Saturday, May 13, 2006

My mostly Minneapolis travelogue

Since I spent a significant amount of time in this sleepy college town an hour or so away from twin cities, I wont say I completely "did" twin cities. However - a couple of days were enough to give me a good overall feel of the windy streets, warm skyways and diverse cuisines.

They say Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes. I have to read more on that later, but you do notice waterbodies every so often once you drive away from downtown. And you cant miss the Mississippi river separating east and west sides of Minneapolis and also Saint.Paul. The unique feature is the skyways - never seen them in such an extensive scale before. Effectively the whole downtown Minneapolis, be it shopping malls, business offices or big hotels, is connected by elevated and glass-enclosed walkways - a way to keep the city moving in winters I guess. However for a casual traveller like me, it gave me an opportunity to literally walk through ultra swank lobbies of poshest downtown hotels! The real downtown part is pretty dense - even smaller compared to compact Chicago downtown.

For me the most interesting thing was the diverse cuisines the twin cities offered - and I have not seen such a concentration of different African speciality restaurants anywhere. For breakfast I had momo after such a long time at an authentic Nepali place - and forget the Chinese dumplings, this was the real stuff. For lunch I found a tempting Afghan cafe closed - but landed up in a Ghanaian place in the midst of a strange locality in Saint Paul. The goat stew I ordered with plain rice looked almost like our deshi vareity, albeit a little sweeter. Dinner was heavenly at this Somalian restaurant at the south end of Nicolette mall, I would rate "Safari" among the best places I had food in last few years and worth going back to Minneapolis again. The "goat cutlet" was succulent goat meat with gravy cooked with just enough spices to make it so perfect. And they had a creamy soup as a starter - and my waiter said that as well as two huge glasses of mango juice are all on the house! He must have made mistake somewhere - its just impossible to have such an amazing dinner at single digit price. And I absolutely do not regret passing "New Delhi - Food and Drinks" while entering Safari.

The drive along the Mississippi is scenic but nothing spectacular. We visited the beautiful Cathedral at Saint Paul and I always like the absolute quietness inside the churches. The mall of America is apparently the biggest tourist attraction - but we found it rather uninteresting - just another mall with all the big brand names lined up.

The downtown came alive on Friday night - with people on the streets and crowded bars. The IDS tower glowed with what seemed like an halo right at the top - my photos do not quite do the justice to that. In fact photography wise this was a let down trip - since urban photography demands a lot of time and patience and an overcast day robed me of that scope.

Here is the link for the photos still -

And since I don't like much of them - here are my top three!

This looked heavenly with the halo at the top -

View from far - notice the "skyway" -

Me with Minneapolis skyline behind across the river Mississippi -


tuktuki said...

it's nice to know that to a 'die-hard skeptic' a halo looks 'heavenly' :-)

good pics

dipthought said...

Indeed! The first time I looked up - it just looked out of the world. Photos failed miserably to potray that.