It was my last full day in the city and there were so many things i still wanted to do. I'd never explored too far beyond the MetroLink line, which only runs east to west, and the north and south seemed beyond my ability to reach without walking for miles. So my first stop on this day was Forest Park. Again. I'd been there on my first day and visited the St Louis History Museum, which had been excellent. Today my goal was SLAM -- The St Louis Art Museum.
And that's the statue of St Louis himself, in the front of the gallery.
In my naivete, i had supposed that it would be primarily devoted to American art. Ho! How wrong can one be? This a world-class art gallery, right up there with The Louvre (which i've also been to, btw) the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square and the Art Gallery Of Ontario. Art from every country and from every period, Picassos, Matisses, ancient China, even Inuit art from northern British Columbia.
And what happened to me there was the same thing that happened to me at The Louvre: my brain shut down. There was too much beauty, too much magnificence, i couldn't cope. I would walk into a room and see yet another Salvador Dali and think, what's he done lately (yawn)? .... It was overwhelming.
I must go there again.
And so i ventured further into the park, and it's such an amazing greenspace, and i just wandered. Fortunately, as the temperature was well into the nineties (Fahrenheit) there are many public water fountains. I would have preferred a pub, but heck, re-hydration is re-hydration. I walked and walked and ... I came upon The St Louis Zoo. (Here are some random pics from the park.)
I was of two minds about this. I'm not all that comfortable with the idea of zoos but St Louis's is supposed to be one of the world's best and i probably would have gone in (it's free), except that, just as i approached the entrance, so did a couple of school bus loads of screaming pubescent children. I skipped it. It wouldn't have been much fun for me. Or the animals, come to that!
It was lunch time by then and i'd been walking for a long time and i wasn't sure what to do next, on my final afternoon in this wonderful city. There were a lot of places i wanted to visit, but i simply didn't know how to get to them, so i decided to simply revisit some places i already knew i liked. I know, a lack of imagination on my part. My first priority: lunch at a pub.
I wandered over to 2000 Market Street, to one of my favourite places, Maggie O'Brien's, had their St. Paddy Melt (chopped sirloin, grilled onion, American and swiss cheese on grilled marble rye bread) plus a couple of pints of Goose Island. It then occurred to me that my blood alcohol level was dangerously low -- considering the fact that St Louis is known as a beer town, i really hadn't been drinking all that much on this visit -- certainly far less than usual. A pub crawl was indicated.
Now, the way that i pub crawl, is, i go to one place, have a pint there, and leave and walk around, and when the need arises for me to pee (as it tends to do) i'll go into the next available boozer, pee, and have another pint. On this day i managed to find my way back to the Delmar Loop area, and a pub called the Three Kings -- which i hadn't noticed on any of my prior visits to the area. It was great, i loved it there. So much so that i in fact stayed for two pints.
The afternoon was moving inexorably onwards, though, and i knew i needed to get myself east, for one more visit to the Mississippi River if nothing else. But first -- my bladder being the tyrant that it is, one more visit to Tigìn -- where i had a Smithwick's and said goodbye to Kirby, the bartender there who had been so welcoming on my first visit. (Americans are generally like that, it's why i love the country so.)
But enough was enough, and i walked the short distance through Laclède's Landing to the river and just sat there a while, and there was joy in my heart but sadness too, as this would be my final visit with the Father Of Waters, this year, anyway. After maybe thirty minutes of contemplation, i put my hand in the water and promised him i'd be back next year. And i will! One simply doesn't break an oath like that!
Now i had to get back to Belleville. I was taking Chuck out to dinner as a small token of my gratitude for his over-and-above hospitality. There was just one pressing bit of business i had to take care of -- and i do mean pressing. I needed a bathroom. So i went back to the Laclède's Landing area, found a pub called the Morgan Street Brewery, did what i had to do and of course had a pint of Black Bear, a very nice dark beer brewed in-house. I would have liked to have discovered this place earlier.
(The theme of this afternoon seems to have been "my beer and my bladder." Hmm.... But it was so hot that i was sweating all of the alcohol out of my system pretty much immediately, if not close to it.)
But then, at last, i climbed aboard MetroLink, returned to the Swansea Station where Chuck picked me up, and we had a lovely meal at the 4204 -- The Main Street Brewing Company, a brewpub in Belleville with not only an excellent selection of beers but some great food, too. I had a steak salad and a beer with a German name that i couldn't pronounce and can't remember.
And then back to Chuck's for a couple of slurps of the Glenfiddich i'd brought him, after which i started to watch the film "Grumpier Old Men" but i really couldn't stay awake.
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