Thursday, 6 October 2016

The St Louis Adventure, Day 7

Sunday, June 27th

Oh, my, here it is, October already, and i'm still writing about what i was doing back in June. As a blogger, or a diarist, i'm not exactly obsessed. Anyway.

Normally on Sundays, of course, i listen to the Klassics show on KSHE. It's a highlight of my week. Yet here i was in St Lou on a Sunday, and didn't listen. There was so much else to do!

I was so in love with the Mississippi River i decided to take a cruise on it, and in the morning i went back to The Old Courthouse and lashed out $20 for a one-hour voyage upon the Tom Sawyer. That was the name of the boat. They have another boat called the Becky Thatcher (LOL) but that was the next cruise. So Tom it was.

Leaving the Courthouse i came upon a Pridefest parade, which was absolutely extraordinary -- full of the most brilliant colours, and full of so much life, so much happiness, both gays and straights having a wonderful time. (St Louis's City Hall is, i think, the only city hall in all of the USA that flies both the gay and transgender flags, alongside the American flag.)
I would have lingered, but it was 10 o'clock, my boat left at noon and i wanted to explore the Soulard neighbourhood first. Well, i walked and walked -- blazing hot sun, as usual -- and i think that i was heading in the right direction, but after 45 minutes i realised that, even if i did reach Soulard, i wouldn't have much time to explore, and so turned back.

My god, i don't think i've ever felt so peaceful in my life, rollin', rollin', rollin' on the river. The guide's commentary was fascinating, too -- he told us all about the St Louis section of the The Father Of Waters, how, when the Missouri River feeds into it, it flows in two colours for a while, its own blue and the Missouri's brown), the fish that live in it (in that area, mostly drum, alligator gar and different types of catfish), how it changes over the course of the year, pointed out barges that were loading and unloading, or waiting to load and unload, on the Illinois side, gave us a brief history of each of the bridges we passed under: Poplar Street Bridge, Stan Musial Bridge, Martin Luther King Bridge and the Eads Bridge -- the longest arch bridge in the world when it was built (in 1874). I love this river, (I may have mentioned this before.) Here's a buncha pics i took from the boat and from the shore.

But all good things must come to an end and upon disembarking, i decided to try to find Soulard again, a culturally diverse neighbourhood south of downtown. Erm, it didn't work out. Ten minutes into my stroll, an overwhelming need overcame me -- the need to find a toilet ASAP. The only nearby place i could think of was Ballpark Village  -- i'd been there and had an excellent lunch on Thursday, so hastened over with eyes and fingers crossed and, whew! made it.

And i'm so glad i did -- and for reasons well beyond not making, you know, um, er, a mess in my trousers.

One of the things i would have liked to have done on my visit, was see the Cardinals play at Busch stadium. Unfortunately, they were away at Seattle for the week i was there. (How did i screw my dates up? I mean, i ask you.) But i went into the Budweiser Brew House, the bar at Ballpark Village i'd been into before. From my vantage point there, i could see into the theatre and there, on the biggest big-screen tv i've ever seen in my life, was the St Louis-Seattle game live and in living colour.

As i noted earlier in this exercise in self-indulgence, i'm not really a baseball fan, but i AM a Cards fan -- the game was exciting beyond my wildest dreams! Well of course i was indulging in some refreshing alcoholic beverages all through the game, but as i hadn't had anything but a samwidge at the boat dock a few hours earlier, i was feeling a trifle hungry, and so i tried a St Louis delicacy -- toasted ravioli. Oh, my, it was good! (It's actually breaded and deep-fried, if you want to get technical.) (A couple of other local delicacies i had hoped to sample, were catfish and frozen custard -- not together obviously! -- but i never found anywhere that served either.)

Oh, and the Cardinals won, 5-4. Brilliant. Too bad they missed out on the playoffs this season....

Then it was back to Belleville for a quiet evening at home. Well, at Chuck's home. Apparently, the world's best pizza comes from Papa Vito's on Washington Street in Belleville, and that's what Chuck organised for our dinner. Well, er, it was undeniably good, but, as with the pizza i'd had on my first night in town, it had a thin crust and was served in squares. When in Rome, etc., i know, but it wasn't what i'm used to. This is NOT a complaint.  (Of course, very little about my visit had been anything like what i'm used to. That was part of the whole point of going -- an expanding of horizons. But pizza, i dunno, it's almost a religion with me -- almost as much as beer.) (At least i'd found some great beer!)

We watched an hilarious movie as we ate -- "Grumpy Old Men" with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, which i'd never seen before. We also cracked open the bottle of Glenfiddich that i'd bought a few days earlier and, oh, wow, it had been a while since i'd tasted it and and nectar doesn't begin to describe it. We had one glass each. Chuck isn't a big drinker. I am a big drinker but almost solely of beer and i know myself very well -- i love whiskey, but it doesn't like me. I daren't have more than one glass....

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