St Louis (Early Anniversary Trip)

Our anniversary is coming up on the 20th, but due to the anticipated arrival of Doug’s co-worker’s baby, we decided to take the week before off so as not to cause drama at the lab.

We tried to save pennies by staying closer to home (7 hours is not that far) but ended up splurging for a boutique hotel (the Moonrise Hotel) that I found online and couldn’t resist. We did score a deal by buying two nights and getting one free. The third night (the free one) I probably slept better than I ever have! Haha.

The Moonrise Hotel exterior at dusk.

The first day we were there, we shopped the street the Moonrise is located on–the Delmar Loop. The street really isn’t a loop but with interesting stores and restaurants on both sides, it’s easy to walk up to one end and loop down on the other side. Our area reminded me of Hillcrest in San Diego and had lots of ethnic restaurants; something impossible to find in our town. At one of a few resale stores, I scored a pair of Coach tennis shoes for $24! Actually, it was perfect because I had forgotten a pair of good walking shoes. Providence!! At another store, Doug scored some retro swim trunks because the ones he had last summer seem to have mysteriously disappeared.

The shorts. Actually, he has a v-neck in each of these colors except orange. They go with everything!

The following day we slept in as long as possible–we ended up getting up around 10. We went over to downtown to see the Gateway Arch, but since I had ridden up in it as a child and Doug had done it in 2009, we decided not to spend our money in that way.

At the Arch. Shiny!

Instead, we found out that while the team is away, Busch Stadium offers tours! At first I was skeptical of the $10 cost–not cheap, especially considering that there are two of us, but the tour actually turned out to be one of our favorite parts of the trip. We learned some insider info, including that there’s a buffet section! They offer tickets that include a great seat and access to an all-you-can-eat buffet. The price depends on how popular the Cardinals’ opponent is and what day of the week the game is.

The buffet area was set up for a baseball-themed wedding reception. Cool!

During the tour we got to go in the radio press box, in the fancy area where the players eat after the game, on the field (had to stay off the grass) and in the dugout!! It was very cool, Doug was in sports heaven, and our tour guide was very funny.

On the field! It looks bigger from the stands.

Sunday, we went to the St Louis Zoo (free!) in the morning and drove a couple hours to my Grandma’s in Illinois for the afternoon and evening. Some of my other relatives were there and it was so good to spend time with the lesser-seen side of my family.

Monday, yesterday, sadly, was the day to make the 7 hour drive back home. Unfortunately due to hauling a couch gifted by my grandmother (she got a replacement and this one was lonely in her garage) we drove the truck, a manual shift. This means that poor Doug had to drive the whole time and it was my job to keep him in high spirits. Fortunately, even though it was raining through Missouri, everyone and everything made it back in great condition and we even shaved 30 minutes off the estimated trip time (according to TomTom).

It was so great to get away for an extra-long weekend.

Spring Break Memories: San Fran

Spring Break 2011 has come and gone for some of us, is slowly approaching for others, and if you’re like me, you’re a “grown up” and don’t get a spring break at all. I thought it would be a good time to practice a little photo editing (actually, the weather was so nice that this trip barely needs any) and compile some “greatest hits” posts from some of my Spring Breaks.

In 2009, before I even knew I was going to Morocco (I traveled so much in 09 my carbon footprint must have been terrible), I jumped in the car with my friend and co-worker Brittany at 11:00 pm. We drove all night from San Diego and arrived at Half Moon Bay at 8 in the morning just in time to get some excellent shots of Pigeon Point Lighthouse:

We stayed in a Hostel, which I recommend due to low cost and high interaction with people from all over the US and the world! At some hostels, you can get a private room (in Spain, we got a room for 3 so we could leave our stuff behind without worrying) but Brittany and I chose to take up 2 beds in a room for 6! We met an interesting girl, I think she was from the East Coast (can’t remember) but she had dinner with us! This dinner was a turning point as I discovered I loved eggplant. Later we roomed with some Europeans and a Chinese girl. We brought little padlocks to put on the lockers underneath the bunk beds so our laptops and suitcases would be safe and sound.

We were joined by our friend (incidentally, the two of them are now married), a Bay Area native, and channeled our inner Princess Diaries moment by visiting the Musée Méchanique on Fisherman’s Wharf, ate clam chowder in a bread bowl, walked the area (we did a ton of walking on this trip). We bought chocolate from Ghirardelli’s (didn’t last long) and did some window-shopping.

Checked out some gorgeous late-afternoon views of the city from Coit Tower:

The next night I had my first encounter with crab. It was delicious. Since that night, I have wanted more. Not even the lobster I had in Maine could top it (blasphemy, I know). We were there for several days, did more than I wrote about here, and ate many, many delicious meals, but I’m just going to leave you with the highlights for now. If you ever get the chance, visit this great city!

Have you been? What’s your favorite part of the city?

One Day in St. Louis

The other day my roommate and I were sitting in our rather mundane Physics class, and I had an epiphany; we had no class the next day because of registration for next semester, so I proposed that we take a mini road trip someplace not too far, yet interesting and exciting. We decided on St. Louis in large part because neither of us (at least in recent memory) had observed the monolithic Gateway Arch. After class, Willie (my aforementioned roommate) made some desperation calls to get his shift in the library covered, and we were one step closer to basking in the sheer bliss that accompanies such spontaneity!

When we arrived, we parked the car and got some much needed rest. First thing in the morning we made our way downtown to check out the arch, and I was amazed by the awesome things the morning sun was doing to it! We spent a few hours walking around the area and eventually going up into the arch, and it was all gorgeous! We then spent a few hours walking around downtown and quickly noticed how old so many buildings there seemed to be. The architecture and detailing on them was beautiful! After lunch at the hard rock cafe and a chunk of time being lost in the southern part of the city (which, by the way, held some historic-looking stately neighborhoods), we concluded that we were both sufficiently tired enough to call it a day, and began our trek

home.

The trip’s main goals were to capture some interesting photos of the city and to observe as much of it as we could in the time we allotted ourselves. Three hours of sleep in the car in a Walmart parking lot, 15 hours on the road en route to and from our destination, and a few White Castle cheeseburgers later; I feel like we succeeded.