Wednesday, July 8, 2015


We left Wall at 7:45 (MDT) and headed east for Minneapolis. Knowing that we were moving to Central Time, we had been working on getting around early for the past few days.

We chose Sioux Falls for a break in the drive because it was about the mid-point, it has a few restaurants that sound interesting and we found the Falls Park to be appealing. Additionally, each summer, sculptures are positioned around the city with viewers being encouraged to vote for their favorite. Our viewing came from the car and they looked quite good. Falls Park provided a peaceful place to observe the falls of the Big Sioux River and enjoy a picnic at one of the tables. Sioux Falls provided a very nice break and seemed worth a longer stop. 
Upper Sioux Falls 
More of Sioux Falls
Pat & Bill at Falls Park
Some "Light" equipment in convoy on  I90
A typical oasis sheltering a house in the plains
Silo facility along the highway
We arrived in Minneapolis in the early evening. After settling into our room had dinner in the hotel restaurant. The chef prepared the cod and walleye in excellent fashion and the French wine was a great complement to both dishes. The bread pudding was traditional and excellent.  
Bread Pudding!!
Walleye (a flaky lake fish) with potatoes and risotto
We needed a walk after dinner and stopped at Whole Foods to pick up a few breakfast items and then continued on for a view over the Mississippi from the Hennepin Avenue Bridge.
Bill hanging at the Hennepin Bridge
July 4 is a very quiet day in Minneapolis. Many locals travel to the lakes for the long weekend. We walked along Nicolette Mall, a street lined with shops and restaurants and the LARGE Target Store. The Target Headquarters are located here. At the end of the mall we crossed over to Loring Park and across the Irene Hixon Whitney Footbridge to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden where a Rabbit on a Bell and a Cherry in a Spoon attract a lot of attention. 
Does your rabbit jump over bells?
Cherry in a spoon
Nearby is the Walker Art Center. The Pop Art collection was the highlight of the galleries. It starts with a definition by  Richard Hamilton in 1957:   "Pop Art is: Popular (designed for a mass audience), Transient (short term solution), Expendable (easily forgotten), Low Cost, Mass produced, Young (aimed at youth), Witty, Sexy, Gimmicky, Glamorous, Big Business."

Food Scape by ErrĂ³, 1964
Mao created from many little Mao's, Thomas Bayrle 1966
We returned through Loring Park along the Loring Greenway to Nicolette Mall for the free bus to Washington Avenue.  

Is this a fountain or a very large dandelion blossom?
A short walk across the Mississippi River via the Hennepin Bridge and Nicolette Island for lunch at Vic’s where we enjoyed the Flatbread Blue (Flatbread with Blue Cheese, Chicken, Pine Nuts and Tomato) and a Bison Burger accompanied by a Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir. We crossed back over the River by another bridge, stopping to view the Saint Anthony Falls the old Stone Arch Bridge (former railway bridge and only Stone Arch Bridge to span the Mississippi River) before returning to our hotel. 

St. Anthony Falls  on the Mississippi in MInneapolis
Stone Arch Bridge around the corner and over the river
Dinner?? A snack in the room with Pork Pate with peppercorns and Rosemary on olive oil Bruschettini, some veggies and dip and a bottle of Vino Nobile de Montpulciano. 

Fireworks!! We walked down to the river and waited on the Stone Bridge with hundreds of others for the Fourth of July Fireworks.  We met people from St Paul, Minneapolis and China. Promptly at 10PM the show started. The biggest reaction came when the smiley faces appeared in the sky. A good show and as usual, after any such event, it took a while to make our way off the bridge and back to the hotel. 

Minneapolis Skyline before the fireworks
Just a sample of the Minneapolis July Fourth celebration
Sunday we visited The Mill City Museum. This tour focuses on the history of Minneapolis and the the flour industry here. The museum is built in the the remains of the old Washburn Mill (Washburn was the predecessor to Gold Medal). The mill was mostly destroyed once by explosion from the flour dust (in 1878) and again by fire in 1991. The mill could produce 2 million pounds of flour in one day.  Part of the tour takes place inside the freight elevator that is set up with bench seats. More or less on 8 floors of the grain elevator tower, the elevator stops and part of the story of the flour processing is revealed. Very informative. And creative. ...Photos not allowed on the tour, only in the museum...

Thresher made more than threshers
Later, off to the Mall of America. We were a little disappointed. It seems more like an amusement park with 3 levels of large & small stores around it. Mind you we have visited equally large (larger?) shopping centers in Asia so maybe we are just hard to impress. We did have lunch at Tucci Benucch, Italian salad along with Pasta Carbonara (with a sunny side up egg), Arrabbiata with thick spaghetti noodles, and a bottle of Chianti Classico and Pat bought a pair of Merrill flip flops.

Above and below: highlights of the Mall of America

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