As you may have heard, Saturday was a big day here in Kentucky for fans of college basketball. For the first time ever, perennial in-state rivals Kentucky and Louisville played each other in a Final Four game.

On Saturday afternoon, A.J. and I set out around 1 o’clock for what turned out to be a lovely, and very long, walk. For much of the day, the weather was overcast and a bit cool, so we had perfect walking weather for our three-hour stroll.

Here’s where we went and a bit of what we saw:

.

we started out in a neighborhood known as Hollywood, between our neighborhood and the Univ. of Kentucky campus; nearly all the houses there are small-ish bungalows, and the streets are named after streets in Los Angeles

.

the Hollywood neighborhood contains a mix of families and UK students, and students all over downtown have been hanging painted sheets with messages for the basketball team and fellow fans (let me know in the comments if you need this one translated!)

.

The street we were on ran right into the Univ. of Kentucky campus. And so, to get to the other side, we took a stroll through the mostly empty center of campus, which I’d never actually seen before. It’s really quite lovely, with some nice old buildings, courtyards, and beautiful old trees and colorful gardens. We had fun “discovering” these buildings:

.

this building is home to the schools of architecture and interior design

.

the school of journalism

.

this building houses the offices of UK’s Graduate School

.

this is the Univ. of Kentucky’s “Main Building” (yes, that’s its actual name); this building used to have a beautiful cupola but about ten years ago, as the cupola was nearly renovated, it caught fire, so now there’s a modern-looking roof on the building

.

this building is now the headquarters of UK’s Army and Air Force ROTC programs

.

here’s another view of Barker Hall (the ROTC building) …

.

See the low building to the right of Barker Hall? According to all the various plaques we could find, this (Buell Armory, with Barker Hall, constructed around 1900) was originally a gymnasium attached to Barker Hall …

.

… but doesn’t it look like it might’ve been a carriage house?

.

right in the center of campus is this restored portion of the original tracks for the Lexington and Ohio Railroad, which were laid in 1831

.

From the center of campus, it was a very short walk (less than a block) to the epicenter of student hangouts. These restaurants and bars line two blocks of S. Limestone, and the businesses and the fans were already gearing up for the big game.

.

the view from the pedway from the center of campus to the main parking garage; the block of student hangouts starts at the burger restaurant with the blue-striped tents

.

Here are a few scenes from our walk down that very sidewalk. Bear in mind, this was still about three hours till game time:

.

.

.

do you see the TV that the Tin Roof put up in their fenced-in parking lot? it’s huge!

.

.

.

From there, we walked downtown, and then home. Because I can’t seem to resist taking photos of flowers (especially as everything is sooo beautiful this spring), here are a few things I saw on our way home:

.

.

.

.

.

When we got home from our huge walk, we sat down (ahhh) and relaxed for a while and then met some friends to walk the short distance to our neighborhood barbecue restaurant, where we ate fried pickles and then dinner and watched the game. And when it was over, we walked around the corner to our neighborhood’s new Graeter’s for some ice cream and, as it turned out, to listen to a group of four young girls who kept up a near-constant chant of “C. A. T. S. CATS! CATS! CATS!”

From there, our friends went back home, and A.J. and I walked a few blocks down Euclid Ave. to where it crosses Woodland Ave. In anticipation of the Cats’ win over Louisville, the police had blocked several blocks of both Euclid and Woodland to car traffic so that fans could celebrate in the street. (That block of Limestone you saw earlier was also, as you might imagine, closed to traffic and, after the game ended, was quickly filled with thousands of people … or so I’ve seen in photos). All along the short walk to Euclid / Woodland, fans were giving each other high-fives and hugs. When we got there, it was like a big street party: there was a DJ or a band (I couldn’t see which) out on the sidewalk, people were dancing and waving flags and taking photos of the crowd. There were even fireworks.

I will confess that we didn’t stay very long at all … just long enough to try to get a few photos, soak in a few minutes of the party atmosphere, and to say we were there. And then we walked back home; it had been a long day!

Tonight’s the championship game. Go Cats!!!!!!

.

lots of folks were partying at the intersection of Euclid and Woodland

.

(I hate to bring this up, but if you’ve seen coverage of Lexington’s unfortunate riots following the win over Louisville: these acts were confined to a single street far away from the Euclid / Woodland intersection and from Limestone. There was definitely a “just in case” police presence at Euclid / Woodland and on Limestone, but I haven’t heard of the police actually needing to do anything there … folks in these areas seemed to be feeling truly celebratory rather than destructive.)