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Texas Road Trip

barWhen a friend, who works for British Airways, asked if I would like to be on her 'friends and family' flights for a cheap holiday (with the possibility of travelling in Club class) I did not hesitate to say 'Yes'.  We decided on a road trip in Texas over New Year. So shortly after Christmas we left the cold, wet and rainy UK and flew to Houston.  Flying in Club is something I may never experience again. Being able to transform your seat into a bed whilst flying in the air is truly amazing!!

First stop from Houston was to drive south to Galveston (of said Glenn Campbell song).  Galveston is a beautiful holiday coastal town situated on Galveston Island just off the coast in the Gulf of Mexico.  Staying there out of season was quiet, however there is lots to see and do. We stayed at one of the many hotels along the Seawall Boulevard with fabulous views over the water.  Stroll along the boulevard and visit the Historic Pier or visit Moody Gardens, which is a theme park, pleasure garden and educational experience.  Although Galveston is interesting, don't stay too long as Texas has so many other places to visit.

A trip to Texas would not be complete without a stay in San Antonio, home to the Number 1 tourist attraction in Texas - the Alamo.  Here you can learn about this important piece of Texan history when Mexico (temporarily and forcefully) won the Battle of the Alamo.   We were in San Antonio for New Year and the famous Riverwalk was full of restaurants and bars to cater for every need with street entertainment and concerts to help bring the New Year in.

Leaving the large city of San Antonio, we wanted to experience a border town and so we drove to Del Rio on the Texan/Mexican border. Del Rio was certainly not picturesque and the motel we had booked into was on what appeared to be a large industrial estate.  Del Rio is essentially a truck stopping point and is famous for being home to the Laughlin Air Force Base.  At night we had planned to get a taxi over the border to Mexico to have drinks and dinner in Ciudad Acuña, however our friendly taxi driver advised against it and practically scared us out of it!  Instead we went to a bar which was in an aircraft hanger in the middle of a car park, where an 80 year old woman was the bouncer on the door, checking us for firearms!!  Although not what we'd had in mind it was an experience. The Texans are very friendly and happy to have a chat.

acunaThe next day we made the journey to the border as we had decided to cross it.  We parked up and walked for a bit and took the obligatory photo at the 'You are entering Mexico' sign.  Once across the Ciudad Acuña International bridge, we were in Mexico. Feeling we should show our passports to someone we eventually found an office with a person in, who could have been a cleaner for all we knew, but who happily stamped them.

Ciudad is a lovely small town filled with small shops and bars.  We drank and ate in the famous Corona Club which is known for appearing in the films El Macharia and Desperado.

However the trip back across the border took longer. The Americans being more stringent than the Mexicans in checking our papers and querying why we had only gone to Mexico for a few hours. Unless you have a burning desire to go across the border, maybe give this a miss!

On our way from Del Rio to Austin, we stopped at the German influenced Fredricksburg.  A quaint little town and worth a night to have some time away from the hustle and bustle.  We also made a special trip to Luchenback, not far from Fredricksburg, a tiny Hicksville ghost town hamlet.  It caters for the tourists, but is a bit of fun and you will get to hear some good country music up close and personal.  Worth a trip.

Next stop Austin.  We were extremely happy.  It is a cool city to say the least.  We stayed at the fabulously retro Austin Motel in the SoCo area of the city, which is only about a 1k walk into the city.  The area is packed full of coffee shops, bars and trendy vintage clothes shops and it is easy to pass an afternoon mooching around and soaking up the atmosphere.

austinAustin is the state capital and a visit to the Capitol Building and catching a free tour is the best way to have a full understanding of the political history of the state as well as some amazing views downtown.  There are several fascinating museums to visit too.

For a night out head out for some live music, which is what Austin is famous for.  Blues, Country, Jazz, whatever takes your fancy there is a venue catering for it.  Coincide your trip with one of the many festivals which take place in Austin.  Most famously there is the South by SouthWest music festival in March every year.

As our road trip neared it's end, we travelled further north towards Dallas.  As time was pressing on we stopped in Dallas for the day on our way to Fort Worth which is the adjacent city.  Dallas is most famous for two things.  We wanted to ensure we ticked both boxes.

Our first stop was downtown at the Grassy Knoll in Dealey Plaza then to the Sixth Floor Museum to see and learn the history of the JFK assassination. I am not one for visiting museums, but this story is captivating.  The museum is in the former Texas School Book Depository, where on the 6th floor, where Lee Harvey Oswald is 'alleged' to have shot JFK from.  Take a few hours here, then wander outside and stand on the 'Grassy Knoll' and cross the street at the actual point where JFK was assassinated. 

southforkThe next day, and our final stop to tick the second box, took us on a short drive out of the city into real cowboy land. Here we visited a small house that the world knows as Southfork.  The home of JR and Sue Ellen is now a conference and banqueting centre, but is open to the public for tours.  The house itself is in fact tiny in real life and does not, from the outside have the grandeur of the one that was seen on TV, that was courtesy of clever camera trickery. We did come away with a photo of us outside Southfork (seen left). The inside of the house does not have the same layout as the 'real' house, although it is kitted out with furniture 'from the period'.  Still, it is worth a visit for die hard fans and you could even have your wedding there.

Before we left Fort Worth, and headed back to our flight in Houston, we spent a night in the trendy area of Stock Yards which is a must for a top class steak.  Our Lone Star State trip was at an end.  The people and places we'd visited had made it a wonderful experience.


The city of Austin should not be missed. A great and fun hotel where time has stood still is the Austin Motel. I can highly recommend it. It is well positioned on trendy South Congress a short walk into centre of town. It is in a small oasis of its own surrounded by trendy vintage clothing shops and quirky bars and cafes.  See more details here.

For an alternative stay, try the Hanger Hotel in Fredricksburg. See details here