Thursday, April 18, 2013

Visiting St. Louis, MO

As Minnesota is whimpering under winter’s wrath that has continued into spring; it seems best to divert our attention to happier times, like the spring break.
Last month for spring break we traveled to St Louis, Missouri. This city appeared on my travel wish list when my friend and fellow scrapbook-er Mary Jo posted a page with pictures from Botanical gardens and subsequently mentioned going to the top of the Gateway Arch.
This year in school my daughter started learning about American history and read a little about the Westward Expansion; and that was incentive enough for us to finally plan the trip and strike another thing off the bucket list.

And of course meet Mary Jo. We had met any years ago on an online scrapbook place and caught each other’s attention more than the rest when we were both pregnant with our second child with close due dates. We have continued our friendship since then over blog and Facebook and Instagram and so after knowing someone so closely, it’s but natural that you’d want to meet them in person. Yup, this was the first time that we met face to face and indeed for a very short time but it would sustain us till we meet next time and make our connection through social media so much more special. Mary Jo helped me plan a lot of my trip, destinations to visit and the hotel area, it helped that we had kids in the same age group so I didn't have to explain she just knew where we’d like to go. If you are a scrapbook-er, you might want to visit her blog where she posts many inspirational pages of her own and challenges for you to join in.

We drove from Minneapolis to St. Louis mostly via country roads and state highways. As a family, adults more than kids enjoy this family time in the car, mostly we talk, count cars or play the Indian songs game ‘Antakshari’ where contestant/team sings verses from songs (mostly bollywood) and the next person starts with the last alphabet of the verse. The kids joined in with nursery rhymes and kids’ songs and sometimes we bent the rules because little ones wanted to sing a song real bad… And of course there were books and iPad and coloring books and nap times for those quiet times.

We stayed at Drury Plaza Hotel with the nice view of the Arch right from our bedroom. The floor to ceiling glass windows were perfect for when we were ready to step out the door but the rain kept us jailed in. We lounged right by the window and soaked in the views. A pedestrian walkway made it easy for us to walk to the lawns surrounding the Gateway Arch and spend quality time there. The girls were so excited that they didn't have to wear their heavy jackets all the time.

We took the tram to the top of the Arch and the views of downtown and of the river (including river bridges) were breath taking. TheArch is about the two-thirds the height of Eiffel Tower so not a tall structure in terms of height but to imagine an Arch that size where people can climb in; it’s a sculpture and historic monument and designed to accommodate the take all that steel and the movement due to wind; all in all a beautiful marriage between Art and Engineering…I love such happy, balanced places.
Court House from top of the Gateway Arch
The new bridge over Mississippi
The boat trip along the Mississippi river was worth it, thankfully the rain help up and we had sunshiny panoramas throughout. The food on the boat left a lot to be desired but thankful for the old fashioned levy shop at the bottom of the Arch that filled us with dark chocolate fudge and salt water taffy.

We visited the St Louis Zoo, which is really wonderful with animals and birds from many different climates. We spotted a peacock dancing and trying to woo a peahen and that was the highlight of the trip and perhaps also the roaring competition between the Lion and Tiger from their adjacent habitats.

Another very fun place to visit was the Botanical Gardens. One of the residents told me it was one of the three best in the whole world. I loved the climatron there, a glass dome filled with tropical flora, Oh! If I could capture the scent in a bottle and bring it home. The Japanese Garden was beautiful and had a wide expanse. It was wonderful to sit by the water, listen to the ducks and feed the fishes. This botanical garden deserves another visit in summer to feel its full splendor see the blooms and the greenery.

The downtown area around the Arch and close to the Court house was excellent as well. We took a horse carriage ride to get a feel for the Architecture of the area since the walking tours hadn't resumed for the season yet.

It was a wonderful stay with weather in the 60s (F) and nice view from a comfy hotel. As a mom, I love the escape from usual routine and stay in hotels where someone else makes your bed and tidy up the things. I don’t wish it to be my life but it’s nice to anticipate such breaks in the busy-ness of life that I have created around me and that I absolutely love.

1 comment:

  1. Oh how did I miss this?!
    I am so glad you and the family had a great trip here :)
    And glad I could help with the planning to help it go smoothly.
    So glad to finally meet up in person.
    And I do hope next time it can be for longer!