A few days of sightseeing in Houston Texas
This is part of the London to Belize and Guatemala trip December 2019. http://dickandsuegotravelling.com/2019/12/detroit-usa-to-belize-2019.html
To be honest the only reason we are in Houston is that I want a steak meal and Delta were doing a deal there when we used the rest of the flights. So here we are for 3 nights and looking forward to a bit of sightseeing in Houston .
Hotel in Houston Texas
Having flown from Belize via Atlanta on Delta we were glad to get off. As it was a domestic flight we collected the luggage and were on our way quickly by cab to the hotel. We are staying for 3 nights at Baymont, by Wyndham Inn and Suites, https://www.wyndhamhotels.com/baymont/houston-texas/baymont-inn-and-suites-houston-hobby-airport/overview which is near the Houston Hobby airport, and close to restaurants bars, etc. Taxi fare was about $18 US.
We got to the Baymont, and thought ‘Don’t be swayed by first impressions.’ This is a typical downtown US Motel. Close to the motorway / Freeway, and close to shops. Any sightseeing in Houston will need to take place a long way from this motel.
We had a double room on the upper floor, if you had the window open (Good mosquito sheets at the windows) then the noise of the freeway drowned the television. There was a fridge, microwave, huge bed, with an ice machine on the ground floor. However the room and the staff were fine.
No bars near the hotel!
It now being 9.30 pm on a Saturday night I thought we could walk to a bar for a drink. No bars nearby! However there was the biggest Walmart known to mankind just across the way that shut at midnight. A quick walk over there to buy beer and food. There is a 24 hour gas station across the road with a small grocery shop. A Starbucks and a Subway restaurant are nearby.
The following day we awaken to a foggy cold day.
I had conducted some research before I got to Houston and found out that the authorities encourage everyone to drive their own cars everywhere. There are buses, but no actual airport shuttle buses, or underground system. Having said that, the centre of Houston is only a couple of miles in either direction so walking is not a problem, it is the rambling sprawl to get to town from your hotel which is a problem. The other difficulty is that there is no tour bus this time of year. I get the impression that only business people go to Houston, hence no tour bus, etc.
Brunch at Saltgrass, Houston
We can get to downtown by two buses which will take about 90 minutes or get an Uber cab. We do the latter. The Uber taxi was about $15 US each way. Get dropped off about 1130 near The George R Brown convention centre where, we find out later, a TwitterForGood convention meeting is in its last day. Interesting. We pop into a steak restaurant, Saltgrass, https://www.saltgrass.com/ for brunch.
This is located just under the convention centre on Avenida De Las Americas, We end up having a big bunch. Between us we had steak and fish. Very nice but far too much food for that time of time. The check was around $70 US. Expensive brunch.
Bike Barn Cycling
We then take a slow stroll to the Bayou Buffalo Park to see about a bicycle tour for tomorrow. We had read that Bike Barn at Bayou conduct a bicycle tour of Houston for $50 US each. https://www.bikebarn.com/about/buffalo-bayou-rentals-pg1892.htm The office is closed, however, we get to go on a 30 minute tour of a Cistern water reservoir. This is based next door to bike barn and is well worth the 30 minute free tour.
Cistern Water Reservoir
https://buffalobayou.org/visit/destination/the-cistern/ This was an internal water collection point where water was stored for domestic use. Can’t imagine how much water it actually held but it was huge. Lots of pillars made up the building. It was a beautiful place in a weird way, very atmospheric, with good acoustics, amazing echo chamber and, when the torchlight was shone in a particular way, showed superb reflections of the pillars in the 18” deep water which is constantly kept in this now decommissioned reservoir. If you dont do any other sightseeing in Houston make sure you go her, and it’s free on a Thursday!
Cocktails in Houston
After this we strolled to the aquarium but didn’t go in. Instead we returned to Saltgrass for one or two of their cocktails. We had Frize Rita, drinks – frozen margarita and sparkling rosé, and some beers. Not cheap again, $55 US.
Indian meal at Mogul Indian Restaurant Houston
That evening we head for the Mogul Indian restaurant,1055 Bay Area Blvd,
77058 Houston, Texas https://www.facebook.com/MogulIndianRestaurant
An Uber ride away, for a small supper. Huge place. We were the only two in there. The food was very good. Lovely people and a good dark beer. You have the choice of A La Carte and buffet.
Sightseeing Huston by Bicycle
Friday is our penultimate day in the US before heading back to London. A serious bit sightseeing in Houston is required. We get an Uber into town and then walk to the Bayou Park area for a pre arranged bike tour at 1430 with Bike Barn at Bayou. I emailed the bike company the day before. Bayourentals@bikebar.com The bike tour with Jeffrey Bussey at Bikebarn https://www.bikebarn.com/about/buffalo-bayou-rentals-pg1892.htm was very good.
The bikes had brakes and gears! Amazing. We went along the Bayou, into downtown, in and around. It was really good. About 8 miles were covered, apparently. Geoffrey told us some interesting facts and old wives tales. Excellent couple of hours. In fact this was better than any tour bus!
Steak Dinner at Perry and Son
That evening Uber took us to Perry and Sons market and grill. I had a delicious filet mignon steak. and few beers. There appears to be several Perry and Sons. Great food in a relaxed atmosphere.
Flight Home to London
Although we flew into Hobby Airport, south of Houston, we left the much larger George Bush Airport https://www.airport-houston.com/ in the north of the city. There is no shuttle bus, you have to get two normal buses to connect between the airports. We went by Uber and it cost around 35 US. There are only limited hotels and bars close to George Bush Airport so either stay in town or try to fly from Hobby airport.
Flying into Atlanta with Delta we had a short connection time for our Virgin Atlantic VS104 flight to Heathrow Airport. The Virgin flight was almost empty, the food was atrocious. Not sure what this was. The food was served as plain as shown. There was no appetiser, no rolls. Not good.