Sunday, June 4, 2017

Trip of Necessity

I know I don't talk about work much on the blog, but every so often is can be kind of fun. I was nominated to be a part of a two-year leadership program, and the first session was in St. Louis. Bryce and I needed a just-us trip, so we decided he'd fly out after the session and we'd do some fun stuff. I knew it wasn't the top of our list of places to go, but we have fun no matter where we go. However, I should have been warned when this was the response from all of the people who had been to St. Louis:
"So, what should we do in St. Louis?"
"Well, there's the arch."
"Cool. What else?
Our hotel was located in beautiful downtown St. Louis; a massive grid of plain 60's-style office buildings and parking structures. We were right next to the courthouse and the arch, so I got to see that famous arch pretty quick. It was pretty impressive.
My room overlooked the courthouse, and just beyond that Cardinal's stadium, where the baseball team plays. However, my first night there it was host to a Metallica concert. All night, I heard muffled guitar, angry lead singer, and the "raaaarrrrrr" of a drunk crowd. That's the closest to a Metallica concert I'd like to get, I think.
The glowing lights of metal rock
It was also kinda fun to see the Mississippi River. It's big.
The leadership session was fantastic and it was extra fun to be there with Sarah, one of my closest friends. Amy joined us and sportingly put up with our nightly cocktail(s).
From left to right: me, Sarah, Amy
Finally, the conference ended and Bryce arrived. That night, we rode up the arch to see the view. It was awesome as long as you didn't think about the fact that you were traveling in a small oval chamber with three other strangers up a serious of tracks to the very top of a super-high arch. But the view was pretty incredible.
We spent our first day at Forest Park, a gigantic area containing the Fine Arts Museum, the Zoo, and the old Worlds' Fair pavilion. And some other stuff. I wore flip flops, so most of the day is a blur of hot humid sunshine and streaking pain in my feet. But everything was free, so that was a positive.
I particularly enjoyed the Fine Arts Museum. We got to see this Monet, and it sorta changed the way I see art. You have to see it in person. I've seen plenty of pictures of Monet, but I felt this one. See, even looking at this picture, you think, "Oh - muted colors and seaweed." But there? There it is was a shimmery pond with warm glowing yellow flowers that soothed your soul. 
They also had a cool section of armor on display.
By the end of the day, we were pretty done with St. Louis. We still had another day to go. I had heard about this place called the Central West End, and we decided we had nowhere else to go.
We hit our groove there.
It had a bunch of hipster-y stores and restaurants and these old historic homes that were super cool.  We went and saw Wonder Woman at a small theater in a hotel. They also had a vodka bar. Sigh....
We were on our way back to the hotel on the train when we emerged from our vodka-infused state and noticed everyone wearing Cardinals gear. So, in typical-Danielle-decision-making style, we decided to go to the game. People tell you that you haven't really seen a game until you've been to a major league stadium.
Let me tell you something. Those people are big fat liars. Or, they really like sitting extra close to a guy eating jalapeno nachos and a woman screaming at children and throwing doodle sheets of conspiracy theories at people in the crowd. We stayed until someone scored a home run and I figured we had eeked out as much fun as we could from the cost of the tickets. Bryce probably would have stayed, but I was...persistent.
The next day we flew home. Yay!
So - thanks, St. Louis, we enjoyed ourselves and will never need to come back again.

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