Thursday, January 13, 2011

Impressions and Enjoyment on the Road

The seawall beckons the dawdler. Miles of beach dotted with an occasional peer welcomes those who long for possible salt tang and common sea shells or sand castles. Beachside also displays the continual effort toward recovery from horrific storm damage.

Ike (the hurricane) left his mark on Galveston back in 2008.

Despite these reminders of Nature’s destructive visits, Galveston, Texas is one of the Lone Star’s most entertaining cities. For those looking for history and fascination, this city’s example of hospitality shouldn’t be missed. Admire Tiki Island from the Galveston Causeway as you move onto Galveston Island and Broadway for a drive through town.

After getting into the main portion of town, an old cemetery appears on the right. Inside this are graves dating back to the 18th century. The monuments and crypts captivate the history buff as they teach about the area’s history in a new way. Stones tell of the heroes and the builders, the housewives and the children. Centuries of time are compressed into two city blocks.

Further along Broadway a monument reaches for the sky in the center of the median. The statue and base were erected to honor the Texas heroes, both men and women, who lived and died for the sake of Texas. It is a hero’s symbol called Victory.

The historic district flaunts rows of colorful Victorian homes. Impressive mansions punctuate the streets with designs from the world’s cultures. Clapboard siding cozies up to stone and brick without self-conscious allure.

More adventurous shoppers can explore distinctive shops and cafes that invite one to linger down on The Strand. The trolley rumbles through on its track, which helps keep the area from being too crowded with cars. This convenience also helps the traveler by allowing her to park further away from that central street and ride there in style.

At anchor there most days is The Elyssa, a genuine tall ship. The Elyssa stands ready for tours of her decks or a jaunt out onto the bay. She has her crew polish her decks and keep her rigging taut so that wedding parties and special occasions can come to life under her masts. She’s a fine looking ship.

Slightly northeast of The Elyssa a more modern ship has opened her holds to the dockside crane, which will use its arm and net for emptying the goods carried down inside those dark holds. Ships from the far reaches of the Earth snug up to Galveston’s wharves to distribute wares to American markets. Further down on different docks, a multi-story cruise ship may wait for new passengers or returning current ones from a day of shopping and exploration.

Residents strive to repair homes and businesses. Yet, many buildings along the sea wall or further inland boast only broken backs and boarded-up windows.

Many signs of recovery are overshadowed by three great glass pyramids that reflect the sunlight onto bay waters. These structures of Moody Gardens also endure their own repairs to ready them for a new life as one of the premier attractions of the city.

Within them the rain forest recovers from storm damage with new specimens and renovated systems. The IMAX theatre in the second pyramid gets its own system’s check and thumbs up. The Aquarium that occupies the third pyramid requires rigorous attention and is ready for the public on schedule with its sister exhibits.

All in all, anyone who saunters along the Galveston promenade will have a fabulous experience and always yearn to return before too many years have passed.

I know that we’re now three states away, but not that many days have elapsed. Since then, we’ve moved through Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The cold temps are driving us now more than anything else. We’re not prepared for tenting in winter temps of 23 degrees.

Florida beckons us with threats of warmer weather and equally fascinating exploration. We’ve decided to take her up on the offer earlier than planned. So that’s where we’re headed later today. Southern Florida, here we come.

For those enduring their own trials and adventures in travel (in the ice, snow, and cold), hang in there, keep the hoods up and the gloves on. There will come spring. It’s been promised. At least, that’s the rumor.

Until later, enjoy your days.


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