Starling Travel

March 14, 2009

Austin, TX: Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag

Filed under: Hotel SWAG,Lodging,Places To Visit,Texas — Laura Moncur @ 5:08 pm

This is the second time we’ve stayed at the Radisson Town Lake. We love it because it overlooks the river and Congress Bridge. Congress Bridge is where the largest urban bat colony in North America live. In the summer, huge clouds of bats leave the bridge every evening at dusk.

This year, however, the bridge is quiet and abandoned.

Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag by LauraMoncur from Flickr

It’s too cold this year to support the bats, so I suspect they are vacationing a little longer in Mexico. We came to Austin for the SXSW Interactive Festival, so the bats were a secondary attraction.

The hotel swag, however, was quite enjoyable.

Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag by LauraMoncur from Flickr

The toilet paper origami left a little to be desired.

Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag by LauraMoncur from Flickr

The towel origami, however, was beautiful.

Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag by LauraMoncur from Flickr

I don’t care for Sleep Number beds. They are beds that are filled with air depending on what firmness you want. It took a lot of tweaking to get my side of the bed to feel like a “normal” bed. I guess my sleep number is 45, but I didn’t enjoy finding that out. The Radisson brags about their Sleep Number beds, but I don’t find them pleasant or appealing. It’s more like sleeping on a camping mattress.

Radisson Town Lake Hotel Swag by LauraMoncur from Flickr

You can see all the photos for the Radisson Town Lake here:

On the whole, our stay at the Radisson has been enjoyable. They charge ten bucks a day per computer to be online in your hotel room, which I find appalling. I guess I’m used to cheaper hotels that try to attract me with free wireless. I like that I can just walk to the convention center from this hotel. I LOVE the view of the bridge, even though this year it’s bat-free. I even love the TGI Friday’s in the hotel lobby. Sometimes I’m so tired that I just need a quiet meal that is familiar. Someday, Internet connectivity will be free at all hotels just like water and televisions. Until then, it’s hit and miss.

September 14, 2007

Austin, Texas – New York Times

Filed under: Places To Visit,Texas — Laura Moncur @ 5:17 am

Mike and I go to Austin, Texas every year for the SXSW Interative Festival. It’s nice to see that the New York Times have noticed how entertaining the city is:

Since Austin is so close to San Antonio, a visit to those two cities is a great trip. Here are all the entries in which we’ve talked about Austin, Texas:

You can see my links to San Antonio here:

March 7, 2007

Austin, Texas Reader Meetup: CANCELLED

Filed under: Site News — Laura Moncur @ 3:50 pm

Reader Meetup Fortune

After a heated discussion on whether we should cancel the Reader Meetup, we let the fortune cookie decide our fate. It said, “A man who dares to waste an hour of time hasn’t discovered the value of life.”

It’s not like we don’t want to spend an hour with our readers; we really do. Unfortunately, the few people who contacted us in Austin have either not responded to our email announcing the event or cancelled. No one has RSVP’d on the site, so the underwhelming response says: CANCEL.

If you live in Austin and were considering going to the Reader Meetup, contact me. Mike and I are are going to this event, which is open to the public, so you’re free to show up here as well.

Your Video Blog Can Save the World

Friday, March 9th, 2005 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Carver Museum Cultural Center (1161 Angelna Street). Google Map FREE admission, no badge or pre-event signup needed to attend this session.

March 2, 2007

Reader Meetup in Austin, Texas: March 9th

Filed under: Site News — Laura Moncur @ 3:56 pm

Austin Barnes and NobleMichael and I are going to be in Austin, Texas for SXSW. While we’re there, we wanted to allow our readers to have a chance to meet us, so we set up a reader meetup at the Sunset Valley Barnes and Noble:

Location: Barnes & Noble – Sunset Valley
5601 Brodie Lane Suite 300, Austin, TX 78745 Google Map
Phone: 512-892-3493

Date and Time: March 9, 2006 6pm-7pm

Please RSVP using so that we don’t feel like we’re going to be waiting at the bookstore all alone:

We are going to hang around for an hour, gathering readers and then we are going to let you pick a restaurant where we can eat and hang out for longer if you want. We are really interested in what we can do to make Starling Travel a better place to be. What are you interested in? What bores you? How can we help you? Come with ideas and helpful hints because we’re all ears!

January 21, 2007

Austin, Texas Meetup

Filed under: Site News — Laura Moncur @ 4:10 pm

We are going to be in Austin, Texas from March 8-13th this year and we want to meet up with the readers of Starling Travel. We want to hear your ideas about the site, what you like, what you hate and how we can be better.

Here’s the problem: We don’t really know the town. We’re hoping that you folks can tell us the best place and day to meet.

Please email us if you would like to come to the meetup here:

We are excited to meet our readers face to face and hear just what you want from us!

March 28, 2006

Austin, Texas: The Congress Bridge Bats Video

Filed under: Places To Visit,Texas,Video — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

While Mike and I were in Austin, we were able to get this video of the bats coming out of the Congress Avenue Bridge. March is early in the season for the bats, so the sky wasn’t black with them, but there were still a lot of them to be seen. We saw three waves of bats leave the bridge. This was the second one. The video is 1:11 minutes long.

Congress Bridge Bats

There was a crowd of people under the bridge waiting for the bats to come out. A lady was jogging along the trail and asked us what was going on. We told her about the bats and she just shrugged and kept on jogging. I wonder if she thought there was a mugging or something. We were all there waiting with our cameras. I’m shocked I was able to get anything at all.

What didn’t show up on the video was the sound the bats made and the smell of the area under the bridge. It took me a while to recognize the smell, but I realized that it smelled like a hamster cage. The sound was just like the movies. I thought the movies made up that sound and bats only made ultrasonic noises, but they don’t. There is a high pitched sqeak, kind of like a mouse, that we could hear everywhere under the bridge.

It was amazing.

March 21, 2006

Austin, Texas: Take a Cruise on the Lonestar

Filed under: Places To Visit,Texas,Tourist Attractions — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The Lonestar Riverboat in Austin, Texas

The Colorado River snakes its way through Austin, creating Town Lake and many other waterways. Along that river floats the Lonestar Riverboat.

If you have ever had fantasies about taking a riverboat ride, you can have them fulfilled in Austin. Take a sunset cruise and watch the sky turn red over the water while resting on the deck. The evening cruise is a great way to see the bats of Austin as they come out of the Congress Bridge.

The Lonestar from Google MapsInterestingly, Google Maps captured the Lonestar Riverboat when it was at dock. If you zoom in by the water on 1st Street, you can see the dock and the riverboat on the water.

Where: Lonestar Riverboat 1st Street & Riverside Drive, Austin, Texas Google Map Phone: (512) 327-1388

March 20, 2006

Austin, Texas: The Congress Bridge Bats

Filed under: Places To Visit,Texas — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The Bats over Town Lake in Austin

Every spring, the bats migrate to Austin from Mexico. They have found the cracks and creavices of the Congress Bridge a hospitable place to nest during the day. Every evening, they swarm out of the bridge and into the city to eat between 10,000 and 30,000 pounds of insects. The bats have become a beloved fixture of the city nightscape.

Although they go back to Mexico during the winter, the bats have become a permanent fixture in Austin, Texas. The tourists and locals alike await for their return every year and enjoy their silent flight across the sky at twilight.

Where: The Bats at Congress Bridge: Congress Ave & Cesar Chavez St W, Austin, TX 78701 Google Maps Bat Hotline: 512-416-5700 (ext. 3636) for the latest flight times

March 17, 2006

Austin, Texas: Harry Ransom Center

Filed under: Museums,Places To Visit,Texas — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Austin seems to be burgeoning with museums. When I compare it to my hometown, I feel a little ashamed of the plethora of pioneer museums when Austin has so much art and WORLD history at their disposal.

The Harry Ransom Center has a wide variety of exhibits to enjoy while you are there and if you are stuck at home or work right now, you can take a virtual vacation with their online exhibits.

Take a break from your day and enjoy the art and history from the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas.

Where: 21st and Guadalupe, Austin, Texas 78713 Google Map Telephone: 512-471-8944

March 16, 2006

Austin, Texas: Lonely Planet Reviews

Filed under: Places To Visit,Texas — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Lonely Planet is the guide book that you should carry around if you are backpacking across Europe. That’s the feeling that I get when I read their books. I feel like if I was a hippie and I just picked up and decided to hitch-hike across the states, I should have a Lonely Planet guidebook in my backpack.

Their review of Austin, Texas is a must-read if you have never been to the city.

I love travelling to a new city. It gives me the chance to obsess about new history, museums and restaurants. Lonely Planet helps me along the way.

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