina) who was there on her own and wasn’t leaving Austin till she had Franklin BBQ – it made the queue go a bit faster! 3 hours later we had ordered and were stuffing our faces.

The chefs work like clockwork to get through the crowd. We had ordered some lean brisket, some fatty brisket and 4 pork ribs (I know 4 singular ribs sounds pathetic – but just want to put it out there that 1 rib on its own is half a pound!) When you head up to pay – they ask how much bread you want (they literally have loaves of bread stacked waiting) and your plates are pieces of butcher paper. This has to be one of the best food experiences I have ever had in my life. No joke. Highly recommended.

After we had had eaten to bursting point – it was time to hit the road again to head south to San Antonio, the site of The Alamo. I had drawn the short straw and did the drive (where I secretly wanted to be in a food coma!) I noticed the architecture change quite a bit on the drive south – it became more Mexican looking with lots of clay and pottery-toned colours. The other thing I noticed was the increase in temperature! We checked in and headed back out into the sunshine to explore the site of The Alamo.

The battle of The Alamo was a pivotal moment in the Texas Revolution. Vastly outnumbered by the Mexican army – the defenders of the Alamo fought to the death inspiring many to rise up against President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna and his army eventually defeating them at the battle of San Jacinto crying “remember the Alamo!” We were still so full from BBQ that we decided to wander around the city and its canals in the warm evening air before retiring for the evening.

Photos from The Alamo:

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And from around San Antonio:

We had a rather long drive the following day through the desert to Fort Davis – however it was a beautiful day and we saw some amazing scenery. Our hotel for the evening was a quaint little place called the Limpia which was built in 1912 and was the social centre of town back in the day! We rugged ourselves up (thermals and all), had a quick dinner at one of the 3 restaurants in the town and hit the road again to MacDonald Observatory.

We attended what’s called a ‘Star party’ where the crew at the observatory use lasers (yes lasers) to point out certain constellations, as well as a range of telescopes to show the moon and some star clusters – one as far as 32,000 light years away. Mind blowing. It was a clear night – which meant great sky-gazing – but it also meant it was FREEZING (it got to about -10 degrees celcius!) It was an awesome experience but we were quite happy to get back to the hotel to some warmth!

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