Sunday, December 2, 2012

DAY 101- Galveston & Houston, TX…

In the morning after having a waffle shaped like the great state of Texas, I took advantage of the convenient laundry the hotel had down the hall to my room.  I washed a load of laundry while I showered and changed for the day; that’s multi-tasking in my current world.  Shortly after the laundry was done, I was packed and on my way out of Bay City, TX.  I will admit that I drove through town found the post office and didn’t see much else to visit in the area.

I headed north on Texas Hwy 35.  After a while I pulled into a picnic area and ate a bit of a snack.  There’s quite a few picnic areas along the highways instead of rest stops in Texas; no restroom facilities.  You best stop at one of the gas stations if you need that.  This picnic area had two covered picnic tables, a couple of bright blue garbage cans and a historical marker about Texas’ dairy industry.  A lot of people were slowing down and looking at me.  Could they tell I was one of them Yanks?  Or did I badly mismatch my outfit this morning?

I continued on my drive eventually turning onto I-45 to head south towards Galveston, TX.  I started to be driving on a series of bridges and there was a lot less land that was visible until I got near Galveston.  There were tall blue towers on the each side of the interstate bridge with Galveston in bold white letters vertically.  I guess I was in Galveston.  The interstate ended and I was on a main road through town.
Photo- Entering into Galveston, Tx.

I saw the signs for Pleasure Pier and started to follow those out of curiosity.  It ended up being a large pier that had an amusement park on it.  That looked fun but it was looking rather dead.  It was the off season from what I could see.  I drove along the seawall area for a while until it ended and then I turned around to head back down along it.  I pulled over a couple of places and got out to look around and take pictures.  There were statues that were memorials to those that were lost in hurricanes that had come ashore in Galveston; the most devastating one occurred in 1900.  The Gulf was very choppy with white caps.
Photos- Along the seawall in Galveston.
Photo- Memorial statue along the seawall area in Galveston.

Next I drove over to the Bishop’s Palace which was one of the few houses that survived the great1900 hurricane that hit land in Galveston.  That hurricane wiped out 3500 homes in the area and over 6500 people died or disappeared.  The ornate Victorian house had been built of stone and railroad ties ended up serving as a sturdy shelter for several nearby residents during that storm.  It was built for lawyer and politician Walter Gresham between the years 1887 to 1893.  In 1923, it was purchased by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galveston to serve as the Bishop’s residence.  In 1963, the house became a local museum.  It was amazing going through the house with a self-guided audio tour.  Unfortunately, I could not take any photos of the inside of the beautiful house to share with you.
Photo- The outside of the Bishop's Palace that I stole off a historical site.
Darn camera was acting up again!

I next wandered over and around The Strand in Galveston which is their old downtown like historic area.  It’s a block or two away from where cruise ships are docked.  I drove through admiring the old buildings.  It was busy and there were no places that I could find to park.  But I needed to head north towards Houston, get checked into my hotel and meet a friend for dinner.  So, I found I-45 and headed north.
Photos- Inside the Aquarium restaurants.

Later, I had a wonderful late birthday treat of a dinner at the Aquarium restaurant in downtown Houston.  This restaurant had HUGE tanks that you could see in the dining room area.  It was rather great to eat, watch and relax.  We then walked around some of a park setting area not far from the restaurant and I got to see downtown Houston a little more.  Then, we drove through downtown area and I got to see the City’s Christmas lights.  Then, we went Up Town.  Yes, Houston has a downtown and an uptown. We had a quick drink in a nice bar in Uptown and then it was time to call it a night. 
Photo- Christmas in downtown Houston.

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