What a day!
A good day starts with breakfast, doesn't it? We'd got the address of Winslow's Home on our map, so off we went.
We'd decided to begin with the most obvious thing on our list: the Gateway Arch.
We have been a little baffled by St Louis, for it's a major city with large office blocks, monumental buildings and an abundance of apartment blocks too. But where is everyone? The streets are deserted and there doesn't appear to be very much life here. Down here, near the prime tourist spot in between the Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse there were few people to be seen.
One thing did surprise us - the size of the arch! It really is huge - one of the highest structures in the city, in fact.
Getting it into perspective included noting the size of each end of the arch too. Enormous.
We got tickets for the 11am journey to the top and waited patiently in various places until our tram arrived. The tram consists of 8 small pods or capsules, each for five people and it was very claustrophobic in there with just one window opening onto the inside of the structure. Not the most comfortable four minutes, I must say.
At the top, viewing opportunities were limited to letterbox windows on each side and since the viewing area was so full, it wasn't the most comfortable.
It was a great, clear day so we could see plenty of the city on one side.
I looked out for our car parked down there on the street, thanks to Mary's blue plaque.
We were happy we'd come up here but didn't want to spend any longer so signalled out wish to descend and got an immediate allocation, so we made our way to the tram stop for three minutes discomfort on the descent.
The Gift shop offered few interesting and potentially useful things.
But maybe it's too late for the essential knowledge for selecting horses? We agreed that we were done here and that it was time to move on to our next destination, the City Museum. It was getting hot outside and we thought that an indoor activity might be a good idea at this time of the day.
The entrance to the museum was a noisy place with families and children all over. Only after we'd bought our admission tickets did we notice that we were the only adults there without children in tow.
Not only that, but this didn't seem much like any museum we've been to previously. Children were climbing through wire structures, running about here and there and the noise?! Oh, the noise! Feeling very old indeed, we found our way to the cafe and sat in the middle of the pizza eating horde, wondering what we were going to do next. When we researched the things we might do in St Louis, clearly we didn't research the City Museum fully.
But we don't give in easily so decided to take the lift up to the fourth floor and see what was up there. We joined a member of staff in there and asked, what should we see? He hit the 4 button and spoke of modern art collections, though feared that it could be closed today due to staff shortages.
Sadly, he was correct. The gates were closed and we could see no further. However, a few things on the opposite side caught our eye.
A mixture of architectural salvage yard, museum and playground, the City Museum defies descripton. Just when we thought we'd "got it", we'd come across a glass wall with fish swimming behind it, a room of skeletons or a bank vault.
It was stunning, exciting, bewildering, noisy (oh yes) and just that side of utter chaos. By the time we were done exploring floor 4, we were captivated.
And none of us was tempted to explore the wire tube system and crawl to the plane.
On the third floor we found some of Tom Otterness' figures like those we'd seen on the New York Metro. There really was so much to see and excitement lay around every corner - I'll share more in a future post, but as the noise was getting to us, we needed to head somewhere a little more peaceful.
The Cathedral Basilica of St Louis was high on our list and I had read excellent reviews. That sounded like a peaceful place!
As soon as we stepped inside we saw why. The mosaics were spectacular and every surface glistened with colour. I'm not sure what we were expecting, but whatever, it was surpassed by a mile!
We spoke to the gentleman docent who pointed out the exquisite chapel and the corridor ceilings designed and worked by Tiffany.
And there, peeping from behind the dome above the altar was another TIffany creation - a stained glass rose window, mostly out of view to all but the privileged few permitted access behind the altar.
Once again,I'll share more about this special place in a future post.
Feeling somewhat overwhelmed, we hit the shopping centre for an hour before supper.
We rounded off the day nicely at the Square One Brewery, with supper and a couple of beers and all agreed, this had been a spectacular day!