This is probably going to seem like an odd thing for me to be writing about for a myriad of reasons, but thanks to a visit from one of my older brothers I spent part of my weekend taking in the Formula 1 US Gran Prix. My brother Thomas arrived in town on Thursday and got to attend all three days of Formula 1 events at the Circuit of the Americas track, and thanks to some scheduling issues with my cousin I was granted a free ticket for the qualifying races on Saturday.
Now since I live in the U.S…. and I’m a girl, I’ve never been to a formula 1 race, and can almost guarantee I haven’t intentionally watched a race on television. Obviously this means I’m not a die-hard Formula 1 fan, but let me follow that by saying I have a lot of respect for the sport and for the absolutely insane men who strap themselves into land-based rocket ships for a living. Our morning began with a car ride, some traffic, a school bus turned shuttle and lots of walking, but we arrived with plenty of time to watch the end of a practice round for the Ferrari’s competing as part of the Gran Prix.
Next was the first of two Formula 1 qualifying rounds that really tested the limits of my camera and eyesight as the cars (remember those land-based rocket ships I told you about!?) zoomed past in search of one of the 16 spaces available. My camera wasn’t quite quick enough, so I don’t have any photos to show you from this section, as I hadn’t quite worked my timing out yet and don’t possess a professional camera with an impressive shutter speed. So once this round was over we took a walk to the Austin 360 stage to see the Sick Puppies perform a free concert.
Then it was the last qualifying race for the Formula 1 cars, and by some miracle I was able to capture a few cars on camera as they sped by. I got an impressive shot of both Red Bull racing cars as they came around the turns in front of where we were sitting along with the video screen showing the on-board camera from one of their cars.
After the Formula 1 cars were done, there was the final qualifying race for the Ferrari’s (not pictured) and a finale featuring antique Formula 1 cars from the 1960’s – 1980’s.
Later that evening I met up with some friends on 6th, which is bar/club central in Austin and was jammed packed on this particular night thanks to the normal weekend madness with a little international twist thrown in for flavor. It was a fun night which ended with me losing my voice and learning first hand how much it costs to get your car towed to one of the shady facilities in the area … trust me when I say it’s not worth the price.
Since I spent Sunday at work, the rest of this post will be taking place on Monday. I had the day off, so my brother and I did a little sight-seeing with our aunt and uncle. Up first was Mt. Bonnell which isn’t actually a mountain but rather a large hill given the name Mountain because it’s one of the highest places you can go in Austin. We took the short walk up the rocky ramp-like path that provides absolutely beautiful views of not only Austin, but also the hill country to the South, and the million dollar houses along the river just at the base of the Mountain … I mean hill.
Afterwards we headed out for some BBQ because it’s the Texan thing to do, and made our way to downtown Austin for a little tour of the state capital building.
In case you forgot which state you were in while taking a stroll through the capital building, there are plenty of stars emblazoned on chairs, ceiling tiles, door knobs, hinges, and lights to remind you. To top it off they always add the word Texas to anything any everything they can, including the floor and ceiling of the famous dome you see in photos of Austin. Despite the over-advertised feeling the building brings to mind, it was kind of cool to have a glimpse of the rooms laws are passed in and walk through the stone and wood-paneled hallways of a historic building. If that’s not enough to make you want to visit, then maybe the word FREE will help set a trip to the capital building a little higher on the list.