Today we went to Austin to see the Capitol building. The first thing we learned was that there are a lot of homeless people near the Capitol. The second thing we learned is that it's tough to get a parking spot. 

But we found one, fed the meter, and walked a couple of blocks to the Capitol. The view as we walked up the stairs is scenic as all get out. The building is topped with a big statue, which makes the Texas Capitol building taller than the US Capitol building. Good ol' Texas, got to be the biggest in everything!
That beautiful dome is 266 feet up. The star in the very center is 8 feet wide, and the letters around it spell out "Texas". Like there could be any mistake!
Marla had pointed out that Texans love to display their state star, flag and/or name. Boy, is she right! Here even the door hinges proclaim the state name. These are the fanciest door hinges I've ever seen, and each one weighs 8 pounds. 
And in the Senate and Representative rooms, the overhead lights are shaped like the Star of Texas, and the lights in them spell out Texas. 
We were just in time to take a tour. I learned that Texas was an independent territory republic for 9 years, between gaining independence from Spain and joining the Union. 

I learned that after President General Antonio L√≥pez de Santa Anna wiped out Texas defenders at the Alamo and again at Goliad, he lost everything in an 18 minute battle at San Jacinto. 

I learned that the original Capitol building was built without using any public funds or taxes. They just traded 3 million acres for the $3.7 million needed.  

And I learned that the collective photos of the Senate historically include several children. The children don't have any duties, of course, it's just something they have done here for several decades.  
I found another example government's odd way of doing things. On the three levels of the rotunda, they hang the portraits of Texas governors. The most recent portraits are on the first floor; from there the portraits go back in history, filling the first and second story, and most of the third. Currently there is room for six more portraits on the third floor. And every time they get a new governor, they move each and every portrait over one position, to hang the new one in the first space. 

But they did show some sense when it came time to expand the Capitol. In order to preserve the beauty of the building, they built their 4 story addition behind the old building and underground. The skylight at top level of the addition is level with the ground.  
We wanted to each lunch in Austin and asked our docent for suggestions. Her list included the Capitol Cafe, so we decided to eat there. I ordered a baked potato that was supposed to come with veggies on top. I sweet-talked the server into topping it with pulled pork instead. I know how to eat a baked potato!
Before we left Austin we walked over to see a beautiful nearby church. It's the St. Mary Cathedral, built in the 1890s. Love the bell tower! (Thanks to Wikipedia for the pic, I couldn't get the whole thing in frame)
File:Saint Marys Cathedral Austin Texas.jpg
And inside it's just as wonderful. Even the roof supports are beautifully designed and executed. 
There are breathtaking stained glass windows everywhere. The most colorful one is in front, over the altar.
Tall stained glass windows line both walls. I thought the one of St. Cecilia was particularly sweet. 
And what an amazing Rose Window! This beauty was pretty much obscured by the organ until 1977; who could cover this?
That was enough of Austin for one day; we drove back home and got ready to go to Marla's for dinner. Randy wanted to make breakfast for dinner: bacon and eggs, sausage and waffles. As always, I ate too much!

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