Sunday, July 19, 2015

Galveston, Oh Galveston!

     I had the  pleasure of spending a few days in Galveston this past week with my friend Jaquita.  We had such a wonderful time.  Many of you know that I lived in Houston right after college for a little over three years and had been to Galveston many times.  But, mainly to go to the beach and hit the Strand a time or two.  I don't think I was aware of the depth and history to this island town.
     Besides, I'll always be a Texas girl.

     While the beach is a huge part of Galveston, there is so much more to see.  And so much history.

     Galveston has been everything from the first capitol of the Republic of Texas, the largest city in Texas at one time, and the home of Fort Crockett which was especially manned during the fight for Texas' independence from Mexico.   It was also inhabited by pirates hundreds of years ago. During the mid 19th Century, Galveston was in its prime as a very important city in the history of the state.  The Port of Galveston was established in 1826 and became one of the nation's leading ports for trade.

     Then it was hit by a massive hurricane in 1900.  This was before hurricanes were named, so it has always been known as The Great Hurricane of 1900.  The city of Galveston was literally leveled and anywhere between 6,000 and 12,000 were killed.  It still remains  the largest natural disaster in the U.S.

     However, Galveston slowly rebounded.  And even though it has been hit by several other significant hurricanes, it always comes back.  Here are some of the wonderful things we saw.

       After we got checked into our hotel on Seawall Boulevard, we went to explore.  Or destination was the Pleasure Pier, which is in a picture below.  It was MUCH farther than we thought.  
     But isn't this gorgeous?  I mean, wow. 

I love the variation in the beach areas, from sand to these rocky areas.  And the sound of those waves coming in.  Nothing like it.

This statue is a memorial
to the storm victims of The
Great Storm of 1900.

  A bench with information about Hurricane Ike.

At this point, we probably should have taken advantage of a place to sit.  Like I said, it was a looonngg way down there.  And it kept getting farther away!  But still, we trudged on.

After much sweat and many steps, we reached it.  We just wanted to see it.  Can you believe we went that far just to take pictures?  I can't!  

Our next day was spend on the Strand and seeing a little bit of the history of Galveston.  The Strand is their shopping area with interesting shops and boutiques.  If we had wanted a tattoo, there were plenty of places to get them down there!  Lunch was at a fun, old-fashioned soda shoppe.  

 Chess, anyone?

Galveston is home to an enormous amount of churches.  We are talking substantial, huge churches.  There is even a street named Church Street.  This is just one of them, located by Bishop's Palace.

Bishop's Palace was a fun place to tour.  I would recommend spending some of your time there if you find yourself in Galveston.

It was built between 1887 and 1893 and is sturdy enough to have withstood The Storm of 1900, along with all other hurricanes since then.

 Our next day was spent on the beach.  

 Every time these birds landed on this sign, they sat in the exact same order and place.  And they had quite lively conversations! 

The only thing missing here is the sound of the waves.  Nothing like it.

There were so many things to see.  We went out in the late afternoon and saw these sights.

These trees are in yards around the area that was hit hard by Hurricane Ike.  The trees were damaged, so they were carved into wonderful statues.  What a neat way to make the best of a horrible situation.
Astro Dog!
My personal favorite.  :-)
The sailing ship Elissa
 The Elissa is the largest sailing ship in the United States that is still operational.  Unfortunately, they have to take the sails down in port.  I mean, if you've been to Galveston, you know about the wind.

These offshore drilling rigs were in port for repair.  Massive.  The tall towers are the part that go down to anchor the rig out at sea.
This is called "High Tide".  Makes me think of Peter Pan.  "I can fly, I can fly, I can fly!"

We had such a wonderful time.  And as we left, I could swear that "I still heard her sea winds blowing."

Good-bye for now, Galveston!

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