Welcome to St. Louis
Saint Louis Travel Blog› entry 1 of 6 › view all entries
I left Baton Rouge around 8:00 AM, which is fairly late for me to start a trip. I usually like to leave as early as possible, but rather than make my own travel arrangements I had agreed to have these arrangements made through the travel agent with whom my company works. It felt nice to sleep in -- and my cat enjoyed having me around a little later than usual. My flight to St. Louis was through Atlanta, but I had less than an hour at the airport there.
The plane landed in St. Louis shortly after noon. I bought a pass for the Metro and boarded the train for downtown St. Louis. I was surprised that the trip into downtown St. Louis took close to 40 minutes, but it was a pleasant ride (except for the man who boarded about midway through the trip who proceeded to shout his political views, challenging everyone on the train to disagree with him).
The train finally arrived at my stop, 8th and Pine. I got off and began walking toward my hotel at 4th and Olive. As I was walking, it suddenly hit me that I was hungry. That should not have been a surprise since it was nearly 2:00 PM and I had not eaten anything since breakfast. I began looking for a restaurant -- and almost immediately saw a sign advertising the "best Reuben in St. Louis." I decided that sounded like lunch, so I crossed the street and entered Pickles Deli. I figured I should check out their Reuben -- and it was excellent. I liked the atmosphere at Pickles -- as well as the food. It just felt good.
After lunch, I made my way to the Downtown Hilton at the Arch, my hotel. It is located in an historic building that dates to 1888, the Merchant Laclede Bank.
It did not take me long to arrive at my first tourist stop, the Old Courthouse, since it was only two short blocks from the hotel. The Old Courthouse dates to 1839, when the Greek Revival style building was constructed. Outside the Old Courthouse is a statue commemorating the most famous trial heard in the building, the trial where the slave Dred Scott sued for his freedom on the basis of his owner taking him to Minnesota, where slavery was illegal, for several years; ironically, Scott won the case in the state court but lost in the federal courts when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that African-Americans were not citizens and had no standing to sue in the courts.
Leaving the Old Courthouse, I headed toward the main feature of the Jefferson Expansion National Memorial, the Gateway Arch. While the Arch is only two blocks from the Old Courthouse, it is separated from it by the interstate. The city is currently in the process of building a plaza over the highway, but for now the only way to get to the Arch from the Old Courthouse is a pedestrian bridge that actually leads to the Old Cathedral, or more formally, the Basilica of St.
The old Cathedral dates to 1831. Because of its historical importance, the cathedral was not demolished when the city tore down most of the riverfront structures to create the Jefferson Expansion National Memorial. I was disappointed that the church was locked up, but it was nice to see.
The parking lot for the Old Cathedral leads to the grounds of the Gateway Arch. Unfortunately, because of the construction of the plaza, it was a long, circuitous path to actually get to the Arch. At 630 feet, the Arch is the tallest arch in the world. It was designed in 1947 by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen as his submittal for a national competition to design a feature for the Jefferson Expansion National Memorial.
I was tired by this time, so decided to just go across the street to a pan-Asian restaurant, Bamboo Bistro, for dinner. I was pleasantly surprised at just how good my dinner was.
I enjoyed myself today, but was definitely ready to call it a day.