Saint Louis consistently exceeded expectations. First, the 4.5 hour drive blew, which is always nice on a 25-hour adventure.
We arrived in Saint Louis and checked into a lovely Hilton right near the famous Saint Louis Arch.
We stopped by the courthouse to pick up our tickets and then hopped in line to take the tram to the top of the 630-foot arch. After a brief orientation we queued in front of a series of steel pod doors.
A faint rumble of the track was followed by the grating sound of metal braking on metal, and then the pod doors opened and people piled out.
Then we went in – tallest first – piling six people into a white metal pod with a tiny window facing the interior of arch.
The pod door closed and we began our slow ascent to the top watching as the stairwell became steeper and steeper and feeling the pod slowly shift horizontally as we reached different segments of the arch.
I sat with my face glued to the 5X5 pane of the glass watching this monolith of a structure unfold before me.
When we reached the bridge of the arch, the pod doors opened once again and we piled out to a line of people who were exiting the bridge.
Then we walked across the highest segment of the arch, leaned against the carpeted sills, and peered down at the city of Saint Louis from an incredible perspective.
After descending the other leg of the arch, we scurried to the theater to catch the last viewing of the documentary film of the arch’s construction.
If you check out the arch, I highly recommend both going to the top and also watching this film. It gives you a whole different perspective on this now-famous monument of the city.
For instance, the men who constructed the arch, worked in harsh winds 600 feet above the city without any safety harnesses – and somehow, nobody died. Go the arch, watch the film, and comment below.
So what seemed like it might be a silly stop along the way turned out to be a fascinating trip to a National Monument.
After the arch we added some extra layers, because Missouri was downright frigid and then made our way to the the Three Sixty Rooftop Bar, which served up a tasty cocktail called MO $$$ MO Problems and an incredible view of the arch and Busch stadium at night.
After our cocktail, we wound our way through the Winter Fest and the brave souls who were ice skating on this wintry night.
We made our way to a delicious feast of various Spanish and Canadian cheeses, duck, and trout served up with a flight of mid-country porters.
A truly fantastic meal to cap off an amazing day.