I'm in Love.... with a city!
Saint Louis Travel Blog› entry 3 of 6 › view all entries
September 10th, 2009 – by: sweetsummerdaiz
VERY clean, very safe, interesting, and affordable with so many of the museums and attractions being free.... how can it get any better???
I hit the ground running and covered a lot of geography while there. I found the city to have the charm of Chicago's old buildings, the romance of Kansas City, the nightlife of Washington DC, and the efficient transportation of Boston except cleaner! I was captivated by the plentiful fountains, intriguing sculptures, great architecture, and the warm of the people who I met there.
I arrived around 10pm on a Wednesday night and needed to find the train platform. After searching for about 10 minutes I discovered the signs that pointed "up." Taking an escalator to the second floor the MetroLink signs navigated me to the station where I bought my 2 hour pass from a vending maching for $3.75. I sat in the first car and waited for about 10 minutes before the train left the station. Multiple stops later I arrived at the Stadium Station where I new I needed to exit.
Emerging from below street level at this station I was pleasantly surprised to see how well lit the streets were at this time of night. My Hilton Hotel was within site and about 2 blocks away. There was no one around except for the occasional car passing by until I arrived at the door of the hotel.
Checkin was quick and smooth and I was greeted warmly. I had read about Bree, the girl who checked me in, on Tripadvisor and she blushed when I told her that! My room was on the tenth floor (#1009). The elevators for the east tower were just about 100 feet from the front desk, they were quick! As I stepped off the elevator my room was just steps away ~ so easy! The room was nice and sported two full-size beds. I pulled back the curtains and had a front and center view of the Old Courthouse and about 70% of the illuminated arch.... beautiful view~!
Next I headed across the street to Calico's. It is not a chain but had a feel much like TGIFridays (which was just down the block). I sat at the bar and had a sandwhich and sampled the local brew, Schlafly.
My food came. The sandwich was fair but the home made potato chips were great! I enjoyed the cold beer on a warm night. Beer makes me sleepy so it was perfect to enjoy just before heading back to the hotel for the night. Afterwards I walked around the fountain area which stood between the restaurant and the Hilton. It was beautiful at night. The Old Courthouse and the Arch were both in perfect sight of this fountain at night and it was picture postcard perfect.
The next morning I awake bright and early and rush (gotta love my enthusiasm, huh?) to the window to see what daylight will reveal to me below. Sunshine was streaming like a spotlight off of the arch and a foggy blanket had hovered over the Mississippi River with the warm days and cooler evenings. The sight seemed almost dreamlike with the pink and purple drenched sky and the largeness of the buildings.
As I hustled downstairs the first order of business was to grab a Starbuck's for my morning boost. Loaded with a caffeine buzz I headed back to the fountain to look over the details. I noticed a visitor's information booth at the end of the fountain and was beckoned inside by the flashing "open" sign.
Inside I was greeted by Barb and Mike. Both of these kind people exuded the warmth of the city and gave me some great ideas for sights to see along the way. Barb was called out of retirement to man the visitor's booth... and I can certainly see why! So genuine, helpful, and passionate about her city! What a great ambassador for those who come to St. Louis! One of the recommendations she made was to take in the experience of The Hill (see bus guide below) one of the oldest and best Italian neighborhoods in the country. Settled more than 100 years ago by immigrants, several businesses in this area south of hwy 44 still thrives today much like it did generations ago. Excellent suggestion!
Mike was a guide on a bike in a bright yellow shirt.
**Bus guide and tips: If you are taking the bus to go see The Hill, start at the MetroBus Hub located at Central West End train stop.
To return to Central West End, catch the same route #95 Taylor (north route) for return bus at the bus stop right in front of the Botanical Gardens (located on Kings highway Street which is almost directly underneath Interstate 44. **Please note: You may have to wait up to 45 minutes for this bus as it comes about once per hour. There is no bench here to wait on and no shade.
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