When I traveled to Houston back in late September, I spent most of my short visit attending sporting events and sampling local craft beers in a couple of nice bars. As my last day in Houston was dawning I realized that I hadn’t seen much of the city. Against a backdrop of ominous clouds, I took the train out to Hermann Park with exploration on my mind.
Off the train and just inside Hermann park, I came upon the Mary Gibbs and Jesse H Jones Reflection Pool, the most prominent feature in the 450 acre park:
Turning around offered this view of the Sam Houston Monument. General Houston is atop his horse, Saracen, and watches over the northern entrance to the park.
As I stood here, I started to realize that even at the relative late morning hour of 10am there weren’t a lot of people around. Undeterred (for now), I made my way to the other end of the 700 foot long pool for a closer look at the Pioneer Memorial obelisk. In the distance you can also see the Sam Houston Monument:
As I was about to continue my way around the park, I started not to feel safe given how few people were around and some of the activities I saw occurring under the cover of the trees and bushes. On a different day or different time, I would have loved to explore this park more deeply, but I headed back toward the train to help regain some personal comfort. On the way, I did get to venture past one piece of public art I was hoping to see – the very colourful and playful “Mamadillidiidae” (the larger form) and “Dillidiidae” (the four smaller forms) by Canadian (!) Sharon Engelstein:
With my park visit cut short, I called an audible and headed for Chase Tower back in downtown Houston. The tallest building in the city has an observation area for the public that I was hoping would have some reasonable views before the ever encroaching clouds rolled in. On the way into the building I stopped to admire the large form work of art “Personage and Birds” by Spanish artist Joan Miró:
A quick elevator ride up sixty floors gave me some spectacular views of Houston, and a better appreciation of just how sprawling the city is:
The architecture of the downtown office towers is fairly pedestrian (at least in my humble opinion) but there were a couple of interesting touches to some of the buildings. I liked the multi-storey opening on the top of the Center Point Energy Building (off-centre, middle of the picture below) and the Italian Renaissance design of the Esperson Buildings (bottom left of the picture):
Maybe not the exact plan I had for my last morning in Houston, but it turned out pretty well. With the clouds and rain closing in, I took refuge in a craft beer bar about two blocks away for lunch and a couple of pints and got lost in a good book until it was time to head to the airport. Austin was up next and would give me an entirely different Texas experience for the rest of my trip.