Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Girls' Weekend in St. Louis!

So, aside from the fact that I should have known better than to plan a visit to St. Louis during the summer (hot, humid, yuck!), I had a wonderful time during my girls' weekend with Ar.  Unfortunately, our time was shortened a bit due to an issue with Southwest's 3:45pm Friday flight (happened again this weekend... makes me a bit suspicious about the true cause of the "delay"), we still really maximized our time together and cross off everything on our to-do list.

Ar picked me up at the airport, and we stopped briefly at the Parkway Hotel so I could drop off my bag before we headed out for the evening.  We had planned to visit the City Museum after 5pm when the admission was reduced, but once we got there, we realized that we needed to not be in skirts to truly take advantage of what the Museum has to offer (see photos and description below).  Instead, after enjoying some gelato and sorbetto at a nearby gelateria, we braved the heat to walk down towards the Arch with the thought of going to the top to see the city all lit up in the evening.  However, we would have needed to wait for at least 90 minutes for the next tour, and we had no option for a Riverboat cruise at that time of day, so instead we decided to purchase tickets for the combo boat & Arch package for the next afternoon.  We returned to the car (via a brief stop to pick up some wine) and the hotel, and then walked a few blocks to find someplace for dinner.  We ended up at an Asian restaurant that had some good options for Ar (pregnant = avoiding raw fish), and we lucked out by being inside during a very strong but brief thunderstorm.  By the time we were done, the rain had stopped, so we stayed [mostly] dry on the way back to the hotel.

I managed to survive a 40-minute run through Forest Park, despite the heat and humidity.  I did, however, take a slight tumble on an uneven curb at the very end of the jaunt, resulting in some rather colorful bruises on my left knee, hip, and elbow - oops!  We made do with the breakfast offered by the hotel but agreed that we'd seek a better alternative for the next morning.  Then it was off to the City Museum in shorts and non-flip-flops.

This place was truly amazing and impossible to describe.  It's like a giant playground, all made of recycled and reclaimed materials, including lots of tunnels, slides, trees, swings, mosaics, etc.  So fun!  Some parts were definitely too small for adults, but Ar and I managed to make our way through as much as we could.  Here's a brief sample of what we found both inside and outside:

We had scoped out some parking options the day before and found a parking garage downtown between the City Museum and the Arch that was only $5 all day on weekends.  So we headed back towards the garage (so I could change out of my denim shorts - heat rash! - into a more comfortable skirt) and then found a nearby pita place for lunch.  By then, we still had a little time before our Riverboat Cruise, so we headed back to visit the free [and air-conditioned] museum under the Arch and got to enjoy a docent presentation on some Native American culture.

The Riverboat Cruise on the Mississippi was very educational and interesting, even if most of the scenery was very industrial (i.e. not terribly "pretty").  Our boat was named the Tom Sawyer:

After the River tour, we had to go through security once again (the fourth time!) to enter the Gateway Arch for our tram ride to the top.  This tram was really different - very small egg-shaped pods that hold only 5 people at a time, so only 35 people can ride each tram (North or South) every 10 minutes.  This was a great system to control traffic at the top viewing areas, since the Arch is only 17' across at the very top!  We ascended the North side and descended the South side, just to get a slightly different experience.  And at the top, we had some great views of both the city and the River, including a panorama that included Busch Stadium:

By the time we finished with the Arch, we were ready to head back to the hotel to cool down and clean up before dinner.  We decided to just head across the street to the "St. Louis Bread Company" aka "Panera Bread" (not sure why the name has to be different in St. Louis...) to grab dinner and eat outside on the patio since the evening temperature was actually quite enjoyable once the sun went down.

We had purchased tickets for the Busch Stadium tour the day before, so we hit up a nearby Einstein's Bagels for breakfast before heading back downtown.  Since were were a bit early, we walked a few blocks through a great urban park with lots of public art that we had noticed over the previous couple of days as we went to and from the area.  My favorite were the big bunnies that looked like fluffy marshmallows but were actually solid metal:

Although I'm not at all a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals, I'm always interested to tour MLB stadiums, and our guides for this tour were extremely knowledgeable and engaging.  And luckily, the weather was quite a bit cooler, so  we didn't completely broil or melt when we were on the field.  A got a great shot of the field with the Arch in the background:

We had plenty of time to go back to the hotel to pack up before A dropped me off at the airport and started her road trip back to Louisville.  By the time I was in Las Vegas for my layover, she was already home.

Fabulous visit.  Awesome time with my girl A.  And definitely something we'll need to do again!!!


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