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June 6th 2014
Published: July 21st 2014
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The apartment buildingThe apartment buildingThe apartment building

3rd floor, one on the right
Thank you St Louis!!!

We travelled to St Louis in June; Geoff for a conference and me to enjoy the city and partake in a reunion with Lachy (son number 2) and a good friend from San Francisco (formerly from France, first met in Nepal in 2012, aka my very good French friend). Well, St Louis certainly delivered. I was so impressed with our stay, we only saw the tiniest bit in 5 days and left looking forward to more next time.

Thank you Air Bnb!

We stayed in Clayton which I think was a great choice- a beautiful leafy green suburb with great proximity to Forrest Park: and all of it's attractions, public transport and the essentials like a supermarket, coffee and some great little restaurants. So, this is the apartment- - such a great decision, worked very well for us having the flexibility of a 2 brm/2 bath apartment in such a great location. I also really, really liked the quirky decor in the apartment, and the robins nest on the back balcony. Financially it was great value too. We made very good use of Kaldi's Coffee Shop ( ) just around the corner
Happy BD St LouisHappy BD St LouisHappy BD St Louis

Concordia Seminary cake
and just loved the area.

We used public transport to get around, having purchased a 1 week metro pass at the nearest train station (Skinker- about 20 min walk away). It was about $25 each for the 7 day pass covering both bus and train. We used it for 2 lots of airport runs as well as the daily downtown visits to the conference centre, etc. we found the trains to be on time, clean and efficient. I also walked a lot- throughout down town, across the bridge to Illinois, all through the residential streets of Clayton, etc; June was ok for it - I imagine it would be a bit of a sweaty experience as summer wore on. We took cabs for 2 occasions.

Our visit covered The Gateway Arch - very good French friend and I went on a Monday mid morning- no queue to get in, a great visit- fascinating place, lots of info with the video and the attached museum display. I thought the admission price was incredibly reasonable. The views from the top were great and I loved spending as long as we wanted up there- the little pods you travel in
Day 1Day 1Day 1

Off to get coffee
were neat too (it felt like you were in a submarine for some reason). Spend about an equal amount of time taking photos of the exterior!!!! The structure lends itself to some fabulous photography. I will visit at dusk next time for a comparison in lighting.

We visited Lone Elk Park with our son and his partner (with car). It had been on my wish list and I'm really glad we got there- a nice walk and drive. Majestic animals those elk. We didn't see any deer or bison, did see a bit of bird life. The bird sanctuary on site is easily accessible if you want to visit- they were rehabing some owls while we were there. On the same afternoon we also drove out to the Botanical Garden and spent a couple of hours in the nature reserve (Shaw's) walking the trails. Another good bird watching spot plus we saw a small tortoise navigating one trail. The day we went was National Trail Day so admission was free, I believe it is normally $5 pp. There is also a small shop attached with a nice collection of nature based books. The lady working in the shop wouldn't let us pay the admission even though we wanted to, so, we bought "Birds of Missouri" pocket reference in lieu of the admission fee.

Spent an afternoon in Soulard wandering through Lafayette Park and surveying the Victorian houses (a little bit reminiscent of the painted ladies in San Francisco) after a good lunch at Bogart's Smokehouse. After wandering around for a few hours we tried the gooey butter cake in one of the cafés- I'd have it again- lots of varieties to satisfy a sweet tooth. Caught a cab there and back.

We spent a lot of time in Forest Park - we hiked the various trails as well as visiting the zoo (twice). The zoo is fantastic, the gorilla enclosure for me was a big highlight, hence a second visit. Spent a morning at the art gallery , for me it was mostly in the contemporary section, with a quick look through the other sections. The French exhibition was on while we were there but we were short on time- a full day would be easily spent there. Lunch in their restaurant was good.

Our last afternoon we spent some time at the Grand Central Station -
Happy BD St LouisHappy BD St LouisHappy BD St Louis

Lone Elk Park cake
I felt it such a shame that such a big grand old space is looking so desolate. The historical display on the first floor of artefacts of the railways was interesting. From there we headed to the Central West End with the intention of visiting the Basilica cathedral and getting a late dinner. We left our run a bit late and got to the cathedral after closing- such a shame! Anyways, the exterior is quite a majestic sight in itself. Given that it was our last full day in St Louis visiting the inside will have to be done next visit!

In terms of eating out, Bogart's was good to try the BBQ, coleslaw, mac cheese, etc. Niche was a major food highlight- contemporary degustation- outstanding experience both in terms of the food and the waitstaff. We also ate at The Oyster bar (v good), Jimmies on the Park ( average), Sashas Winebar (good) and the restaurant at the art gallery (lunch, good). Coffee - Kaldi's near us was outstanding, also really nice staff and a good feel, and Kayak, near Skinker Station were the standouts.

Our weather was generally warm to hot and humid with a couple

as the Americans like to call them
of torrential downpours. I would love to visit in fall or early spring maybe, actually, I'd just really like to go back sometime.

Thanks again St Louis- it was a lot of fun!

Nb- loved the cake trail - the celebration of St Louis's 250th birthday

PS- We then went to New Mexico and stayed in the desert with our very good Michigan friends followed by a week in Mexico in Ixtapa- the plan was to write these bits up but, alas... it didn't get done.

Additional photos below
Photos: 42, Displayed: 27


Real lone elkReal lone elk
Real lone elk

actually there were a few of them
Happy BD St LouisHappy BD St Louis
Happy BD St Louis

Shaws Botanical Gardens

Gorgeous fieldsGorgeous fields
Gorgeous fields

lots of birds
St Louis ArchitectureSt Louis Architecture
St Louis Architecture

Detailed bronze work in the downtown buildings
Gateway ArchGateway Arch
Gateway Arch

and the Mississippi River
Robin's nestRobin's nest
Robin's nest

on the back balcony at the apartment

25th July 2014

Is nowhere safe ??
and by that I mean 'safe from the globe-trotting Gill'. It's fun following your travels ! When are you off to Iran ? I'm just stuck with boring old Nepal again (!) Off to Manang later this year - think I may give Iran a miss . . . Keep traveling, and keep as safe as necessary xx Yeti
12th September 2014

9 days to go
Hi Alan- thanks for your comments- not too long for me now! I'm excited. I would equally love to be going back to Nepal though!! My indelible image whilst in Manang was that glacial blue lake - Gangapurna Lake- we took an acclimatisation hike and it was so spectacular from so many angle. When do you go?

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