Day 21 – Winona to Minneapolis & a Juicy Lucifer at Hell’s Kitchen

Waking up in Winona, it was still overcast and raining, and after breakfast at the hotel, we pushed on with our next part of the trip, to Minneapolis. Again the scenery was extremely green and pretty and our route took us along US61 which runs north all along the Mississippi River, giving us lots of opportunities to spot the river between the trees. I also got quite into taking pictures of the heavy weather, as you can see below!
We booked a decent hotel in Minneapolis (meaning more expensive than normal) and also had to get valet parking for the night, but it was in the town centre so everything was within walking distance. We were there just after 12, parked the car and walked to the Sculpture Garden via Loring Park. The Sculpture Garden was really good, and after that we walked past the basilica towards the river and along the river to the Stone Arch Bridge, crossing the river to the other side. This forms part of a historic route and we got lots of pictures along the way. We also happened upon their baseball stadium, The Target Center, where the local team was playing the Boston Red Sox and we could see the crowd and feel the atmosphere. What is interesting about Minneapolis is that practically all of downtown is connected with a Skyway System, enabling people to walk around easily in winter. It is of course not unique in North American cities, but here it is very noticeable. It is hard to believe the place gets that cold when you’re there in summer temperatures! We also came across a Masonic Temple; quite an impressive building even though it isn’t used as a temple anymore!
After walking along the river we made out way back to the hotel via Hell’s Kitchen and stopped for some food and beer. It was handy staying within walking distance of the town so we could have a few drinks without worrying about driving. Brian had the Juicy Lucifer, which is of course a play on the Juicy Lucy, supposedly invented in Minneapolis, where the cheese is inside the burger. We were there for happy hour, which meant some food was on happy hour as well, so I had some very good cheese curds and pulled pork nachos – I lot of which I had to take home as I couldn’t possibly have eaten all of it! Brian had tater tots with his burger which were very good as well. They also had wine on their happy hour list and for a change it was actually drinkable. I’ve really been struggling to find decent wine to drink here, which is a bit of a dilemma as I can only drink so much beer before I’m fed up, and drinking spirits here is not only very expensive but also dangerous! We were so stuffed (and beered and wined) that we made our way back to the hotel for a very early night!
Things I learned today: You do occasionally get acceptable wine in America! Also, the more expensive hotels aren’t really THAT much better than the budget options we’ve been staying in.

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