Saturday, 25 May 2013

Postcard from St. Louis 4

A friend was over from the UK this week and she wanted to go on the river.  The boats leave from a dock not far from the arch ...

We were on the Tom Sawyer (the one on the right).  

I hadn't really realised how high the river is.  It's now dropped below road level which seemed quite normal - that is, until we spotted this statue!  It's called the 'Captain's Return' and it commemorates the return of the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1806.  A few weeks ago this would definitely have been completely submerged!

There are some huge barges on this river!!

Looking north towards the new motorway bridge - Interstate 70 will cross the Mississippi here from sometime late next year and will reduce traffic coming across the bridge near our building.  Not that we'll still be here by then!

Not quite ready for traffic yet - the last piece will be craned in sometime next week!

There's a lot of industry on the Missouri side of the river.  This is looking south west towards the Anheuser-Busch brewery in the distance.  They do brewery tours, but I'm not sure that Andy categorises Budweiser as beer, so we almost definitely won't be doing that tour!  Luckily there are some excellent craft breweries in town!!

The river is a good vantage point to see the arch if you don't have a wide-angle lens!

Here is the downtown skyline from the boat.  I took a lot more photos, but I think I've probably shown you enough!!

Next week I'm heading back to Germany for a few weeks to check on our house and to collect a few things that we want over here.  I've got a quick trip to Munich planned to see friends and I may just be able to do a bit of sewing too!  

I'll be back mid-June.  Bye!

Friday, 17 May 2013

Postcard from Memphis

Sunset over the mighty Mississippi

Last weekend we took some time out and drove south to Memphis.  There's a whole lot of not very much between St. Louis and Memphis - makes for a very easy 4-hour drive (especially if you're not the one driving!!).  As we drove across the bridge towards the city I wondered when the river was going to stop - it's far wider than in St. Louis and was very obviously higher than normal.  The trees in the photo above are not the opposite bank, they're just on an islet mid-river.

Beale Street

After getting drenched in a sudden downpour we explored Beale Street, home of the blues.  

Unsurprisingly it's full of blues clubs, bars and restaurants.  We had our first taste of Memphis-style BBQ on Beale Street ....yum!!!

Graceland Mansion 

You can't visit Memphis without a trip to Graceland (well, technically it probably is possible but we weren't going to miss out on the experience).  Mansion is a little bit grand name for it - it's really just a large house.

This is the first room you see and it was my favourite - those peacocks are just lovely!  The rest of the house was just as you'd expect - a little bit over the top and not in very good taste, but considering Elvis died in the '70's it was probably all the latest fashion back then! 

Above the pool table in the basement

A lot of the rooms were very dark and hard to photograph.  I did snap this fabric covered ceiling though - an amazing amount of fabric was pleated for this.  I really don't envy whoever had to install it all!  

Lots of gold records.

And more!

Elvis' Grave

The mansion was interesting to visit.  Then there were the airplanes, the car museum, various other exhibits covering his childhood in Tupelo and his time in Hawaii .... and the largest number of gift shops I have ever, ever seen squashed into quite a small area!  

We also visited Sun Studio and the Rock 'n' Soul museum.

And we had a really interesting tour round the Gibson guitar factory.

So, that was our weekend in Memphis!  Did I mention we liked the BBQ?  We might have to go back sometime for the food!!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Postcard from St. Louis 3

Fountains in the Grand Basin

It really is a gorgeous day today - very warm and pleasant outside.  The weather has been all over the place since we arrived last month with some days reaching 30 degrees ... but then it cools right down again.  Today is the last good day this week - storms and a cold front are moving in tonight and it's going to be wet and cool.   So, when Andy said he needed to get to the zoo for 08:30 this morning for a meeting, I decided to drive him over there and take a wander round Forest Park.

The park was created in the late 19th century and was the site of the 1904 world fair and summer olympics.  St. Louisans are very proud that Forest Park is bigger than New York's Central Park!!  

The art museum

The park is home to many of St. Louis' attractions - the zoo, the art museum, the science centre and planetarium and Missouri's history museum and entrance to all of them is - unbelievably - free meaning Forest Park is a very popular destination!  It also boasts an open air theatre, plenty of open space for festivals, golf courses, tennis courts and lots of parking.

World Fair Pavilion

And it's not all formal parkland.  

If I can take the summer heat I think I'll be driving up here for many more early morning walks.

Boating lake

Last week our air freight arrived and I was reunited with some of my craft projects.  Progress is slow at the moment, not least because I started knitting a cardigan and decided yesterday to frog it and start over!  There will be some craft progress on this blog soon ... but first we're driving down to Memphis for the weekend;  photos to follow!