The day dawns gray and overcast. Storms and showers are predicted but, thus far, in spite of the gray skies, the streets are dry. I have planned a trip to the St. Louis Art Museum and weather permitting the zoo. They are located next to one another in a city park. If inclement weather does hit, I resolve to make things up as I go along.
Bits of blue are appearing in the sky as I wait for breakfast in the charming outdoor garden of a restaurant near the guesthouse. A light breeze creates a rustle in the leaves of the trees which shade this tranquil green oasis. The waiter is adorable, friendly, young, dark curly brown hair leading down to retro 60's sideburns. Well built without being overly muscular, his broad shoulders lead down to a tiny waist. He possesses the kind of physique young men often take for granted, before gravity comes along and does it's sinister work. He is an unexpected breakfast treat.
The sun seems to be struggling to burn off the cloud cover. I begin to think I may have to return to the guesthouse to ditch some of the rain gear I packed for the day in an overabundance of caution. The breakfast is delicious, particularly when compared to the rather tepid fair of the previous evening. An omelet composed of eggs, spinach, mushrooms and tomato topped off with three thick slices of creamy brie. The potatoes, mixed with peppers and sweet onion, show that even though St. Louis is called the "Gateway to the West", it also contains a small, slight southern sensibility.
As I am here longer and have become more familiar with the area I begin to notice more of the details which give the neighborhood it's French village feel. The red brick sidewalks and the colored shingles which form diamond shaped designs on some of the mansard roofs. There are the friezes running under the narrow eaves of the roofs created of painted wood or decorative brick. Through a wrought iron security gate you can see an open gallery running the length of one building, front to back. It creates the separation between the two flats on either side of the first floor. It also reveals a staircase leading to the flats of second floor the lush green yard sitting behind the structure. An small, empty lot nearby has been turned into a lovely, tidy garden. Small patches of lawn sit between bright plots of flowers, delineated by sinuously curving brick borders. A short wrought iron fence with a gate in it's center runs along the sidewalk. At one point, inexplicably, the sidewalk ends in the middle of a block. A rutted dirt path, now muddy due to the recent rain, carries you to the next corner.
A short bus and metro ride, the city's public transit is adequate and easy to navigate, takes me to Forest Park, the site of the 1904 World's Fair. A second bus travels through the large park to ferry passengers to various attractions there. I disembark in front of the classical, colonnaded facade of the St. Louis Museum of Art.