Saturday, 14 May 2016

Leaving St. Louis

It's a strange feeling leaving St. Louis after a week here, and somewhat sad. I know I'm flying to New York this evening and it's highly likely to be considerably more exciting than anything I've ever experienced. Still, this part of the trip has been a nostalgic experience as much as revisiting the city through more 'adult' eyes.
The beautiful building that is the  Washington University in St. Louis.
The city itself hasn't changed too much, although some things are different (or perhaps they seem different to me). However, I think it's myself that has changed more in the 13 and a half years since I first came. That's not surprising, given I was only 15 when I last came, but it certainly makes for some interesting observations on things I didn't even notice or think about last time.

Morning refreshment at Kaldi Coffee CO.
Anyway, this isn't a blog piece down memory lane or a place for my philosophical musings (which you all probably know I'm bad for), but a summary of the trip. Our last full day yesterday was spent mainly around the arch - we finally made our way back to the top in one of the tram/cable cars that pull you up one leg and then back down the other (after some time at the top).

Looking up at the arch from ground level.
Going up the arch is an, or even the essential experience to undertake when coming to St. Louis. The true scale of the structure is only apparent when you get to the top, and unlike other more linear structures the sensation of walking on a curved floor reminds you where you are and is quite astounding. The lack of a large steel arch in the view over the city is slightly perturbing, but it gives you a chance to see other landmarks you may not have focused on from down on the ground.
Inside the arch at the very top, 630 feet up.
We spent around 20 minutes up there taking photos and generally taking into account just where we were, 630 feet off the ground. The arch cost $15 million to build and we discovered that the architect, Eero Saarinen, who designed the monument didn't even live long enough to see construction begin - quite a tragedy really, but at least his memory lives on.

Downtown St. Louis as seen from the top of the arch.
We didn't really do much else for the rest of the day. We took the metro back to Union Station and I returned to the Schlafly tap room to buy my cycle jersey (I just couldn't leave it). We then returned to the hotel via the supermarket to get some last night snacks and headed back to pack. Checkout from the hotel is in 10 minutes so it's time for one last trip downtown to do my whiskey distillery tour at Still630 distillery, then lunch at Broadway Oyster Bar before heading back to the airport.
View of St. Louis as seen through a window of the arch.
It's been a blast St. Louis. Who knows when I'll be back again, probably not for a while, but I definitely hope to return in future, even if just for a few days. I probably won't spend a week here again, but then there's still a lot of the US left for me to explore! Montana next year anyone? In the meantime, New York here I come!!!!

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