Mother’s Day weekend was particularly rough for me this year, not really sure why. I was glad my choir wasn’t singing in church that day, because I’m not sure I’d have been able to get through it. For those who’ve lost parents, you know some years are better than others, and there isn’t always an obvious reason why. I had a birthday later that week, and a celebration at my sister’s house, at work, and with my father and stepmother. We went to Skyline and Star Trek. They weren’t impressed. With Star Trek, that is; they go to Skyline all the time. By the time Saturday rolled around, I was worn out.
The next week was a short week for me; I had that Friday off. A friend was visiting from Colorado, and I was off to pick her up from the airport. Because of the jet lag, I kept our plans for the rest of that day simple and easy. I had to get home to get fitted for my knee brace. It was a little large, but the next size down was too small. I don’t know if it’s stretched or I’ve shrunk a little (really hope the latter), but my brace is now very much too big. Still helps, though.
After getting fitted, I drove us to a couple parks in town. Ault Park first, then a brief run through Eden Park. There’s a bit more green here than in Colorado, particularly this time of year, so Ault Park didn’t disappoint.
Memorial Day Weekend is when the summer really kicks off here. Yes, I know summer’s official start is in June. Beside the point. The first major festival of the season – Taste of Cincinnati, once the largest such festival in the country, happens that weekend, and has for the last 35 years. Six blocks of food booths, four different live-music venues, and beer, always beer. Taste of Cincinnati is about food. And lots and lots of walking. So, the brace came just in time.
First, we did another touristy thing – we rode the ducks. It was entertaining listening to the visitors from all over the place – including Bavaria. Learned an alternate word for goodbye – Tschüs. They weren’t the first, but the Germans, particularly from Bavaria, were the biggest immigrant group to move here. Can’t speak German to save my life, but I can pronounce the heck out of it. Years of vocal training probably helped. Neither here nor there. Tschüs is pronounced chuuss, approximately. Less formal than auf weidersehen, anyway.
Next, to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, back on the other side of the river, just across the Roebling bridge. Finally, up the hill to Taste of Cincinnati, where we ate a few horribly fattening things and fought crowds. By then, we were a bit too tired to sit and listen to any of the bands. Sad, really. I usually spend hours there doing just that. The food and beverages are secondary.
I did a bit of driving around town, showing some of the best places to be. Even went up to Mt Adams, and a parking lot near Rookwood Pottery. Great views of the eastern side of downtown from there. I don’t really remember what we did after. Probably headed back to recover from being on our feet all day.
Sunday, there was the Butterfly Show at Krohn Conservatory in Eden Park. Krohn was packed. Holiday weekend, so I wasn’t too surprised, even though I hadn’t seen it that crowded before. Again, I blame the gorgeous weather. No real time to linger like I’ve done in the past, because of the crowd and the heat. I did manage to get a few interesting shots, though, and even had a few hitchhikers on me.
After, we headed for the art museum. By that point, after walking around Krohn, and walking back to the car, and still not completely recovered from Saturday, when we drove up to the art museum, we paid for parking. It’s not a long walk from the little lot just outside of the museum, but it was only $4, and we were worn out. Blew through that pretty quickly, then off to dinner at Skyline. Seriously, try it. Make a chili dip, with Skyline, cream cheese and regular cheese. It’s awesome.
After Skyline, I found our way to Mt Echo park in the western part of the city. Not an easy thing to do, since the route I know is no longer there. Something about the bridge being unsafe and likely to collapse any moment. It’s being replaced. Mt. Echo is a great place to get a view of the city’s skyline. After a while there, we wandered downtown to Bicentennial Commons to walk along the river. At that point, I’m not really sure how we were both upright, frankly, let alone how I was still able to drive. Stick shift – I need both legs and both arms.
Then we were hungry again and headed for Outback, the one national chain we patronized the whole weekend. It was nearly 8, so no trouble getting a seat; we only had to wait 15 minutes. My food was just fine, but her steak was incorrect not once, but twice. The first time, her steak was medium-rare like mine. She prefers it medium-well. The waiter took it back and brought out another about ten minutes later. This one is best described as a charcoal briquette. I wanted to go back and find the chef, tell him to get over himself and learn to cook properly. But no, the waiter, then the manager, talked her into giving it one more try. They also took it off the bill. That helped, that they tried to make it right.
Monday, the zoo. Once the second-best zoo in the country, behind San Diego, we’ve dropped on the list a bit. Not because the zoo couldn’t keep up, but because others made many improvements of their own. I don’t know if it made a difference, but although Monday was a holiday, I assumed there would be fewer people just because there would still be those who had to work. There was also a threat of thunderstorms that never materialized. If attendance was down, I can’t imagine how busy it was Saturday and Sunday.
We were there for quite some time, on the warmest day of the weekend. We left about an hour before closing, so we beat the crowd. We had a great, shaded, parking spot near the pedestrian bridge from the zoo, too, so we didn’t have far to walk, something becoming more and more important each day. I’d planned to go to Spring Grove Cemetery after the zoo, but it was after five. I drove around the city a bit, showing parts I hadn’t shown her before, until finally, I decided I would show her the outside at the least.
What I didn’t consider was the day – it was Memorial Day, and this was a cemetery with veterans from wars from the Revolutionary War (transferred from another location) to present. It was open late.
We drove around a bit, seeing the beautiful landscaping Spring Grove is famous for. I pointed out notable headstones (McAlpin, Shillito, Pogue – all former department stores, for instance), and the ones in German, which I find fascinating, but didn’t seem to be of particular interest to my friend. She took pictures of some of the chapels, mausoleums, and the more intricate headstones and monuments, mostly from the car. It really was a long weekend of walking.
That’s pretty much why I didn’t post last week, and the two weeks prior to that. In case you were wondering.