Minneapolis

I loved Minneapolis. On the two and a half hour drive from Minneapolis to Winona, I tried to decide exactly why I liked Minneapolis so much. There was no one thing that really swept me off my feet- no one neighborhood that I fell in love with, no particular perk of the city that won me over. Still, there wasn’t much I didn’t like about it.

The overall vibe of the city was just really good. It was really cool but didn’t feel at all pretentious or overly full of itself. Each little neighborhood has a sort of central gathering place- an ice cream shop, antique store, and a corner store – or some other pairing of a couple interesting little shops grouped together. I loved the community vibe that created- which isn’t always easy to do in a bigger city. I loved that the downtown was a real downtown- big buildings, lots of people bustling around, a little intimidating. All the things a big city downtown should be. I liked that even in the summer, the nights are cool. I liked the lakes. I liked the people, the coffee shops I visited, the selection of independent bookstores- it all just felt very comfortable to me. I’m not sure how long it’ll be before I am there again, but I feel like I’ll definitely be back.

Now that I’m looking at my pictures, I took almost no pictures in Minneapolis for some reason. Oh well, enjoy a couple random pictures anyway.

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I promise there’s coffee beneath all that whipped cream.

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A cute little alleyway.

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Feelin traveler-y

 

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Denver & South Dakota

I hadn’t been to Denver for probably ten years, and the last (and first) time I went was with my Grandmother. The experience this time was a little bit different. I got into Denver in the early afternoon, and spent some time roaming around different neighborhoods. that afternoon was not particularly fun, but I think it had more to do with me than it did the city.

Traveling, especially less luxurious traveling alone, requires a certain kind of mindset. It requires you to be flexible, to be creative in your exploring, and it requires you to be positive. For that afternoon, I sort of fell out of that traveling mindset. I was tired, Denver felt bland and uninteresting, and I was craving private space. It was a little frustrating, but luckily I woke up the next morning with my head in a better place.

the second day in Denver was fun. I wandered the 16th street mall, people watched, and then ended up at a Colorado Rockies baseball game at Coor’s Field. The baseball game was a lot of fun- and the Rockies won, so that made it even more satisfying.

The next day I headed up to South Dakota, where I visited the Crazy Horse monument (which is still in the process of being built), and Mount Rushmore. The idea of carving people’s faces into mountains is a strange one to me, but I appreciated the historical significance of both places. After a touristy morning, I decided to get away from everything for a little bit. I hung out by the water on Horse Thief Lake – reading my book, taking a little nap. It was very quiet and peaceful, and made me much happier than being surrounded by tourists with cameras clutching at their overpriced souvenirs.

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I stayed just outside of a Rapid City, so the next day I was tasked with driving across South Dakota to Minnesota. It was an uninteresting drive for the most part. I stopped at this place called Wall Drug – supposedly a semi-famous place in Wall, SD? It was incredibly touristy, but still nice to look around. They had everything from gold panning go fresh house made donuts and five cent coffee. And they had a cute door, so I was won over despite the touristy feel.

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I stayed outside of Northfield and got impressively deep sleep for being in the back of my car. It was a cool, cloudy morning which allowed me a few extra minutes of sleep since I wasn’t woken up by the sun or heat. This morning, I walked around downtown Northfield a little bit. It was a very cute little town – very picturesque and old fashioned feeling.

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Today, I’m heading into Minneapolis. I’m incredibly excited to be back in a real city. I definitely thrive on the big-city feel, and Wyoming & South Dakota have definitely made me feel out of my element. Just two more stops before I’m back in Madison, WI.