Monday, June 20, 2011

From St. Paul to Minnehaha Falls

I THOUGHT IT WAS LITTER BUT IT WAS THE SEEDS OF THE COTTONWOOD TREES
BEING CARRIED BY COTTONWOOD FLUFF FOR MILES AROUND THE TWIN CITIES.

We've been back in Pierre, South Dakota, since Saturday evening.  So, this is a late post of our last day in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, which was spent (before seeing Erin Scwab perform Friday night) having a great lunch at a German restaurant in St. Paul and then being taken by our friend Byron on a personal tour of that city that ended at Minnehaha Park in Minneapolis.


DOWNTOWN ST. PAUL WITH ITS OVERHEAD WALKWAYS.  LIFESAVERS IN WINTER.

Minneapolis and St. Paul are beautiful, cultural cities that are a pleasure in spring and summer — except for the fact that Minnesota's [unofficial] state bird is the mosquito.  The cities are nearly impossible to endure in winter.  To help people cope with the frigid, blowy, icy, snowy cities, tubes have been built over the streets connecting one building to the next.  You can walk all over the Twin Cities' downtowns without ever going outside.

MINNESOTA STATE CAPITOL UNDERGOING REPAIRS.

St. Paul is the capitol of Minnesota, and Byron took me to see their grand capitol building.  Unfortunately, the building was overrun with red-shirted high-school junior and senior girls from Girls State — a summer leadership program sponsored by the American Legion.  They were everywhere and they seemed to be oblivious of the fact that they were not the only ones in the building.  They are there to learn about government by electing a mock government (including legislators, a governor, a lieutenant governor, etc.).  I can't imagine it works any more ineffectively than the seemingly mock "real" government.

 THE QUADRIGA CALLED "PROGRESS OF THE STATE."  MADE OF COPPER AND GILDED
IN 24-CARAT GOLD.  CURRENTLY SURROUNDED BY SCAFFOLDING.

We arrived inside the capitol just as the girls of Girls State were heading off somewhere.  So, the halls and stairways were temporarily flooded with girls in red shirts.  After waiting interminable minutes (patience, patience) for the girls to clear out, we were able to climb the stairs and explore the building in relative peace.  There was lots of restoration going on inside and out.

 CAPITOL INTERIOR WITH GIRLS STATE GIRLS ROUNDING THE STAIRS.

After escaping Girls State and the capitol building, we headed down the road to St. Paul's Cathedral, which has the feel of a European cathedral.

ST. PAUL'S IN ST. PAUL.

Minnehaha is a fictional native American woman — and the lover of Hiawatha — in Longfellow's poem, "Song of Hiawatha."  But she has become real over time with parks, counties, streets, boats, and more in Minnesota named for her.  The name has spread around the country as well.  Byron drove me all over the city of St. Paul and we then crossed the Mississippi River into Minneapolis for a quick walk around Minnehaha Park. It was warm and humid, but the falls and park were charming, although the statue of Minnehaha was not where Byron remembered it, so we never found her.

MINNEHAHA FALLS IN MINNEHAHA PARK IN MINNEAPOLIS IN MINNESOTA.

Jerry didn't join us for the sight-seeing tour.  He knows the cities quite well having spent plenty of time here while an undergrad at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, about an hour and a half away.  He did, however, grace us with his presence at lunch, which was at Glockenspiel, a German restaurant in St. Paul.

THE FACT THAT THE LETTERING WAS INCOMPLETE SHOULD HAVE BEEN A DEAD GIVE-AWAY.

Byron's original plan was for us to have lunch on a riverboat that sits moored on the river in downtown St. Paul.  But, when we got there, we discovered the River Boat Grill was closed for renovation.  Ten minutes before we arrived there — as we drove past Glockenspeil, Byron had an uh-oh moment and said, "Glockenspiel is a good restaurant, too.  Maybe I should have called ahead to see if the Riverboat Grill is open."

AT GLOCKENSPIEL FOR LUNCH.  THE RIVERBOAT'S TOILET SIGN
COULDN'T BE NEARLY AS CLEVER.

6 comments:

  1. That waterfall is so beautiful!

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  2. MofM: It was a real surprise.

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  3. Hello Mitch:
    We have much enjoyed this mini 'tour' with you and through it have experienced places which, most likely, and in all probability, we are unlikely ever to visit. St. Paul's is, as you say, very much in the tradition of European cathedrals.

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  4. Enjoyed the tour of cities I've heard about but never been to. Was aware of the overhead walkways but never seen them - what a good idea! Love the waterfall. Just think... no walkways necessary in Malaga!

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  5. I love those overhead tunnels/walkways. They are extra great when you are dragging kids through the city.
    Take care! m.

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  6. J&L: Thanks again for coming along with me. I've been enjoying it more by being able to share it with you. Even Brooklyn, New York, will be fun with you along.

    Craig: We love Minneapolis/St. Paul but oh those winters! Malaga is more like Southern California. We can manage that. And as I've mentioned, this entire trip has been even more fun and interesting for me being able to share it with you. Thanks so much.

    Mark: Those walkways would be great with kids. Easier to keep your eye on them and no worries about street traffic. Also great if you work downtown and want to go "out" to lunch. No need to lug a heavy coat around.

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