3 Jun 2013--Spent the day (about 8 1/2 hours mostly walking along) in Louisville on Sunday and had a great day. We could definitely live here; seems like it is made with young people and tourists in mind. Lots to see and do.
We started at Churchill Downs, the home of the Kentucky Derby, which we just watched when we were home and at Marie's house. Fun Fact: The Derby is the oldest continuously held sporting event in the US. Started in 1874.
We saw lots of limousines throughout the day, not just here. Don't know who was in them or why, but probably saw at least half a dozen out on the streets. We weren't really interested in the museum, so we went inside to the welcome center and then on to the actual races.
Of course the Kentucky Derby extravaganza is known for the hats the ladies wear to it, so I noticed this 1st lady walking down the street, but the lady in the 2nd pic I asked to pose...she was from Illinois and was given the hat by her husband for their 1st trip here. In the 3rd pic are 3 ladies in the gift shop who I also asked to pose after they told me they were getting the hats for a wedding they were going to. The one on the left is actually from Cape Cod and the other 2 are from New Jersey.
I look pretty dumb in the 1st 2 pics here, but I thought Cathy looked great and I have a certain flair in the last pic! haha
Inside the racing grounds...look how muddy the field is.
We only paid for "general admission" tickets (ground level), but I talked the usher into letting me go up for a video to the more expensive seats...better view overall. haha
Assessing the field, getting an "up close" look as they prepare the horses.
Sent Cathy up to make a $2.00 bet on the #1 horse, "Special Gift", in the 2nd race. Liked the name even though she was going off with 12-1 odds.
And they round the bend, coming home...where is Special Gift?
Well, we only lost $2.00 and it was fun. haha Look how muddy the horses and jockeys are.
We only stayed for the one race cause there was lots to do ahead. We were headed for the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum when we saw this memorial park along the way. It is about 2 blocks long and along the entire length of it are these stones documenting the arrival of slaves up to and past the Civil Rights Movement. At one end is this row of pictures showing accomplished African Americans.
So you walk along, stopping to read each stone marker, until you get to the other end of the park and experience the odd recognition that what you are seeing is this massive statue dedicated to "Our Confederate Dead". Seems like they are a little confused here. Wouldn't you think these memorials would be in 2 different parks?
So on to the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. Only after we paid did they tell us we couldn't take any pictures of the actual factory (that drives me crazy and we wouldn't have gone), but the little museum was alright so it was fun anyway. The bat outside is too big to get a good pic of, so I took a pic of a postcard so you could see Cathy in the 2nd pic. The 3rd pic is called the "signature" wall. Signatures of all the pro ball players that use the Louisville Slugger and the year they signed their contract with the bat maker. (I loved Yaz!)
The 1st Slugger was made in 1884 by a company that used to make churned butter (see Cathy-haha). It was made for the man below whose nickname was the Louisville Slugger, so that's where the name comes from.
A lathe machine that used to make the bats, and some fun facts. That's a lot of bats in a year!
The 1st Derek Jeter pic for Kristine.
David Ortiz and Jeter both have their bats made here. Hitting "lefty" with Ortiz's bat, righty is Jeter's.
Babe Ruth put notches on his bat (see 2nd pic) for every home run he hit with it. And along with him, over 80% of all Hall of Famers used the Louisville Slugger!
Cathy is holding one of the mini-bats they gave us after the tour of the factory, and that is me with Jeter.
Lots of info in the museum, including how they bore what they call the "billets" before they are cut down into bats.
The had a room of Lego displays of both stadiums and players. Can you imagine the attention to detail and patience these would take?
A Lego of Jeter for Kristine!
Each bat has a "knob" on the top of it that is ultimately cut off, but it is there so that the lathe doesn't grip the bat while being spun. This is a "Jeter" bat, and I got one of the "removed knobs" for Kristine.
We bought this foam ball. It is about the size of a pimple ball or the pink ball we grew up with and used to play "bar" with, so we can use it for our next "Annual Ball Game" when we come home again. I will take Kristine's "knob" with us too!!!
The Slugger factory is downtown, so we didn't have to walk that far to get to the "happening" parts of town.
We stopped at the Visitor's Center and said "Hi" to the Colonel.
And as we started out we walked down this street where I could see some stuff in the distance that turned out to be penguins atop a building, and also in a doorway, with a big statue of David out front of the building and whoever that other guy is supposed to be. It was when I was looking up at the penguins that I noticed the chubby guy with the loin cloth on standing in a 3rd floor window. Too funny! We couldn't figure out what all this was about, but would find out later, so we will come back to it.
Throughout the downtown area, in no particular pattern, are lots of these bats and bases with the names of Hall of Famers on them...they all used Louisville Sluggers, but I don't know if the company paid for this or the city.
I just put these pics up because I love how skinny these 2 buildings are. Reminds me of Boston.
Walking along we come to an open space that leads us down to the river and this statue of George Clark, youngest brother of William Clark of "Lewis and Clark" fame. He was the one who led the fight against the Indians and pushed to develop this area to increase commerce along the River.
At the far end of the park is a statue of "York", who was a slave to William Clark and also went on the expedition.
We have been in cities that have painted cows and pigs and now this one...horses! All over downtown and very pretty. Each one is dedicated to a Kentucky Derby winner. These were commissioned by the city in what it calls it's "Gallopalooza", Louisville's sidewalk derby.
We initially couldn't figure what these metal structures were that are also throughout the city in different shapes and sizes. Clearly "art" was intended, but we didn't get it till we saw some with bikes actually attached. The one with the rolling head on the ground cracks me up.
And down to the "4th Street Live" section of town...definitely hopping!!! haha Lots of restaurants, bars and shopping!
It started raining just as we got here so we stopped for dinner...that is Cathy beyond the umbrella.
With the rained stopped and done eating, we walked around a bit more to see what we could before leaving. Here is the City Hall and a statue of Jefferson, the former state Governor. This county was named for him.
And the city was named for Louis XVI, also on the same block.
Love the train at the top of City Hall.
Along with these animals on the far right side of the building.
Heading back to the car to go home, we saw this limo...all beads!
And it was right outside where the statue of David was, so we were talking out loud trying to figure out what was going on here when a passerby stopped and told us this building was a restaurant/museum, and the best part was that the museum was free.
So in we go...check out the deer hanging in the bird cage...bizarre?
But this was the best. Down the hall, where the elevators are, as you turn in and face this wall there are these letters dropping...filming me filming it and watching Cathy bop up and down to keep the letters from falling. Too funny!
Most of you probably don't remember but when we were in Ohio last October we crossed over into Kentucky, over the Ohio River, and went to a couple beautiful churches over there. Well, Indiana also borders Kentucky with the Ohio River running through, so we drove down to the bridges to cross over and back just to say we did it! haha Looking at the map, the bridge on the right is called the Big Four Railroad Bridge. It was used by the railroads from 1895 till 1969, but now it is a walking bridge where you can walk from one side to the other, and lots of people do. Sort of like walking the Sugar Bowl at Castle Island back in Boston.
These are all pics of either the walking bridge or looking down river from the walking bridge. The whole length of the river here is a huge park...there was a free concert going on as we walked along the bridge.
Cathy was taking a "panoramic" picture for the 1st time with our new phone and this happened. Notice my arm and hand all by itself in the 1st pic! haha Sort of creepy!
Louisville is a great town!!! To think that 2 days before we were underneath the city ziplining in a cavern and then this day going to Churchill Downs, the Louisville Slugger place and then walking downtown and along the river all in one place!!! I would put it at the top of any list of all the cities we have been to!
Went to Ft Knox yesterday and the Jim Beam Distillery today...blog to follow, and then we leave for Nashville in the morning...whew!