Wisconsin is weird — House on the Rock

One of the things growing up in Wisconsin taught me is that Wisconsin is weird.  Come on, Wisconsin is home to at least two world famous serial killers.  Ed Gein liked to make lampshades out of human faces and cover his furniture with human skin.  Jeffrey Dahmer engaged in necrophilia and liked to keep skulls as souvenirs.  Look it up if you don’t believe me.  If that isn’t weird enough for you, the official state dance is a polka — seriously, the polka.  Wisconsin produced both Liberace and Joseph McCarthy.  Kids compete in jump rope competitions every year, hoping to earn a trip to Bloomer, the jump rope capital of the world.  While the official state beverage is milk, any true Wisconsinite will tell you that the unofficial state beverage is beer and that the unofficial state cocktail  is a brandy Old Fashioned (although, personally, I prefer a brandy slush served out of a Kemps ice cream bucket).  You won’t go to a potluck without finding a bowl of Cool Whip mixed with red Jello (often with a can of fruit cocktail mixed in for good measure).  Hunting season is a school holiday in rural areas (or, at least it used to be).  And, Wisconsinites are proud to be called Cheeseheads.  Which might just be because, at least as of a few years ago, Wisconsin was home to 7 of the top 10 drunkest cities in the country.

But, if you have any doubt about how weird Wisconsin is, just visit the House on the Rock.

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The 218 foot long infinity room at the House on the Rock with some of its 3264 windows.

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The birds of Holcombe

We recently spent 10 days in Holcombe, Wisconsin vising my parents.  There isn’t much to do in Holcombe besides boat and eat and drink.

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Wisconsin deep fried cheese curds.  Life doesn’t get much better….

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Where to eat in Minneapolis

When did Minneapolis become a foodie city?  I sure don’t know the answer to that question (when I lived there, it was all burgers and fries), but I do know that the restaurant scene has gotten really, really impressive.

So, where should you eat?

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Five days in Minneapolis

Long ago and far away when I was a but a young girl, I decided to enroll at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.  I remember being excited to move to “the big city.”  I also remember several of my friends asking if I wasn’t afraid to move to “the big city.”  And, back then — coming from a very, very small town (population well under 1000 people), Minneapolis did feel like “the big city.”  Well, let me tell you, it sure doesn’t feel that way now.  Minneapolis is a lovely place with friendly people and I highly recommend a visit, but after living in Chicago and traveling to places like Bangkok and Saigon, I no longer think of it as “the big city.”

If you do visit Minneapolis, the absolute “must do” is a trip to the sculpture garden at the Walker Art Center.  If you don’t mind a bit of a walk, it is totally walkable from the downtown hotels.  The cherry on the spoon is quintessential Minneapolis.

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The Walker Sculpture Garden.

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Two days in Dubuque

So, I know what you are thinking.  You are thinking “Dubuque?  Why in the h e double chopsticks did they spend two days in Dubuque.”  Well, there isn’t really a good answer to that.  Bottom line is we needed to stop somewhere between Kentucky and Minneapolis and, after much hemming and hawing, we decided on Dubuque.

And, I have to say, the best part of Dubuque is the stuff around Dubuque.  The stuff around Dubuque is amazing.

We loved the Mines of Spain recreation area.

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Robert on the Cedar Ridge Trail.

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Two days in Louisville

While in Cadiz, we took a few days to explore Louisville.  We were there over the 4th of July so I’m sure we didn’t see the “real” Louisville — the city was very, very quiet.  But, even taking that into account, Louisville left us feeling a little blah about the city.  (Are you getting the sense that maybe we just don’t really like the South?????  We are starting to get that feeling, with the notable exceptions of New Orleans and Key West.  But never fear, happier posts are coming soon.)

We enjoyed our distillery tours, but we’ve been on more interesting tours.  We started at Evan Williams and I thought it was a bit too cheesy, what with the videos and sound effects telling the story of how the distillery was founded.  But, Robert did get to try some moonshine there, and we both got to try a delicious bourbon ball during the tasting portion.  (And, I somehow managed not to yell at the kids — yes, kids — on the tour with us).  We also hit Peerless.  While it was interesting to hear from the owner, he sure could spin some tall tales.  And, we were sweating buckets for a large portion of the tour.  But, once again there was chocolate during the tasting portion, which made the sweating part worthwhile.  And, we learned that the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago invented brownies.  Who knew????

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Aging barrels at Peerless.

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Two Days in Nashville

So….while we were dealing with family issues in Kentucky, we managed to get a few days away to celebrate my 50th birthday.  Our options were limited, as we had to be back in Kentucky the day after my birthday.  After hemming and hawing for awhile, we ultimately settled on Nashville.  Our conclusion about Nashville?  It probably isn’t really worth a visit unless you are really into country music.  (Admittedly, our view of Nashville is no doubt driven in part by our hatred of most country music).

Let’s start with the good.  We did find a fantastic hotel that we would highly recommend:  21C Museum Hotel.  It is — I kid you not — a combination art museum and hotel.  The art in the bar was dark, dark, dark, they had good white wine, and Robert tells me the mixed drinks were nice and strong.  In other words, just the way we like it.

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The art in the bar at 21C Museum Hotel in Nashville.

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The Critters of Cadiz

We are back.  We spent roughly 2.5 months in Cadiz, Kentucky dealing with some family issues, which is why we took a break from the blog.  But, we are back in action now.

Cadiz is beautiful country and there are tons of critters there.

Pretty much every night a group of nearly tame deer would show up and patiently wait to be fed corn.  Sometimes, only a single deer showed up.

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A lone deer.

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Final Thoughts on Thailand (2019)

First, a public service announcement.  We are currently in the United States dealing with some family issues.  The blog won’t be very active until we are back on the road again.  Not quite sure when that will be, but it could be awhile.  If you want an email notification when we post new content, enter your email address in the box on the right hand side below the drawing of the half pig/half fish and above the flag that says “enter your email address” and then click on the white “follow” button.  (We promise not to spam you).

Now, on to yet another edition of final thoughts on Thailand…. Continue reading

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Eating our way through Bangkok

When we realized we were going to have another few days in Bangkok, we decided there was only one thing to do:  eat our way through the city.  Not very good for our waistlines or our wallets, but sometimes you just have to do what you just have to do.  So….we checked out the list of Bib Gourmand restaurants in Bangkok and started making plans/reservations.

For those of you not familiar with Bib Gourmand, it is a designation given by Michelin for “good quality, good value restaurants.”  The price point for a “good value” restaurant varies based on location — in Bangkok, you are supposed to be able to get a three course meal (excluding beverages) for 1000 Baht (about $31) per person (which is an insane amount of money because we regularly ate in Thailand for less than that amount of money for two people with drinks).

There are 58 Bib Gourmand restaurants in Bangkok so we obviously couldn’t try them all on this visit (but we intend to work our way through them over time….).  But, we managed to try a nice selection of cheap and less cheap places with fast casual and fancy food.  Below are the highlights from our food extravaganza.  It wasn’t really fair to compare the restaurants, as it would be like comparing apples and oranges, so we have organized them from the cheapest to the most expensive.  Continue reading

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