Tara and I made a quick trip (if you can call a five-hour road trip "quick") to St. Louis over the Labor Day weekend. We visited their "historic district" (old town) along the river where they were hosting the Big Muddy Blues & Roots Festival. That was just good timing on our part. We had not originally intended to see it, but since it was free we hung out there a little bit.
When we first arrived, the Festival was just setting up, so we wandered over to see The Arch, which was cool to see close up. We didn't bother standing in line to take the little elevator up to the top though. Neither of us can really stand long lines. Besides, Tara's sister Sandi had done it before and Tara said it didn't sound like a whole lot of fun. Apparently, the elevator only fits three cramped people at a time and when you get to the top you only get to look out the little windows for a few seconds.
So, we wandered around downtown a little. But it was 95 degrees outside already (about 1:30) and weren't up for an extensive trek through the city streets in that heat. We ended up at the (air-conditioned) downtown mall where we bought some things. T-shirts, postcards, etc. You know, the required tourist purchases.
We didn't stick around for the nightlife. We were both too tired and stressed out from the day's drive, I guess.
The next day was much better. We visited the Japanese Festival at the Botanical Gardens. I think Tara said that these gardens are the largest in the country. It's a great place to visit if you ever get the chance, even if the Japanese Festival isn't going on when you visit.
But, since there was the festival, we saw a Shotokan Karate demonstration, which for me was just like watching one of my own former karate classes. The style of karate that I did was called Wado-Ryu, which apparently is 90% the same as Shotokan.
We then watched some local kids perform Suzuki-style violins and cello recitals. Tara wanted to see "how it's supposed to be done" since she once took Suzuki classes on violin as a kid. It was good, and the kids were cute.
Then Tara and I split up. I went to see the drummers. I forget what they were called, but they played various sizes and types of drums. Tara took that time to wander through more of the gardens.
And then we drove home. The End. :)