Monday, December 3, 2012

DAY 102,103 &104- Houston, TX…

In the interest of catching up and because I’ve been in the same Texas city for the last few days, I’m just going to give you the high lights of my time in Houston, Texas.  Houston has been touted as the 4th largest city in the US.  I’m not sure if that’s land mass or population wise or just a matter of Texans bragging.  They sure have a tendency to brag about how big things are; or how tall.  I wonder if some of that steams from the landscape being so flat in general.  Houston would be predominately a flat city if it were not for all of the vaulted freeways that they seem to like to build.  But I will say that Houston seems to be easier to get around than some of the larger cities I have been around.  The freeway system here seems to be laid out somewhat logically.  But enough of that, let’s get into the highlights of my time in Houston…

Day 102—
Photo- It looks like the Washington Monument but it's in Texas.
Photo- Me in front of the San Jacinto Monument.
Visiting the San Jacinto Monument... It was like a mini Washington Monument that was placed in the middle of oil refinery lands.  Off to one side it even had its own reflection pond like the Washington Monument.  It marks the spot that some historians refer to as the birth place of Texas.  This battle that took place after the Alamo was a turning point where Texans won and finally were made into a US state which in turn lead to the Spanish American War.  Anyway, that’s the shortened version that I understood from all the reading I did at the monument.
Photo- The Fred Hartman Bridge as seen from a nearby Marina.

Driving over the Fred Hartman Bridge…This Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge that spans the Houston Ship Channel and is 2.6 miles wide.  It’s a rather impressive bridge and there’s quite a view of it from a nearby marina area.
Photo- The Kemah Boardwalk.

Walking the Kemah Boardwalk… This is a cute amusement park with a boardwalk that overlooks the Galveston Bay.  It is southeast of Houston.  It was raining a bit when my friend and I arrived so we had coffee and freshly made beignets.  Yummy!  It was the first time I had ever had one and I was told I had to have one in New Orleans.  I also heard that this is the place of the original Laundry's Seafood Restaurant.

DAY 103—
Photo- The Houston Museum of Fine Arts Sculptural Garden.
Visiting the Houston Museum of Fine Arts…Located in the heart of the Museum District of downtown Houston this museum’s main campus has two buildings that are connected by an underground tunnel.  The Beck building houses more traditional type of art and the Law building houses more modern and cultural displays.  The underground tunnel had changing lights and was really cool to walk through.  There was a dance display going on in part of the Law building in the Buddhist –Indian area when we went through.  It was a woman dancing and like telling a story.  It was wonderful to watch.  My favorite section was the Impressionism section on the second floor of the Beck building. 
Photo- The outside of the Menil Collection Museum.

See the Menil Collection Museum…  The actual collection was not as impressive as the outside of the building.  It was very modern with sculpture on the grounds and a louvered like covered entry and covered sidewalks around it’s outside.  There was one room that had famous painter’s paintings where it was a canvas that was all one color or a huge box of black in another color on an almost black covered canvas.  I never seem to get art like this.

Boggled at the CY Twombly Gallery… Across the street from the Menil Collection Museum, this gallery has a very plain exterior and is a bit of an oddity to visit.  You are told there’s no cell phones or photography and to please keep your voices down.  I could see where it might be a good place to meditate.  The interior has large canvas ceilings to diffuse the light on the artwork that displayed.  The artwork?  Well, it looked a little like 20 kids let loose on a canvas to me.  This kind of art I REALLY do not get. Thank goodness it was free to get in but there were plenty of art books by the artist at the front entry way if you wanted to spend some money.
Photo- The unique St. Thomas College's Church.

Seeing the unique St. Thomas College Campus Church…  This church situated in the middle of campus just a couple of blocks from the Menil Collection Museum was something to see.  It looks like a HUGE gold dome that has been cut in half by a black wall that has the three bells and three windows for the Trinity on each side.  The entrance to the church area looks like appears as a white crack in the side of the building that has been cut and pulled back.  The inside is very austere and modern too.  It was just an amazing place to visit.
Photo- A sculpture of Sam Houston in Houston Texas...Hmmm?

Driving through Hermann Park… In middle of downtown Houston as I drove back to my hotel I drove through a large city park that is called Hermann Park.  There are quite a few fountains and a large sculpture of notorious Sam Houston; as should be expected in a city named after him.  It was a lovely park area for people to hang out and relax in.

DAY 104—
Visiting the School of Architecture in the University of Houston… My friend being an architect and having graduated from this school wanted to quickly show me the unique building of the School of Architecture at the University of Houston.  It was a very unique building with classic roman columns on the top and a more modern flavor on the bottom. 
Photo- The Beer Can House in Houston Texas.

Seeing the Beer Can House… Yep, I had to just drive by and see this unique bit of Houston while I was in the area.  It was definitely its own unique form of “architecture”; I’m using in the loosest from of that word.  Beer cans were used in almost every aspect of the outside of the house from the mail box to the fence to the exterior of the house.  An especially unique touch was the inlaid marbles in the driveway.  It’s a $5 entrance fee to go into the interior of the house but I just stuck with looking at the exterior of the house and wondering how many beer parties it must have taken to get all of those beer cans for the outside.
Photo- The amazing Bayou Bend Gardens.

Walking through the Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens…The house and gardens was the former home of a Houston civic leader and philanthropist Ima Hogg (yeah, what a name!).  We walked through the garden area for a mere $3 fee and they are definitely something to see.  The house was built in 1927 in the height of the roaring 20’s and it looks very much like a southern plantation.  There’s an extra fee and reservation to see the interior of the house but I was happy just enjoying the lovely garden area.  They even had a HUGE sculpted butterfly garden area that was fun to enjoy.  These gardens are open year round to enjoy and they even have events in the evenings that can be attended that look festive.

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