We’ve made our way out of Minnesota. Spending a winter in the dark, cold, snowy climate just so wasn’t in the cards for us. So, we found a realtor in New Orleans and booked ourselves an apartment for six months. More on that later. For the time being, here are some thoughts on our time in Minnesota.
Downtown Minneapolis is unbelievably quiet. Yes, there are people and, yes, there are cars and, yes, there are sirens. But nothing like Chicago. We don’t think we’ve ever been in a city as quiet as Minneapolis. How much of that is due to covid and how much of that is normal is unclear.
We were shocked at the number of ground floor apartments in Minneapolis. We are used to apartment buildings where the ground floor is lobby and retail space. Not so in Minneapolis. The vast majority of apartment buildings actually have apartments on the ground floor. And, the vast majority of those ground floor apartments have outside space. And, the vast majority of those apartments with outside space have lawn furniture and decorative throw pillows and the like. And, apparently, it doesn’t all get stolen. Which seemed pretty unbelievable to us after living in Chicago for so many years where even flower pots would get stolen.
Housing in Minneapolis seems ridiculously overpriced. We (very briefly) considered buying a place there to have a “base” when we resume our travels. Until we saw the prices. And the huge maintenance fees. And remembered the snow, and the dark, and the cold.
Being in Minneapolis during the George Floyd protests was a bit surreal. We had fled Ecuador because, in part, we didn’t know if there would be social unrest due to covid. And, then we found ourselves in a city rocked by social unrest. (To be clear, the vast, vast majority of protests were peaceful.) While we were not that close to the violence, our entire neighborhood was boarded up and our apartment building even removed the exterior door handles (not sure why since all we had to do was push a button and the doors opened up).
We were surprised at the number of wild turkeys we saw on the University of Minnesota campus. They seemed to hang out there. They were skittish, but not as skittish as you would expect. Sadly, we never got a good photo.
You know how you always hear about “Minnesota nice”? Yeah, well, I think it is pretty much like “bless your heart” in the south. People just really aren’t that nice. The front desk staff at our apartment building almost always ignored us when we walked in the door, even when we would try to catch their eye to say hello. Bikers nearly knocked us over on multiple occasions. Walkers and runners traveled in groups (yes, even in the time of covid) and refused to move over. Bikers did farmer blows right in front of us (gross before the pandemic but doubly so now). That said, I do think we were pretty spoiled in Minneapolis and it was a nice place to spend a summer in the time of covid. The vast majority of offices were still closed when we left. The vast majority of people wore masks in stores. And, there just weren’t that many people out and about. If only we could have actually seen our friends (who actually are truly nice) in person….