The hostel staff recommended the Ambassador Tour, which takes place every Saturday. The ambassador, Kevin, turned up at the hostel at 10am. Not many people had taken up the offer, with the group containing just myself, an Italian young lady and a German lad. Kevin asked us what we’d seen in Detroit and what sort of stuff we’re interested in. I was expecting to go for a walk around for an hour or so but he drove us around Detroit for about five hours. Apparently in the past some tours have ended up staying out in bars until 2am the next morning. The aim of the tours are to encourage hostel guests to see things in Detroit they may be interested in, often taking in stuff they wouldn’t otherwise have seen. The tours are funded by the hostel which is run on a charitable and educational philosophy. The ambassadors are local volunteers who are keen to show people around their city.
Kevin first took us to the Eastern Market. This is a large market selling foods, arts and crafts, plants, tat, and so on. It seems like a popular place for people to spend an hour or two on Saturdays. The area around the market appears to be mostly disused industrial buildings and many of these have been brightened up with some colourful murals. Kevin also took us to a printing gallery. Here they use old-school printing equipment, salvaged from disused Detroit buildings, to produce some really nice art. I’d love to buy a print from here but there’s no way it would get it home intact.
It was then onto an art installation. In Detroit there’s a popular attraction called the Heidelberg Project. It’s a series of decorated houses and other arty stuff that covers a couple of streets. Kevin took us to a something on a smaller scale, where rubbish has been recycled into sculptures. As he pointed out, to do this sort of thing you need space and garbage, both of which Detroit has in abundance! Next stop was an urban farm. You find these all over Detroit, set up on disused land where houses once stood. The one we visited is run by volunteers and provides healthy vegetables free of charge to families who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford such food. We spoke to a bloke who worked there and he explained the whole set-up. His passion for the whole project was very inspiring.
We then headed over to Belle Isle, the place I’d spent 15 miles walking to and from the other day. I suppose it’s all about the journey though! Kevin asked us that if we fancied getting some food. He took us to Slows Bar BQ, the place where I had possibly the finest ever chicken sandwich the other day. Without knowing it at the time I’d been in what Kevin describes as the best place for food in the whole of Detroit. Although on TripAdvisor it’s 5th out of 952 establishments.
I’d intended to go out for a drink at Nancy Whiskey’s tonight but a more pressing issue came up that took about two hours to sort out. I logged into the Avios website to double-check the details of Monday’s flight to Charlotte. Also listed were other upcoming flights. At this point I noticed that I’d dropped a bit of a bollock! While on the bus from St Louis to Chicago, one of the stops was Springfield, Illinois. Passing through Springfield I noticed lots of references to Abraham Lincoln, who was from there. On my future flight list was one from Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport which seemed a bit strange as I had no plans to visit there. Hold on a minute, I’d only gone and booked a flight from the wrong Springfield, the one in Illinois instead of Missouri! Springfields are famously common so what sort of idiot would do this? Luckily I’d booked it with airmiles which are fully refundable. Luckily again there was also availability on the flight I’d intended to get. What would have been even worse though would have been turning up at the wrong airport, being laughed at by the staff there and then charged an exuberant amount to change the flight. Slightly embarrassingly this isn’t even the first time I’ve done this. A couple of years ago I booked a flight to Jacksonville, North Carolina when I wanted to go to the one in Florida. I got away with that one too but if I’m not careful one of these days it will bite me on the backside!