|Like Pittsburgh and Detroit I recently visited, St. Louis had its peak in the 1950s. Since, it has lost half of its population. The Arch was built as a symbol of what St. Louis was capable of doing and present a brilliant future. Yet, despite some efforts, the city is still struggling. Hopefully for the population, they have their sports teams and beer (St. Louis is home of the famous Budweiser).|
I had to stop in St. Louis because it
was like a missed connection. Back in 1997, I was at my last session
at the university, bored and tired, and I decided to visit a friend
in St. Louis area. It was my first vacation on my own ever, my first
plane flight too. And I caught a virus in the plane... 24 hrs after
my arrival in St. Louis, I was sick like a horse and spent my entire
week of vacation in my hotel room, drinking milk shakes. Yet, it
didn't discourage me from travelling again! But it was a joke to say
I had spent a week in the city and I had visited nothing... I hadn't
even saw the Arch! Now the situation is corrected.
Just like for my other stops in Canada
and USA, I won't pretend I fully explored the city... but I did see
what most tourists visit and a few other things. Thus, I can now say
I visited the city.
Besides personal vengeance on destiny,
I also needed to be in St. Louis to visit the Cahokia Mounds.
Certainly not the most spectacular site... but a very important one
to understand what was here before the arrival of the Europeans...
and that civilization existed before Columbus. I'll see plenty more
pre-Columbian sites while in Mexico and Central America, but this one
is very North which makes it special.
Yes, I've seen the Arch from every
angle and I climbed it. Even if it was a terrifying moment up there
(and the ride up wasn't fun either), I did face my fears and pushed
my boundaries a bit more. Of course, it's THE touristic thing to do
in St. Louis... but touristic attractions are there for a reason, and
it's not just to withdraw money out of your pocket... it's because
they represent something worth seeing or experimenting.
Downtown St. Louis is relatively new,
except for a few old structures. But on my locations, like the
Renaissance and the Sheraton hotels, they wanted to give a very old
look... by doing some trompe-l'oeil paintings throwing us back to the
Roman times, as if they wanted to recover a form of glory they lost
in the last 50 years or so.
It was a nice stop for the reasons above, but if I hadn't had to come for the UNESCO site nearby, I could have skipped it.