Deshengmen Gate 德勝門箭樓

view from across 2 streets

德勝門是古代北京九座城門之一。建于明正統四年(1439年)。元大都西北城門 建德門 原是在這裡附近。古時候,這些城門和城牆保護城内的人民。但隨著城市進化,大部分城牆被拆了來建馬路。現在東便門有一段古城墻,城市也還有幾座古城門給我們欣賞。

The ancient city of Beijing used to be protected by a city wall with a series of gates. Today, much of the wall has been demolished to make way for roads but a section of the Ming city wall (circa 1400’s) remains at Dongbianmen and several of the city gates remains. Deshengmen is one of those city gates. When the rebels to the Yuan Dynasty sacked the Yuan capital Dadu, they renamed the existing JiandemenYuan city gate Deshengmen. Later, when the Ming dynasty was more established, they rebuilt a larger city gate a little bit south of that spot, keeping the name of Deshengmen.

from across the bridge. This is the view from inside the city wall

北京城門各有用途。德勝門是走兵車之門。明朝清朝出兵是從這裡出城的。康熙和乾隆御駕親征都是從這裡出兵。“德勝” 的諧音是“得勝”, 好意頭。軍隊從安定門班師回朝, 取太平安定好意頭。

Deshengmen is the gate at the northwest corner of the former city wall. In imperial Beijing, each of the gates had a function and this gate was the gate where the army would ride off to battle from. The gate’s auspicious name “德勝” or “virtuous victory” sounds similar to the words “得勝” or “to obtain victory”. The army would return through Andingmen (安定門) or the Gate of Stability to symbolize that peace and order had been restored to the country.

the second ring road at Deshengmen

古時候德勝門阻擋從城市北方的入侵。城樓寬32米,深17米,箭樓和城牆高36 米。是北京城第二大的城樓。正陽門是最大的。古代人真是很有智慧。用努力和以前的技術可以建成這麽龐大,這麽宏偉的建築。

Being in the northwest corner of the city, it was also fortification to keep the northern “barbarians” out of the city. And it sure looks the part. The wall itself is several stories high, and the ramp up to the wall is wide enough for cars to drive on. On top of that there is a 4-story arrow tower. It is an awesome sight to behold. It amazes me how people in the past could build such massive and magnificent structures relying on simple tools and manual labor.

view from outside the city wall

今天,德勝門是城郊交通重要地方。有公車到郊區和919 路公車八達嶺長城。有¥8慢巴士和¥12 快巴到長城。德勝門附近有積水潭地鐵站。德勝門箭樓有古錢幣博物館。

Today Deshengmen is a major transportation hub connecting the city and suburbs of Beijing. You can take bus 919 to the Great Wall Badaling section from here. The 8 yuan slow bus that stops closer to the Great Wall or 12 yuan faster bus that stops farther away from the wall. The arrow tower, one of 2 remaining in Beijing, houses the Ancient Coins Museum.

If you go/旅遊資料:
地址: 北京西城區 北二環中路 德勝門箭樓
Ancient Coin Museum Hours/
古錢幣博物館 開放時間: 9am-4pm, ¥10
乘 bus 5, 27, 44, 55, 315, 345, 380, 815, 919路, 德勝門站下车,地鐵 積水潭站 A 出口 Metro: Jishuitan stop, exit A


Houston Zoo 休士頓動物園

The Houston zoo is like many other zoos in big cities. There are the usual popular animals- elephants, giraffes, lions, tigers, and monkeys, a petting zoo for the kids, and exhibits on local wildlife. The big pluses at this zoo are there is a huge parking lot where you can park for free, and the zoo has free admission on certain holidays in the fall and winter. (see website for details) Kids love the zoo and it is popular with families. The zoo is located in Hermann Park, which has the Houston Garden Center, a kiddie playground, and the Miller Outdoor Theater which features free performances. It is also a short walk to many museums in the Museum District, which can be bundled in to make a good day trip.

My favorites were the albino alligator, tropical frogs, birds exhibit, and sea otter. The tropical frogs were bright and colorful, really cool. I liked the different types of birds they had on exhibit- again for the different colors and shapes and sizes. The sea otter was adorable. When people came near the tank it would swim up to them and perform some tricks. So cute!

每個城市都有自己的動物園,休市都一樣。休市的動物園很大,有很多動物區。也有家禽區。在家禽區小孩可以給動物食物。 人們最喜歡看獅子,老虎,猴子, 大象,和長頸鹿。我覺得白鱷魚,熱帶青蛙,和動物園的鳥特別有趣。我也很喜歡海獺。 牠有靈性,很聰明。有人走到牠魚缸旁邊,牠就會游水過來表演技巧。

動物園有大大的免費停車場,不怕找不到車位。每年秋天和冬天有幾個節日是免費入場的。這是個好地方來帶兒童。 如果你喜歡動物, 你也會喜歡休市動物園。動物園位于赫曼公園内。 公園也有花園,遊樂場,和米勒露天劇場(Miller Outdoor Theater)。這三個地方也是免費的。米勒露天劇場全部表演都是免費。從動物園也可以走路到博物館區幾個博物館。來動物園玩可以搭配附近赫曼公園和博物館區的景點來做一天自由行。

If you go/旅遊資料:
Address/地址: 1513 N. MacGregor Dr. Houston TX 77030
Hours/開放時間: Mon-Sun 9am-6pm
Free Times/免費時間: select holidays in fall and winter/ 秋天冬天某些節日

Check out my Houston Museum Guide for reviews of more museums.


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Museums near The Menil Collection

Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum 拜佔庭教堂壁畫博物館

This museum is a small chapel built to display a fresco that was stolen from the dome and apse of a 13th century Cyprus chapel. A fresco is artwork that is painted onto wet plaster, and when the plaster dries, the artwork becomes a part of the wall. Thieves removed the frescoes on the dome and apse of a chapel near Lysi, Cyprus and cut it into pieces to be sold for profit. The Menil Foundation, which oversees The Menil Collection museum (see above) came across these frescoes, bought them, and reassembled them on the dome and apse of this specially built chapel, the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum, to display them. The frescoes still belong to the Church of Cyprus, and are on longterm loan to Houston.

梅尼勒基金會建了這間教堂/博物館來展出兩幅壁畫。壁畫是塗在濕石膏的畫。當石膏干了,畫就成爲墻的一部分。這些壁畫屬於 利西,塞浦路斯 (Lysi, Cyprus) 13 世紀的小教堂。 後來被小偷偷了。小偷把壁畫切成38 塊來賣。梅尼勒基金會買了這些壁畫塊,把它組合為原來的樣貌放在拜佔庭教堂壁畫博物館的圓頂和後殿展出給大家參觀。這些壁畫還是屬於塞浦路斯原來的教堂,借給休士頓展出。

The museum was a lot smaller than I’d imagined when reading the descriptions. The chapel has frosted glass walls on the inside. The lights are dimmed real low. The chapel is just the frosted glass walls and the frescoes on the dome and apse. This allows it to highlight and draw attention to the frescoes. This chapel is a short walk from The Menil Collection and Rothko Chapel, and is easily rolled into a trip to the Menil.

這間教堂很小。燈開得很暗。除了壁畫在 圓頂 和 後殿,全都是毛玻璃。這就讓我們更加注意圓頂和後殿的壁畫。 這間教堂在梅尼勒藝術館附近。從梅尼勒藝術館可以走路到這裡。

If you go/旅遊資料:
Address/地址: 4011 Yupon St., Houston TX 77006
Hours/開放時間: Wed-Sun 11am-6pm
Free Times/免費時間: Always free!! 不收門票

Rothko Chapel 羅斯科教堂

Rothko Chapel is a small chapel within walking distance to The Menil Collection and the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum. This chapel was also founded by John and Dominique de Menil who founded The Menil Collection and the Byzantine Fresco Chapel Museum. It is named after the paintings done by artist Mark Rothko on display inside the chapel. I did not get to go inside when I went because they were holding a concert inside, but I did walk around on the grounds. The grounds are peaceful and quiet, perfect for quiet contemplation. There is a broken obelisk sculpture with a reflecting pool on the grounds.

羅斯科教堂是梅尼勒藝術館和拜佔庭教堂壁畫博物館附近的一間小教堂。這間教堂也是梅尼勒夫婦成立的。裏面有畫家馬克 羅斯克 畫的畫。 我來的時候沒有進去,因爲裏面正在舉行演唱會。教堂園子的樹木和草一片綠色。很安靜。園子裏也有一個方尖碑調塑和反映池。

If you go/旅遊資料:
Address/地址: 1409 Sul Ross St., Houston TX 77006
Hours/開放時間: Mon-Sun 10am-6pm
Free Times/免費時間: Always free!! 不收門票

Houston Center for Photography 休士頓攝影中心

This is a small museum dedicated to photography. Most of the photography in this museum was contemporary photography, which is not my thing. I am more into landscape and travel photography, and also portraiture, basically stuff you’d find in a National Geographic magazine. If you are into abstract and contemporary photography, this museum is within walking distance to The Menil Collection and the two chapels I mentioned above. It’s still a very small museum and would take no more than ½ hour to view the exhibits.

這是一間小小的攝影博物館。這裡的相片都是現代抽象類型的。我看不動。我比較喜歡風景,旅遊,和人像照片,比如,國家地理 雜誌的照片。如果你喜歡抽象照片的話,這間博物館近梅尼勒藝術館和我上面描述那兩個小教堂。這間博物館都是很小,半個小時都可以看完。

If you go/旅遊資料:
Address/地址: 1441 W. Alabama St., Houston TX 77006
Hours/開放時間: Wed-Fri 11am-5pm, Sat-Sun 12noon-6pm
Free Times/免費時間: Always free!! 不收門票

Check out my Houston Museum Guide for reviews of more museums.


The Menil Collection

The Menil Collection is an art museum started by the Menils, who were French. The wife, Dominique de Menil was the daughter of Conrad Schlumberger, founder of Schlumberger oil services company, which has a headquarters in Sugarland/Missouri City. She and her husband John de Menil came to Houston after WWII and her father put her husband in charge of Schlumberger’s overseas operations. They were avid art collectors and philanthropists who promoted the arts in Houston. The museum was created to showcase and preserve their private art collection.


This is a decent sized museum with a varied collection of art from around the globe. Knowing that all of the works of art belong to just this one family make it all the more impressive. The museum has artwork and ancient arts from Greek, Roman, Medieval/Byzantine, African, Oceanic, and Northwest American cultures, with some Asian works. Most impressive was a long wooden table from 1500’s Europe. It was a rich dark color and you could see the age and wear of the table; the rougher, but high quality craftsmanship of the day, and all the details of wear and usage over time. What surprised me was this antique was just out in the open in the hallway exhibit space. You would think a 500-year-old antique would be more protected, like in a glass case or sectioned off. It was just neatly displayed with plaques explaining the art, but there was no glass case or ropes sectioning it off. Absolutely nothing. So you could get up real close to scrutinize the detail and see how it was put together. Awesome! Some other things of note were the Byzantine and Egyptian art. The artwork was done on wool or cloth and from thousands of years ago. Most of it has deteriorated but you can still see the painting. Wow.

這個藝術館不小。有希臘, 羅馬,歐洲中世紀, 非洲,亞洲,太平洋,和美國西北民族的藝術作品。藝術館很信任參觀者。有一張舊長桌展覽在走廊。這張桌子有500年歷史,但藝術館沒有用欄杆或玻璃隔開參觀者。你可以走到桌子旁邊仔細看看桌子的detail。 我覺得拜佔庭和埃及的畫也很有趣。這些畫有幾百或一千多年歷史。有些畫在一塊木板上,有些畫在布上。 每幅畫都有部分霉爛了,但是都可以看到畫家畫的畫。

This museum is a definite must see in Houston for art and history/culture buffs. There’s some really cool stuff here that is worth checking out. A quick tour might take 30-45mins, and if you really stop and admire the works of art it might take 2+ hours. The fact that it is free is a real plus and makes it easy on the budget.

來休士頓遊玩的話,梅尼勒藝術館值得一看。這裡的藝術品很有趣。快的話,可以30-45 分鐘看完,仔細欣賞的話,可能要兩個多小時。這個藝術館門票和停車都是免費,很划算。

If you go/旅遊資料:
Address/地址: 1515 Sul Ross St., Houston TX 77006
Free Parking/免費停車: 1515 West Alabama St.
Hours/開放時間: Wed-Sun 11am-7pm
Free Times/免費時間: Always free!! 不收門票

Check out my Houston Museum Guide for reviews of more museums.


Houston Weather Museum and Buffalo Soldiers National Museum

John C. Freeman Weather Museum

The Weather Museum is a small house in the museum district turned into a museum. All the exhibits are on the 1st floor and the 2nd floor is storage and offices. As the name suggests, the museum talks about weather with an emphasis on Houston’s weather. It talks about some of the extreme weather Houston has experienced such as a 20” snowfall in the 1800’s and obviously, hurricanes. When we visited it was about a year after Hurricane Ike hit Houston, so there were some exhibits about Hurricane Ike at the museum. A quick museum that took about 15mins to tour, and that was with the throngs of crowds on Museum Day. Not a wow museum for me, good if it is en route to another stop and on the weekly free day. Admission is on the steep side for what you get.


休士頓氣像博物館在博物館區的一間小屋子裏面。展覽全都在一樓,二樓是儲藏室和辦公室。這間博物館描述休士頓平時的天氣和休士頓歷史上的暴躁天氣 例如颱風,大雪,等等。19世紀休士頓有一場大雪,下了20寸雪。休士頓歷史上有很多次颱風。最近是2008年的Ike 颱風。所以博物館有好幾個關於這個颱風的展覽。這個博物館15分鐘就可以看完,沒有什麽特別,免費看就好,門票不划算。

If you go/旅遊資料:

Address/地址: 5104 Caroline St., Houston TX 77004

Hours/開放時間: Mon-Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 12-4pm

Free Times/免費時間: Thursday 12-4pm


Buffalo Soldiers National Museum

This is a great museum in the historic Third Ward of Houston that highlights the contributions of African Americans in the American military. There are 3 floors of exhibits in a converted house with parking in back. Numerous exhibits trace the history of wars that African-Americans have participated in starting with the Civil War. The exhibits are well designed and informative. There are artifacts from the various wars such as uniforms, weaponry, and gear. There are also lots of old photographs. Very interesting and informative museum. The exhibit on the artifacts and cooking utensils from the Civil War and Frontier Era was especially well put together.

The Cheyenne Warriors gave the nickname Buffalo Soldier to the soldiers of the 10th Calvary unit for their bravery, courage, and exceptional fighting abilities. The nickname stuck and became a nickname for all African American soldiers.


這個博物館是關於非裔士兵對美國軍隊的貢獻。有三層展覽廰和免費停車場在屋子後面。博物館從美國南北戰爭講起,讓參觀者認識非裔參軍的歷史和貢獻。有軍服,兵器,用具,和舊照片。南北戰和美國邊境 的展覽特別有趣,可以看到那時候的生活多麽簡樸和艱難。

擴展美國邊疆時代,夏延族印第安人給了非裔士兵 “Buffalo Soldier” 這個名字。是讚揚非裔士兵的勇敢非凡作戰能力。後來這個名字就代表全部非裔士兵。

If you go/旅遊資料:

Address/地址: 1834 Southmore St., Houston TX 77004

Hours/開放時間: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 10am-4pm

Free Times/免費時間: Monday 12-5pm


Check out my Houston Museum Guide for reviews of more museums.


Czech Center Houston

Brno Gallery

The Czech Center Museum Houston is a relatively new museum that opened in 1995 to celebrate and share the Czech culture. It is a beauty. I loved the interiors. The Center is richly decorated in the Baroque style, with luxurious rugs, giant chandeliers, ironwork, and art glass windows. It has a very beautiful old world European feel to it.  The Czech Center is a both a center and a museum so it has a number of fancy rooms for functions and banquets. They host film showings and cultural events. There are also exhibits featuring Czech fine arts and culture such as glassware and crystalware, paintings, furniture, and dolls. It is not a big museum, and will probably take 30mins-1hr to visit. The docent was great and very knowledgeable. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit here.

  • Kolaches, which are breads stuffed with filling like sausage, ham and egg, egg and cheese, etc originated from the Czech
  • Czechs in Texas live spread out in many of the smaller towns in central Texas such as Fayetteville, Praha, Hallettsville, and Dubina.

捷克中心/ 博物館

捷克中心開創於1995年,和休市社區分享捷克文化。 這個博物館有歐洲古色的風格。室内裝修漂亮華麗。這個中心的巴洛克風格裝修精巧,有漂亮的地毯,大水晶燈, 和藝術玻璃窗戶。這裡也有開宴會的大廳,和捷克電影,文化節目。博物館展覽捷克藝術- 玻璃和水晶製品, 油畫 水彩畫, 家具,和洋娃娃。這個博物館不大, 30分鐘至1 小時可以看完。講解員很詳細的解釋捷克文化。

  • Kolache 包子 是德州人喜愛的食物。這種包子來自捷克。像中國人的包子裏面有餡。他們喜歡用香腸,火腿,雞蛋,和奶酪餡。
  • 德州的捷克人住得不稠密,所以沒有捷克城。很多住在德州中部。

If you go/旅遊資料:
地址: 4920 San Jacinto @ Wichita, Houston TX 7700
Hours/開放時間: Mon-Sat 10am-4pm
門票: $6 docent tour, gift shop admission free. $6 講解員導遊, 禮品店免費

Check out my Houston Museum Guide for reviews of more museums.



Wenceslas Chapel



Children’s Museum of Houston

This was the first museum we visited on Free Day. I’d wanted to visit because the building looked cool and creative from the outside and I’d heard good things about it. Of course we should’ve guessed by the name that all the exhibits are geared towards…of course…duh…kids! So there was not much for us and turned out to be blah boring and a big disappointment. The screaming kids, huge strollers, and crowds everywhere on Free Day did not help either. It seemed like all the parents had the same idea to bring their kids to the Children’s Museum on Free Day. This was also the only museum with a line at the door at 10am and they were letting only a certain amount of people in at a time. Lesson: best to go to the Children’s Museum on a regular day with less crowds. Perhaps going during the weekly free admission time on Thursdays from 5-8pm wouldn’t be a bad idea, but I haven’t tried.

Anyhow, if you have elementary school age kids, this is a great place to bring them, as all the exhibits in this medium sized museum appeal to them. There are 3 floors of toys, games, and hands on exhibits. Kids will have tons of fun running around and learn something while having a great time. There are a couple outdoor exhibits on waterworks and the ecosystem as well. The highlight of the museum is Kidtropolis, with a pretend bank, city hall, grocery store, diner, pet shop, etc for kids to role-play. They could pretend to be chefs, serve meals, play cashier, vet, etc, including costumes. It is creative and I like the concept. They also handed out passes for Kidtropolis with a designated admission time so people would not flood the place all at once. All in all- a good museum if you have kids. Take a pass if your group is just adults.

博物館區免門票那一天我們第一就來兒童博物館。很多人說這是個很好的博物館,而且博物館的外貌很特別,很有趣。但是來到博物館參觀就失望了;我們對展出的東西都不感興趣。當然啦,兒童博物館是對小朋友有興趣的!這個博物館帶兒童來就很好玩,只是大人來參觀就沒什麽好看的。這個博物館有三層interactive 展覽和玩具。 外面也有兩個展覽。 我覺得最有趣的展覽是 Kidtropolis。 Kidtropolis 有小銀行,小餐館,商店,獸醫院,等等;小孩可以扮售貨員,廚師,獸醫,等等。很有趣,很創新。如果帶小孩來的話,不要每年免費門票那一天來玩,因爲很多家庭都有同樣的想法:帶孩子來玩,所以那天博物館很擠逼, 還要排隊進入。兒童博物館每週四5點到8點下午都是免門票的。我沒試過那時候去參觀,但我認爲人都不會比博物館區免門票那一天多。

If you go/旅遊資料:
Address/地址: 1500 Binz St., Houston TX 77004
Hours/開放時間: Tues-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 12-5pm
Free Times/免費時間: Thursday 5-8pm

Check out my Houston Museum Guide for reviews of more museums.


main lobby

A flower in the ecosystems exhibit

Robot made of phones and telecommunications hardware

closer view

back view

pretend grocery store

pretend diner

pretend food at diner