Show Me The Way To St Louis

Read about our last day travels in St Louis Missouri

29 September 2014

Time to leave Columbia where we have had the best music adventures with the wonderful Roots ‘n Blues ‘n BBQ festival.  I would highly recommend you traveling here, particularly if you are attending the Americanafest in Nashville the preceding week.

Today we need to head towards St Louis.  But first we wanted to have another quick look at downtown Columbia, so back at the Lakoma for a coffee.  While there, we had two more “Aren’t you those Australians?” conversations with patrons who recognised us from our photo on the front page of the local newspaper two days before.  That left us about an hour or so to browse the downtown shops.

By around 11 we were in the car and headed to St Louis which was a two-hour drive east without a break, as we thought we would have lunch when we arrived there.  Our GPS was programmed and we arrived at the Washington Avenue address earlier than anticipated.  It was exactly the same address as our hotel but at a rambling generous house in the middle of well-heeled suburbia.  We found another listing for the same address and headed toward it with some measured haste.  Another thirty minutes and I had negotiated through some heavy traffic (large semi trailers were everywhere) and found our digs for the night – The Missouri Athletic Club.  We checked in and I parked the car in the nearby Club garage, as instructed.

Within twenty minutes, we were walking the streets. With the imposing Gateway Arch to our left, we thought of going there first, but the freeway and road works were blocking every access point.  Giving up for now, we finally found an eatery on Chestnut Street and, as the time was 3.30pm, decided on a substantial meal that would sustain us for the rest of the day.  I had grilled salmon and vegetables, with just a touch of margarita.

On the way to the elongated walk to the Arch, we detoured via Busch Stadium, home of the St Louis Cardinals, one of the most known Major League baseball franchises (for the sports minded, The Cardinals won the World Series in 1926, 1931, 1934, 1942, 1944, 1946, 1964, 1967, 1982, 2006 and 2011).  Busch Stadium is very impressive, even when empty (its capacity is 47,000) and it has piqued my interest even further to attend a baseball game at some future point.  The Cardinals’ merchandise store is pretty impressive as well.

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Busch Stadium

Ok, finally to the Arch.

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Gateway Arch, St Louis

Firstly, a few facts.  The structure was built in 1965 as a monument to Thomas Jefferson and all those pioneers for whom St. Louis was the Gateway to the West.  It’s 630 feet, 63 stories or 192 meters tall.  The span is 630 feet at ground level between the outer sides of the legs.  The mode of transportation to the top is quite unique, to me at least.  A five-seat pod which is very cosy, travels up the inside the Arch legs.  Three of us were tight-knit and I would not want to share that space with four other humans. Also, if you suffer from claustrophobia, I’d forget about it.

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One of the Gateway Arch pods

The trip up took about five minutes and the views were spectacular – east over downtown and the three sports stadiums – baseball, NFL and ice hockey – west over the Mississippi River and the much smaller town of East St Louis, Illinois.  The Mississippi joins the continent’s second biggest river The Missouri just north of St Louis.

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St Louis from Gateway Arch

Time to head back to The Athletic Club for a well-earned glass of wine at the Jack Buck Bar and Grill, where collared shirts were compulsory and smoking cigars was obviously highly regarded.

An early night – some travel housekeeping and phone calls home.

 

Read about our last day travels in St Louis Missouri

Read about our last day travels in St Louis Missouri

Read about our last day travels in St Louis Missouri

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Author: Rob Dickens

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