First of all an apology for the lack of posts lately – we have been without internet and/or cellphone coverage for over 3 weeks so it has been difficult. We will be catching up (again) this week! Watch this space….
We arrived at Bev and Don’s great apartment in Minneapolis after lunchtime on the 3rd August after a 5 hour drive from Oshkosh. The apartment is surrounded by lovely parks and scenic walks and is in a lovely residential part of Minneapolis.
Minnesota is known as The Land of 10,000 Lakes and officially there are 11,842 lakes more than ten acres (40,000 m²) in total. They have an image on their car license plates to this effect and everywhere you drive you see lakes and ponds.
The 11 days in Minneapolis were going to be a rest period after Oshkosh and seeing the family up in Canada. We didn’t get that much sleep at Oshkosh, so this was our time to recharge the batteries along with catching up on much needed schoolwork for Cameron.
When we arrived Mom wasn’t feeling too good, she had a strep throat and was taking an antibiotic the size of a minivan, not only that but the lack of sleep wasn’t contributing to her getting well. By the end of the 11 days, she was right as rain.
Mom and Dad had to do a shop for the week and set out to do so as Cam and I caught up with our friends and had a little bit of chill time. Dad, Cam and I went for supper on the first night while Mom stayed at the apartment. We went to a BBQ Pig-Out restaurant just down the road where Cam and Dad had ribs, really good, juicy ribs, whilst I had pulled pork on a sandwich.
Mom and Dad went to a local Irish pub to meet Bev’s knitting group on evening. They were having their monthly meeting and were very excited to meet South Africans so far away from home!
We ate really, really well this week, nice home cooked meals courtesy of Mom and Dad. From curries to roasts, really was a treat and a nice change. We also visited the Red Lobster, which was really enjoyable. And it was our first time having crab in the shell like that:
Mom and Dad took a drive to the Mississippi River which was fairly near the apartment, in a city called St Paul. Known as the “Twin Cities” as they are so close to each other, Minneapolis is the larger of the two while St Paul is the State Capital of Minnesota.
On one of the days we decided to be spontaneous and go to a place called Skyzone, an indoor trampoline park. It was a lot of exhausting, tiring, fun. Cameron and I played dodge ball with a whole bunch of other people, little people. It really was a lot of fun. Since visiting Skyzone last month, a middle aged man (not sure why he was jumping at his age?) dived into the ballpool and broke his neck and died. Really sad as it is a great place and they have a number of branches – you just need to be careful I guess.
We visited the Mall of America, the largest mall in America. It even has it’s own theme park inside, a Nickelodeon themed park. Any shop you could imagine was inside the mall. Dad had purchased a Groupon for us to go into a mirror maze. It was really fun, but so confusing.
We had lunch at the food court, before walking around again. Cameron bought a pair of headphones at Best Buy. We had a drink at the Rainforest Cafe before heading back to the car.
Then the highlight of our stay, Dad and I had a flying lesson at the local airport, whilst Cameron and Mom went to a science museum. This was another Groupon that Dad had found online. We started off the flying lesson with a pre-flight check and then straight after that we hopped into the Cessna and began learning. Quickly! Derick our instructor was great and assumed we knew a lot about flying! Dad took the controls first while I sat in the back – he even had to ‘drive’ us to the runway using the foot pedals – talk about being thrown in at the deep end!
Once at the runway, Dad did a take off, yes that’s right. It went smoothly and before we knew it we were in the air, Captain Dad at the wheel. It was a little bit nerve racking to say the least but he did an okay job. Once he was done we landed, and I took the wheel. I also did a takeoff, needless to say mine was a little bit better . The experience of flying a real plane is unlike anything I have experienced before, it was an adrenaline rush yet I felt comfortable. It was most enjoyable.
Dad taking off
Mitch taking off
Mitch taking us back to the hangar
Once we were done with an awesome time flying we headed back to the Minnesota Science Museum to pick up Mom and Cam – they had been there for the morning. The museum was really amazing and Mom and Cam said they could have stayed longer. We had a drink at a pub across the road from the museum, which serves the best nachos we had ever tasted. I tell you, the best. They were an Irish spin on normal nachos but a good spin indeed, using sliced cooked potato chips as the nachos.
In between all of this fun and relaxing, Cameron managed to find a place that plays Magic, the card game he plays with his friends in Cape Town. It was a 3 minute walk away from the apartment, so he went down 3 times during our stay to play and meet the local players.
We had a great time in Minneapolis – we did not see much of the city itself as we used the time to catch up on work but still a great place and full of culture and amazing architecture.
Russell: Thanks to Don and Bev for allowing us to stay in your lovely apartment in Minneapolis. I know your stay in our house in Cape Town was a lot more frenetic as you did a whole lot more sight seeing than what we did in Minneapolis!