Tuesday, November 13, 2007

St. Louis - We Went We Saw We Conquered!

Well, I'm back and I survived despite many warnings of the need to be safe in the most dangerous city in the country (who knew, St. Louis, really?)
I arrived on Friday night after a one hour delay, just before 11PM. I waited in the airport for Awesome Al to arrive from Newark, 2 hours delayed, and then Kirsten and Meghan (the host) picked us up from the airport where we quickly all proceeded to bed to get ready for some Saturday fun.

Saturday morning, despite a late night, I got up at 7PM and went for about a 6 mile run in Forest Park. For those of you that don't know (and I was one of them until this weekend) Forest Park is St. Louis' Central Park. It is larger than Central Park but had the same architect. So I figured I would check it out. I stuck to the edges, afraid to get lost, I had to get back in time to go pick up Okie Amy afterall. I will say that Forest Park is more laid back then Central Park, running wise, but not quite as lush. I thoroughly enjoyed my run, it's one of my favorite ways to familiarize myself with a place.

After picking up Okie Amy from the airport and having breakfast, we headed to our first desitnation, The Gateway Arch! We took the Metro there, then walked along the Mississippi River to the steps leading up the park where the Arch is. I have to say it is really something in person, graceful, simple, elegant - I loved it!

View from the Metro Stop (it's the only picture where I fit the whole Arch in one frame!)

We bought our tickets for the "Ride to the Top" and spent the next two hours exploring the museum exhibit they have there on the expansion Westward in the United States after the Louisiana Purchase, the gift store and this old west food store that had a game of Checkers waiting to be played (Meghan and I decided to take on the challenge!)

Now for the "Ride to the Top", they don't really warn you about what it is going to be like so we were under the impression it would be a disney world like tram. Boy were we wrong. Each "tram" car holds 5 people - perfect, as we were 5. The tram however can be better described as a pod or capsule (think the Jetsons!) We all climb in, unsure of the 4 minute ride to the top. It starts off great and we're all laughing at how ridiculous we must look, and then it starts swaying back and forth. Let me tell you - it was pretty terrifying! 4 minutes later we were at the top and smiling for pics under the "You're at 630 feet sign!

Here we are at 630 Feet (from left to right: Amy, Beth, Meghan, Alison (in front) and Kirsten).

We enjoyed the view for awhile then braced ourselves for the 3 minute ride back down in our "capsule". Much less frightening.

When then headed to the Budweiser Factory for the one hour tour followed by "Free Beer!" The tour was pretty interesting, we got to see the Clydesdales, where they make the beer, where the bottle, label and package the beer etc. Then at the end you go back and you get two free glasses of beer. I had...what else...but Budlight! Yum!

Here we all are at the Budweiser Factory (from left to right: Kirsten, Beth, Alison, Meghan and Amy).

After the Budweiser factory we headed out to dinner, a piano bar and of course dancing. It was a fun night in St. Louis with my girls!!!!

Sunday, Kirsten left us (boo!) to head back home to Philadelphia. So after a nice breakfast, where we got to meet Meghan's friend Sarah, we headed out to Forest Park to do a walking tour that Amy had discovered online. At the visitor center they give you iPod shuffles with the walking tour on it and a map so you can follow along. We toured the Grand Basin, which was beatiful and the tour was very informative. It ended at the Boathouse so we dutifully went out on paddleboats for about and hour then sat by the water and enjoyed a drink. It was a beautiful day in St. Louis and I'm so glad that we were able to spend it outdoors enjoying the Park. It was the perfect way to spend the day.

Sunday night was nice and lowkey, we ordered in take out and enjoyed the Amazing Race (we may have converted Amy over to fan status of the show!) and just chatted. Then Monday was a travel day in which we all headed home.

I'm glad we make time to get together each year, even if it is only for a weekend - it's important to do. And I'm so looking forward to whatever adventure awaits us in 2008!

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