In the morning we reviewed our options and decided to not go back into Chicago after all. It is a bit of a schlepp to get into town and there wasn’t anything that we specifically wanted to go back to see (though I’m sure there’s loads we could be looking at if we stayed longer). We decided to rather head on towards Madison, Wisconsin’s state capital and another city on a lake, or lakes as it happens! Madison is often called ‘The City of Four Lakes’ and it is a very pretty place.
On the way to Madison we took a detour past Lake Geneva as my guidebook suggested. As it was a lovely day and a weekend the town was absolutely rammed and we ended up just driving through and taking some pictures. We also saw the most sports car and soft topped cars that I’ve ever seen in one day! I got hungry on the road and insisted on stopping at McDonald’s as they’ve been doing Sirloin Third Pound burgers and I HAD to try one. I haven’t had McDonald’s in MANY years but this burger was actually pretty good, with mushrooms, grilled onions and cheese.
As we drove into Madison, we saw signs for the Brat Fest , and after some research it turns out that they have the world’s largest Brat Fest in Madison and we arrived just in time! Brat is of course not a naughty child, but short for Bratwurst and Brats are famous in the area, though Wisconsin is particularly famous for its cheese – more about that later! First we had to check in though, and this was the first time me heart really sank when I saw the place I’d booked…I couldn’t even figure out where to check in! I really should have taken a picture of the place but was too worried at that point! It turned out to be not a bad place in the end and very clean so we didn’t have a bad stay.
We decided to explore Madison before going to the Brat Fest and it was a lovely day for walking around and enjoying the town. Apart from all the lakes, Madison also has a university and the town was quite busy, but with a laid-back feel that I really liked – if I was a student I would have loved studying there! As Madison is the state capital it has a capitol building which offered some good photo opportunities, though the capitol is by far the biggest building in the place! Madison has a kind of small town feel even though it is quite a big city (the second largest in the state). Madison has been ranked the best place to live in the USA before, and it known for being friendly. Everyone we’ve met so far in America has been very polite and friendly – even in New York so far, which is a nice surprise! Brian had a Five Guy burger in Madison that tasted really good as well!
After exploring Madison we drove to the Brat Fest but the amount of cars driving in and the massive crowd meant that we decided to not bother (combined with the fact that I probably wouldn’t have had room for a Brat anyway!). At this point Brian made an illegal turn and was pulled over by a cop – our first time in America! Fortunately we got away with only a warning but I was very stressed for a bit there! We found a local bar, Licari’s Tavern, instead (with some hard drinking locals!) and had a couple of drinks – and of course I had to try out deep fried cheese curds with ranch dressing, which were amazing!
Highlight of the day: Cheesecurds!
Things I learned today: Obey the traffic laws!

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