Brisbane, QLD

Sunday, August 7, 2011


We arrived in Minneapolis in the afternoon. It is a big city with many office towers. Most people commute to the city to work from outlying suburbs. There are not many people in the streets. There are many internal walkways between buildings so that people can get from one end of the street to the other without going out into the weather, which is freezing cold in winter.
But this is summer and there is no one on the footpath/sidewalk. It was eerie a bit like a ghost town after Chicago and New York. There were a lot of cars on the highways coming and going from the city.
There are covered shopping malls but we were staying in the business district.

The next morning we were taken on a tour of the twin towns: Minneapolis and St Paul. Two towns that have grown together side by side and are now like one big city. The University campus was very pretty and historic. From the campus you can see downtown Minneapolis.

St Paul has the most beautiful leafy suburbs with big houses. There are some Victorian mansions too.

St Paul also boasts of having the most distinctive cathedral in USA.  Inspired by French Renaissance Architecture it was designed by Masqueray and completed in 1915. Yet it looks like it has been here since the middle ages.

It had many sculptures and stained glass windows. It was very beautiful.

The Capitol building. St Paul is the capital of Minnesota but Minneapolis is the largest city. While we were there we heard the sad news that the Minnesota government had run out of money so public servants weren't getting paid and were likely to lose their jobs.

We visited the Minneapolis Sculpture garden. There were many sculptures and a green house. The most famous sculpture is Claes Oldenburg's "Spoonbridge and Cherry." It was huge and very different.

We were dropped at 'The Mall of America" for 4 hours (shop til you drop). The only thing we needed were shoes. We were amazed at the size of this shoe shop. Rows and rows of shoes as far as you could see. Bill bought a pair of dress shoes and a pair of sneakers/trainers. I bought a pair of sneakers.

Neither Bill nor I are avid shoppers and we wondered how we would use the time. However, it went quickly as there was a lot to see in the biggest mall in America. We had lunch overlooking the fun park in the middle of the mall.

Three floors and acres and acres of shops (but no pharmacy or grocery store which we needed). Everything is cheaper in America than Australia and members of our tour group bought up big. They had to buy extra suitcases and the bus was bursting at the seams for the rest of the trip.

It was back to the hotel for a quick shower and change and then back on board for a dinner on a paddle steamer (replica) trip down the Mississippi River.

By now we had made friends with everyone on the tour. We were mostly Aussies. Kiwis (N.Z.) and one couple of Brits. We all got on well and had lots of laughs.We especially enjoyed the company of Helen and John from Tasmania.
We came back to the pier just as the sun was setting after a rain squall. We fell into bed totally exhausted from enjoying ourselves all day. Bill called it a bootcamp tour. If we groaned when the guide said, "Bags out at 6:30" she would laughingly say, "You are not on vacation but on a tour." We didn't mind because we were seeing so much and having fun.


  1. Delightful photos of my "beloved" MSP - however, strange that in all your photos hardly a person to be seen?????
    The place was packed when I visited on many occasions - I wonder where the population disappeared to when you visited?
    Still, people or no people, I LOVED MSP!
    Colin (HB)

  2. Seems odd no one was about, did you ever find out where everyone was, I wonder!
    Looks awesome that shopping, must be a bit hard to choose what too buy if indeed it's necessary. I am myself not a great shopping person either.

  3. Diane, thanks for the nice photos tour of Minneapolis and St Paul. The photos of the cathedral and the gardens are my favorite. I have heard of the huge mall and I assume it is paradise to people who like to shop. Great photos!

  4. when you said you were touring the USA you really meant it. you saw more in a month than i have in a life time. wow

  5. Colin, 'the cities' or 'twin cities' as they're known locally have all these covered foot bridges from buildings to buildings, lots of them, so the people who work in town don't neen to go outside, they just walk within the city from building to building as it gets very cold in winter and very hot in summer so no need to put on overcoats, sounded good to me. Cheers, Bill

  6. Wonderful, I've loved seeing all these different places you've been to. I'm happy to report that Minnesota is back in business and the jobs of their workers are safe for the time being.

  7. Now I'm completely exhausted too.

  8. Looks like a nice city.


  9. Now there I have never stayed. Probably went through !

  10. Hi Diane, I've never been to that part of our country. I've read alot about the big mall up there but since I'm not a shopper, I have never thought about wanting to go there. But--you got some pretty pictures of the entire area. It is colder than cold in that part of the country in winter...

    Tour--not vacation, huh? Yes---getting up that early would not always be my idea of fun... ha...

    So you were with mostly Aussie's on that trip? I wondered whether you had met any new friends from other countries...

    Thanks for the tour.

  11. I'm thinking along the same lines as Sandra. I should check for tours of my own country. :)
    Great shots and I'm so glad you enjoyed this venture.

  12. I've never been to Minneapolis and St. Paul, although I've heard they are beautiful cities. I've also heard that the Mall of America is something everyone should visit at least once, but since I'm not much of a shopper I doubt that I'll make it. I love the sunset picture on the river.

  13. Love the photos you really did have a great holiday...........

  14. I've spent a number of weeks working in Minneapolis. It was the beginning of winter and I found driving in the ice and snow quite scary. Even scarier the car park at Mall of America, I was terrified that I would forget where I had parked the car. That place is huge and I found the shops kept on repeating themselves.

  15. It is weird when you see nobody on the streets. We had the same in Calgary, couldn't find a shop anywhere until we discovered you had to enter a business building and go up with an elevator an there was the mall. I think it is healthier to go out in the open air then to stay in all the time.

  16. Wow,You've seen more of my country then I have and I live here. That's kind of sad for me. Awesome photos thanks for sharing and stopping by my blog.

  17. Oh, that mall is ridiculous. We used to travel up to St Paul for dance competitions, so we visited the mall, but I couldn't wait to get out of the monster. The only saving grace was the Lego sculptures. (Were those still there?) My daughter loves that sculpture garden!

  18. Oldenburg's sculpture is great. He has a big safety pin sculpture in SF.

  19. That mall is famous. Not my own cup of tea however. It might be interesting for a visit though, just because. That is a gorgeous sunset in the last photo.