Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Twin Cities

Well, I can't say Minneapolis was on my list of places I had to see before I die or really needed to see at all. I really had no image of Minneapolis. In fact, I had to go look it up on a map to see where it actually was. Yes, it's on the Mississippi.
I remembered bits and pieces of history about fur traders, and I admit I wanted Mary Tyler Moore's apartment in that TV show but really. My first impressions were what weird skyscrapers, what a lot of churches, the trees are bare, no cherry blossoms here, and I wondered if anyone actually lived there because what we thought might be downtown looked rather deserted. That was late Saturday afternoon. As time went on Minneapolis definitely grew on me.
Nicollet Mall is the centre of Minneapolis. Yes, there is a statue of Mary Tyler Moore throwing her hat right in front of Macy's so that must be a sign. There are lots of restaurants-my favorite being Barrio where the guacamole and chips are delicious as well as good people watching. The architecture even downtown is incredible-I didn't go into depth on studying this but these buildings are unique. One building, the Capella Tower, looks like it has a flying saucer on top. Another has a square on the side, somehow reminding me of a grain elevator. This isn't surprising as yes, cheerios were invented in Minneapolis and it has a long tradition as a mill town. Most buildings have skyways that join them so in the cold winters you don't have to go outside. In Montreal you can go underground, in Minneapolis you go above ground. The churches are more traditionally quite beautiful. Thursdays the Nicollet Mall hosts a farmers' market-the 70 degree weather brought out spring in the city and the street had many vendors with bedding plants and tasty foods. And yes, we did get out the Mall of the Americas.
Friday we went over to have a look at St. Paul's, the sister city. It's also the state capital. I had two missions to check out Grand Avenue and Summit Avenue where F. Scott Fitzgerald grew up (I fell in love with his writing in first year university) and to have lunch at the diner-Mickey's, from the movie, Prairie Home Companion-now that was an experience.
Arts are celebrated in Minneapolis. The Guthrie Theatre is incredible. I have never seen a building quite like it. The views are amazing and ever changing looking over the river.
There wasn't enough time but the Minnesota Art Institute is an incredible art gallery with an amazing collection. We needed a day not a morning. I really wanted to see the sculpture garden at the Walker Art Centre but there was a plane to catch. It seems to me there is a lot Vancouver could learn from Minneapolis. We have great scenery but Minneapolis has friendly people with lots of imagination. And yes, this is where they invented scotch tape, magnetic poetry, post it notes, the seat belt, the pop up toasters, roller blades, as well as cheerios... And did I mention they have the best library system and great public transit?

No comments: