Friday, October 10, 2014

Summer 2014- Part 3: Being Tourists

Our initial plan for our 5-day stay at Waunakee was to visit the International Crane Sanctuary, a cheese factory (of course!), the University of Wisconsin, Whitewater, for that's where my bro teaches, Milwaukee, for that's where my hubby went to on his first business trip back in 1996, and the very famous Capitol in Madison. Included in all this was to check out some German food, for Wisconsin has a long German history- German immigration into Wisconsin happened in the period between 1845 to 1890; and who wouldn't want wurst (bratwurst and currywurst are my favorites) and some German potato pancakes! Above all, our main plan was to just chill with family, and hold, squeeze and eat up the new baby. Err, OK, that last bit didn't sound quite right- but you get the gist I hope!


Hubby wanted to see and show us the hotel he stayed in, the restaurant where he had butter burgers for the very first time, and the office he worked at back when he visited Milwaukee. Of the three, we couldn't find the office- looks like that place is now a medical facility. It was a nice walk, rather, drive down memory lane for the hubby.

That's where hubby had butter burgers for the very first time

The hotel (the room is on the first floor, behind the tree on the right)

As we were driving, we saw this huge body of water, a dome, flags, and a lot of people. It was the Veteran's Park right by Lake Michigan. Looked very inviting, and so we thought we might as well check it out. It was lovely! The weather that day was gorgeous, the lake looked beautiful with the lovely blue sky above, and there was a gentle warm breeze blowing. There were kids rollerblading, moms walking with their babies in strollers, couples holding hands and just strolling, people trying to fly big, colorful kites; I say trying because there wasn't much wind, really, and so half the time the kites were landing onto the ground. As we were walking, enjoying the atmosphere, we saw this big group of people on segways, going around the park, and it sure seemed like fun. We spotted the bike, skates, and segway rental place and decided to rent a surrey bike, a quadracycle, and cycle around on the lakefront. It was SO FUN!

What about lunch, you ask? Well, that was the day my bro got us those butter burgers for breakfast- so we were very full, and therefore skipped lunch. We ate some ice cream, and drove back to Waunakee. All in all, it was a fun outing to Milwaukee.

Posing with statue of Gen. Douglas MacArthur

Surrey Bike- FUN! 

The Capitol: 

What an impressive building! The Capitol dome- supposedly the only granite dome in the United States, rises to a height of over 200 ft, and has a dazzling bronze statue, "Wisconsin," right on the top. I tried to click a panoramic view of the beautiful ceiling that you see as soon as you enter the first floor rotunda, but now that I look at it, I feel that you have got to go there to really see and feel the beauty yourself. The 43 varieties of stone from all over the world, the hand-carved furniture, and the lavish glass mosaic are simply magnificent. Check out this  Virtual Reality Tour (ref: Those court officials who work there sure have beautiful offices!!

The Capitol 
A glimpse of the inside
The statue of Wisconsin atop the Capitol Dome

We toured the Capitol on the day we visited Fromagination, the place with the gazillion varieties of cheese. Downtown Madison seemed pretty decent, and after walking all over deciding where to eat lunch, we finally ended up going to Noodles & Company and ate pasta/noodles! Nothing Wisconsin about it at all, huh? But you know what, we don't have it here in Seattle, and believe it or not, we thought it was pretty darn good! Either that, or we were very hungry..... ;)

Mac & Cheese with meat balls @Noodle & Co. 

University of Wisconsin, Whitewater: 

When my bro went to WSU, Pullman, I thought that it was such a lovely little college town. When he started teaching at Gonzaga University, Spokane, I thought wow, what a nice place to be. And now, when I saw UW, Whitewater, I thought to myself, ooh, this is really awesome! It takes about 50 minutes from Waunakee to get to Whitewater, and I quite liked the drive. I especially loved it as we entered the town, because it reminded me of the Air Force camps we lived in back while growing up in India- similar look and feel to the place. The building where my bro's office is located is very new, and looks really good. His office is very nice too. They just need to get a proper nameplate for him, though! ;) I felt proud of my little brother, now a prof! After the little college tour, we went to a nearby park, and had chai that my s-i-l had got in a thermos. It was a quick picnic of sorts, and enjoyable.

Nice new building

On our way back home, we decided to pick up some dinner from this New Orleans take out place that my bro was raving about. Their menu sounded really good- jambalaya, gumbo, étouffée, po'boy sandwiches, sweet potato fries, sweet potato pecan pie, etc. *Slurp* I got the shrimp étouffée that they claim is very very hot- and I was stumped, because it WAS in fact very very hot! And extremely delicious. My daughter got the fried cod po'boy sandwich, and I took a bite, and thought, dang, I should have got that! The sweet potato pecan pie was a tad bit too sweet for my liking, but still pretty good. My only complaint for this place is that their portions are very little, and you'd need at least two sides to really feel comfortably full.

So there, out of the 5 touristy things that we planned, we managed to check off 3. We somehow couldn't try any German food. Ah, but wait- my bro and I had a brat each at Costco! I'm telling ya, that brat was tasty!! Hey, but we did spend high quality time with family, and that is the best part of the trip.

P.S.: No, we didn't eat up the baby!!

Just one last part, and I'll wrap up my mini-travelogue.... coming up soon! 

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