Va­ri­ety on show is mighty lively

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - SADDLE UP -

A darn sight big­ger than a whole heap of coun­tries, Texas is largely di­verse: big-city lights to small-town sim­plic­ity; sandy beaches to high-coun­try hikes

NOW THAT’S COUN­TRY

Coun­try is as much about a way of life as a place. Slow­ing down, tak­ing the ru­ral, farm-tomar­ket back roads; step­pin’ out in pol­ished boots and starched blue jeans for a Satur­day night dance un­der the stars; doin’ noth­ing more on a Sun­day af­ter­noon than float­ing down a lazy river . . . Life in the coun­try lopes along. Even if most Tex­ans now live in ur­ban ar­eas, they’re in­flu­enced by the state’s agri­cul­tural, rop­ing-an­drid­ing her­itage – and they es­cape to the coun­try as of­ten as they can.

FUN FOODS

There’s just some­thing about eat­ing a big pile of brisket off a butcher-pa­per “plate”. Don’t dare ask for a fork; real ’Q is for fin­gers only. Great bar­be­cue is not the state’s only fun food. At fes­ti­vals, rodeos and fairs much of your meal can be served on a stick, from corny dogs to fried PB & J sand­wiches. In Austin and other cities the food-truck phe­nom­e­non con­tin­ues. And we haven’t even dug into the ubiq­ui­tous Mex­i­can food, Dal­las’s fine up-mar­ket din­ing or the foodie-fave restau­rants around Houston.

CITIES & TOWNS

Bright lights, big cities? Check, Texas has them. Dal­las and Houston both boast rich arts and cul­ture dis­tricts to ex­plore by day, as well as ac­tive nightlife. If you re­ally want to party, Austin is the place – with end­less live-mu­sic con­certs and an out­doorsy, al­ter­na­tive vibe. San An­to­nio may seem a bit more se­date, but once evening falls on the River­walk there’s a fi­esta ev­ery night. City life is fun, but don’t stop there. Texas also has count­less small towns with brick build­ings – lined court­house squares, land­mark cafes and eclec­tic shops – to ex­plore.

AS BIG AS ALL OUT­DOORS

We know you’ve heard, but Texas is big ... re­ally BIG. More than 675,000sq km, in fact. That’s larger than Ger­many, Eng­land, Scot­land, Ire­land,

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