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  • Writer's pictureBarrett

Part Two: Austin

Updated: Sep 28, 2021

A firehouse-turned-hostel and a room all to myself.

It was a straight shot to Bat City. I arrived in about three hours after both the Houston outbound traffic and the Austin inbound traffic.

Considering the pandemic, Austin was understandably quiet despite my room being a block from Sixth Street in one direction and Congress in the other.

Across from the [haunted] Driskill Hotel's Brazos Street entrance is an unassuming building with an inset door. If you look closely, you'll see the name: Firehouse Hostel.

The building used to be, well, a firehouse. Built in 1885, it's the oldest remaining firehouse building in Austin, though of course it's no longer active as such. Presently it's a hostel, obviously, with a bar and lounge on the first floor. One day, post-COVID-times, I would love to go back and experience the bar and lounge when they're in operation. Currently the first floor is dark, as if the building were entirely vacant.

I'd booked a private room on the third floor, overlooking a grungy alleyway with views of the iconic Frost Bank building and the moon.

After leaving work back in Houston - it was Friday and I had to work, after all - I arrived in Austin at nearly 8PM. The sun was trying to fade into the hills of central Texas, but was taking her time. I let myself into the building with the code provided by the hostel and located the lock box that had my key card.

The staircase to the third floor was a beautiful laminate? Stone? Something. Two-toned in stripes and echoing a history of art deco influence. Throughout the building there is typical Austinite artwork (you know the kind: Willie Nelson, cattle, a curse word in the text here, a "Keep Austin Weird" there). Charming, if not a little gentrified. Overall, still quite nice though.

My room had four bunks, but the space was all for me. There was one window, exposed pipes, and a fan with just one working lightbulb.

I loved it.

Making excellent use of my window (and self-timer).

As the sun finally made room for the moon, I ordered Uber Eats. From a mile or so away, I thought the Halal Bros sounded good. Not to be confused with the Halal Guys, my NYC and Houston hot spot.

I won't compare the Guys and the Bros. They were different.

I settled into my bed by arbitrarily choosing one of the four and accidentally fell asleep watching some YouTuber I've never heard of explain the end of Shane Dawson's career.

Never mind, I was ready for the next day.

Austin, I love you, but I've been in you so many, many times. I apologize that this time I used you purely as a rest stop for the night, and that I'm leaving you with no triumphant stories of exploration.

Maybe next time.

But for now, we await Part Three: Marfa.




Though this blog is written with a carefree, fun, and exploratory nature, please know that I took every precaution behind the scenes.

  • I tested negative for COVID-19 prior to taking this trip.

  • I avoided other people at all times.

  • If person-to-person contact was unavoidable (such as my accommodations in Part Six of this series), I was wearing a mask. That being said, person-to-person contact was a very rare occurrence.

  • I only booked accommodations where I could have the whole place to myself with no spaces shared with other people (except for Part Six).

  • I only booked accommodations where I could check myself in. Again: No person-to-person contact (except for Part Six).

  • I took sanitizing wipes with me and gave every accommodation a good wipe-down.

  • Though I talk about food and coffee here, I also brought a lot of non-perishable food with me which I ate in the car while driving. Any and all food that I did purchase was done so over the phone and picked up to-go.

  • Photos posted to this blog and my Instagram featuring me without a mask were only possible outdoors, distanced from other people - and the mask only came off for the photo.

If you are choosing to travel during this time, please be aware of all of the precautionary work that you must put into your trip to ensure that you do not contract the virus and do not spread it to other people.

If you cannot guarantee that, do not travel.

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