Visiting Texas: Not What I Expected

Our route across the USA involved heading down the West Coast and then along the South to make our way to Miami. Texas seemed like a good route to take and we ended up staying there for quite a while, mainly because the state is so friggin’ big, but also because there’s lots to see. Prior to arriving, if someone had said Texas, I would have thought of BBQ, a Southern US accent, and cowboys. My experience, however, has been a lot different. Here are some things I’ve learnt about Texas.

Texas is Huge

Texas is bigger than the UK. Yes, that country I call home, you could fit it all into Texas, and more. In fact, you could fit 2.86 United Kingdoms into Texas. We’ve been on some long bus journeys in Texas, some better than others!

megabus
Megabus have been helping us get around the massive state. Not always on time or quite where we need to be… but still.

Texas Does Not Have a Lot of Cowboys

In my head, I thought Texas would be full of cowboys, maybe even cowboys on horses. Alas, not true. The only place you can really see cowboys in Texas is at the Stockyards in Fortworth, where people are paid to dress up like cowboys and be on horses. Apart from that, you may see a lone cowboy in an out-of-town diner, but aside from that, everyone dresses just like us.

halloween
Mitch decided to be a cowboy for Halloween, despite us not meeting any. I went as a ninja.

Texas Was Part of Mexico and There is Still Lots of Mexican Influence

If you know your American History, you’ll know that Texas used to be part of Mexico. This is something I’ve felt here a lot more than I ever thought I would. I mentioned previously about Spanish being widely spoken. It’s prominent even in the north, including Dallas, where signs and bus notifications are in both languages. Along with the Spanish language comes the wonderful Mexican food. We don’t really have Mexican food in the UK, not proper Mexican food. Getting on board with the local culture means Mitch and I have devoured our fair share of tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, fajitas, and much more.

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There was a wonderful exhibition at the El Paso Museum of Art by Hermosos Huesos. Much of the artwork was influenced by the Mexican Day of the Dead.

Texas is a Republican and Democratic State

I heard that Texas was mainly a Republican-voting State. However, from the people I’ve met and the signs I’ve seen in people’s gardens, you wouldn’t think so. Of course, this swings back to the size of the state. You wouldn’t say the whole of the UK is Labour or Conservative, would you? Of course not, that would be absurd. You really can’t do the same to Texas. Due to the lack of car, we’ve only visited cities, which are where you get a lot of Democratic voters. If we had a car and drove out to some countryside, no doubt we’d run into more Republicans.

trumpclinton
Who will win? Not long until we find out.

The Southern Accent is Not Very Prevalent

I had this idea of a Texas accent in my head, which is very southern. I’m not sure why I had this idea because my favourite singer (Bryce from The Rocket Summer) is from Texas and he doesn’t have a particularly strong accent. To date, the most southern accent I think I’ve heard was actually Pike’s Place market in Seattle. We ordered food from a middle-aged Southern woman who called out our order with the words “Say Cheese” for extra cheese. Now that was Southern.

Head down to slow roasted wood smoked Bar-B-Que in Pike’s Place market and hopefully she’ll serve you!

It was the smell that first attracted us. It did not disappoint!
It was the smell that first attracted us. It did not disappoint!

I’ve Eaten Lots of BBQ

Texas is famous for barbeque, and my goodness I’ve eaten a lot of it. I’ve already mentioned the vast amount of food I’m eating here in the USA, and how I am most definitely putting on weight. However, it’s really difficult not to put on weight when there is so much delicious barbeque. This is, of course, in addition to all the Mexican food as well. Pulled pork, fried chicken, and roast turkey have all been happily devoured.

houstonfood
I don’t really take many photos of my food. So instead of Barbeque, here was a real southern treat in Houston: fried chicken with my breakfast waffle at The Breakfast Klub.

The Landscape is Very Beautiful

Texas isn’t all rural and desert. Close to the cities, and even within the cities, there are some gorgeous green spaces. In San Antonio, our Air BnB host took us the beautiful Chinese garden. Interestingly, it was originally named the Japenese Garden but, after Pearl Harbour, they decided to change the name.  There are some nice pockets of green area and parks in the cities which are great for chilling out in.

sanantoniachinesegarden
The Chinese Garden in San Antonio

Another highlight was the Barton Spring Pool in Austin. A natural pool of water which stays at approximately 68-70 degrees Farenheight throughout the year, making it ideal swimming temperature… Apart from when you first get in and it’s so cold! Once you start swimming around it’s not so bad. The whole area is very chilled out, though, and was a lovely spot for an afternoon of swimming and relaxation.

There is Lots of History

Despite the USA being a relatively new country, there is still a lot of American history. We learnt a lot about Texas history throughout the whole state, but particularly in San Antonio, where we visited The Alamo. The Alamo was where the Texan’s fought off the Mexicans for independence. The battle at the Alamo was lost by the Texans, but they later won against the Mexicans, with the famous line “Remember the Alamo” as they went forth into battle.

alamo
Looking around the remains of The Alamo

 

Overall, it must be said that I’ve loved our time in Texas. From our arrival in El Paso to departure in Dallas. We’ve experienced some wonderful hospitality, mouth-watering food, and learnt a lot about the history of this very large state. It’s true… Everything is bigger in Texas!

graffitiparkaustin
Lovin’ you too, Austin.

Comments

  1. What do you mean there aren’t a lot of cowboys in Texas!? We’re thinking about travelling through Texas (up from Mexico) before flying home, and your photos make it look way different to what I expected. Maybe I had similar misconceptions about it to you…

    1. bristolianbackpacker says:

      I’d definitely recommend visiting Texas before going home – despite the lack of cowboys! It’s such a big state so there’s lots to see.

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