Minneapolis

It’s time to write. About a month has passed after my trip to Minneapolis, and I’ve decided to write about it, while I have a time to write this text. Thing is, that if I won’t write it today, or tomorrow, I don’t know when I’ll write it, so much plans and changes for the following month.

So let’s get started. About a month ago, just after the trip to Louisville I’ve decided to go to Minneapolis, while it still should be warm and nice. In Louisville at that time temperature was warmer than +20 degrees Celsius, and my assumption was, that it should decline reasonably during the month. Surprisingly the temperature declined sharply to +11 on the day I went to Minneapolis, so I was forced to use glows and a scarf, if I remember everything correctly.

There is one thing about this year that differs from last one, in 2013 I’ve started traveling much, much earlier and finished much later, so I’ve visited a lot of places. Currently I’ve traveled about twice less during this year, so after the trip to Louisville, I’ve decided to go to the North, see Minneapolis, and finish planned trips in Midwest this year. I think that I couldn’t make more trips this year, but I already have plans for next year, there are still a lot of places where I can go to. So the trip started with purchasing tickets with 15% discount at Greyhound, meaning that I’ve got tickets to Minneapolis and back to Chicago for 47 dollars, sweet.

It was raining outside, cold small or even medium strength rain which was getting more and more strength while I was walking to the CTA to get to my bus which should depart at 9.45 PM. I decided not to take an umbrella with me because it wouldn’t make a lot of sense in Minneapolis due to sunny forecast there. The trip has started at 9.45 PM as scheduled and bus went to Milwaukee, then to Saint Pail and finally to Minneapolis. Luckily a lot of people left the bus at Milwaukee, so I took better seat and occupied it till the arrival to Minneapolis.

The weather wasn’t welcoming in the early morning, and I’ve used all available clothes to me, to wait until the Sun will warm up everything. The forecast promised +16 degrees at noon, but in the morning it was cold and foggy. The Greyhound station there is very nice, similar to the one I’ve seen in Cleveland, however it has a distinction in a way that here the station has two sections, and to go from one to another one, where the gates and restrooms are, you need to go through security officers and show the ticket. Interesting, is there so much homeless and other strange people in Minneapolis?

I walked in the neighborhood of some university or college in the morning, and somehow stopped to make few photos on a bus stop which had no people and I missed the sign, so bus arrived while I was making photos, and opened doors, waited if I decided to get in or no. Well, not that time. The reason why I was making photos at the stop is that near to it there are newspapers boxes which are perfect as a stand for making time-delayed photos. Later on, during next hour or so, I was walking down the street, marking my movements on map, and taxi arrived to me and waited if I want to get in. I waived to the driver that I have no interest in the service. It is really the first time of such strange things happen.

Few more things about public transport, they have regular bus stops as well as reverse ones, pretty much as everywhere else in the cities that I’ve visited in the US, for some strange reasons I haven’t seen reversed ones in Chicago. Minneapolis also has trams, it is the second city with the trams, first one where I saw them was Cleveland. Interesting thing about trams is that you can use them to go directly from downtown Minneapolis to downtown Saint Paul. The centers of those cities are located in about 30 minutes of drive on highway.

Actually I was surprised by the city, it was a positive surprise because I haven’t expected to see lovely city, the northern frontier. Especially it is definitely has a contrast in comparison to Louisville, it’s completely different, better. Architecture of the city also has distinctive look due to lots of over the streets corridors between buildings. I think it is due to cold weather in the winter, nobody want to go outside. Minneapolis in any case is pretty far at the north. Another thing about architecture is a lot of mirrors on the corners for the cars, lots of them.

The river which is going through the city is interesting in a way that it has controlled dam, so small ships can use gates to go back and forth through it, also there was a watermill long time ago, now there are protected ruins on that spot. Near all this stuff there is pedestrian and bikes bridge, that is going diagonally to the river flow, strange stuff going on here. By the way, there are many jogglers…

The city has a lot of skyscrapers, few for banks, one for Oracle, and lots of others. There is feeling that city is alive, this is good thing, very good. Generally speaking the city is very nice, I liked it. This trip is the autumn surprise and positive conclusion of this year trips. The photo of the city below.

Minneapolis

This is probably it about travel this year.

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Louisville

I wanted to go somewhere while it was still warm and nice outside during early September, so I was looking for the options. Original idea was to go to Omaha, however bus schedule there couldn’t satisfy me, so I decided to go through my list of cities to visit and I have picked Louisville.

I have bought tickets on Megabus for September 6, departing at midnight, going from Chicago to Indianapolis and to Louisville afterwards. Departure went fine, except that the bus had broken air cooling, so it stuck at +22C, which might seems to be okay, however it isn’t if you are sitting without any action for ling period of time. When I have finally arrived to Louisville I was happy to feel warm air everywhere near me and I was tired because I could not sleep in those conditions.

We went through Indianapolis in the night, the scene was very good, especially downtown view from the highway, a lot of lights. While going through the city, the picture wasn’t so great. Generally speaking, some time ago I have noticed that America looks much nicer from the window of a vehicle, than in reality.

While walking down the streets in the city I have noticed that there are different plants and trees on the streets which I am not familiar with, some warm-loving stuff, it looks nice though. Besides plants there are a lot of squirrels, a lot of them in all parts of the city, and they are also running near the city hall. The city hall is kind of small building, much smaller than city building in Chicago, and interesting thing about it is that near it there is statue of French king Louis XVI. It is possible that city was named after him, but why?

One of the interesting things in Louisville is Louisville Slugger baseball museum which has a lot of baseball stuff being sold there, the thing about it is huge baseball bat which rises up to fifth or sixth floor. Very large and very metal baseball bat. Actually I was thinking about buying baseball but the museum was closed on early hour of Saturday, no luck.

People here left no impression on me, they aren’t very positive or dangerous, or something else. People as people, having some fun at some event on riverside. Similar impression I have got in St. Louis, it is close enough, so no surprise. Surprising was that I haven’t found people with “South” accent which I would love to hear, but no, there is no such thing in Louisville.

Let’s talk about the city, Louisville is different in different places, somewhere nice, some places are other, where you want to avoid if you are traveling there. Generally speaking the city is southern with proper south plants everywhere, there are a lot of horse statues, either only horses or with horseman on the back. I think it is because of Kentucky derby which is held here. The city is located on the Ohio river, which is pretty dirty near the city with some ducks swimming there. Besides ducks there are few steamboats there and they are big, very big, like 3 or 4 stories building high. They are actually looks like those in movies about cowboys.

The city itself pretty mixed, there are new and old building located near each other, open and closed businesses, some of them are closed long ago. The same is on the riverside, I went to the KFC Yum! Center, thinking that it is special place from KFC, where I could grab something to eat, but no, it is fancy name for some sports stadium, and closed at that Saturday. Some high-rise buildings in the city has large portraits of famous people drawn on them, hmm.. some of those portraits are clearly visible from one or even two blocks away.

Proving my conclusion, that in America money lie on the ground everywhere, I have found 4 cents near one park-meter and then one and another one near other park-meters in some distant neighborhoods in the city. Kind of surprise, really, you wouldn’t expect to find money in that city. Lovely building were there, kind of very closed communities with fences outside, something similar you can see in TV show “Dexter”. In some parts of the city pedestrian crossings of the road are made as continuous crossings where you can do double or triple crossings without walking into pedestrian zone. So cool!

Few words about the cars, surprisingly enough there is no need in front plates in Kentucky, here is the land of rare plates only, the same as in Michigan. Moreover here on some cars people using space for front place to put some funny or interesting custom plates, and that is okay. I will continue with car topic by telling about Cadillac dealership that I have found there, it was strange, because there was only one person in the office, playing on computer, with no customers or anything, and a lot of cars outside, waiting for their new owners. Business is going well there, I guess.

When I was tired of walking I ended up sitting near city hall on a bench under the trees, looking after squirrels and listening to fountains, that’s nice, very nice. I was reading PMBoK which I took with me in the trip while waiting for my bus there.

Strange enough, weather forecast was talking about 80% chance of rain, but it never happened. Another strange thing about the city is that they already have about five bridges across the river, but that is not enough so they are building one more. More bridges! Summing up all this post, I can say that Louisville have no distinct face or attributes that anyone would like to revisit.

Few more words, I ended up to calling Megabus for refund, and riding back to Chicago via Greyhound about five hours later than scheduled. Things happens…

Louisville

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Saint Louis

I will start without introduction words, let’s go. I went to see St. Louis last Saturday, to see what is going on there, came back, and only now have some time to write about the trip.

St. Louis is located on the border of Illinois and Missouri states, it isn’t so far away, so trip haven’t took much time, that’s good. I departed from Chicago at 1.30 AM, and arrived to St. Louis somewhere around 7 AM, can’t remember more clearly. The trip went well; the bus wasn’t crowded, so I occupied two comfortable seats and slept more or less okay, while going through the night. The rare situation, when I can sleep in the bus is so great, and gives me strength to do more during the trip :)

Before actual boarding, while standing in the line, there was one old guy, who was happy to tell everyone, that he should have been in previous bus to St. Louis, but he had one beer, and driver didn’t let him in the bus. Thus the guy waited for about 7 hours to get into this one. I assume that decision to not let him in was a good one.

Arrival was on time and I saw a lot of clouds in the sky, and a lot of fog under the clouds. Such weather conditions wasn’t so welcoming, especially for me, I had not so much close, and fired some extra calories to heat my body. At least there was no rain, which possibly could happen because the forecast estimated the chance of rain as 30%. Fog and clouds disappeared in late morning, or closer to the noon, so I could take some good and colorful pictures of the Arc – one of the major sights in the city.

I think that it is impossible to miss the Arc; you can see I pretty much from everywhere, even from remote neighborhoods, which located higher than riverside. It is so big, something about 200 meters high, as I can remember. The interesting thing about it is that there is no security near it, no fences, nothing, so you can easily approach it and feel the strength of construction.

The Arc is located in the park near Mississippi river, which isn’t so impressive, it is kind of 100-meter wide river, everything as usual, some boats are using it, and it is great. The river quay is more interesting, because you could expect concrete structure, with relatively easy access to water, however, there isn’t such thing. What you can see is some steep downhill pawed with stones which are going far into water. Another interesting thing is that cars are allowed to be parked on this quay, there are marking for them, but you can’t do anything with cars in the park. Very strange.

Few words about the park where the Arc is standing. The park is very nice and it is hilly with large scale of ups and downs, pretty big and it has few artificial water ponds, which were empty at my time there. They were so empty, that water dried long ago…

Near the park, in the downtown, where old court building is, there are a lot of construction going on. A lot of fences, construction workers and machines, improving something… I have noticed, that there and in some other places in the city there is smell of horses, not even horses but the product of their digestion system, newer seen that before in the U.S.

While walking on central boulevard, or, it would be properly to name it as a park zone between two streets, I have seen a lot of homeless, who occupied benches there. While making photos of things in that park zone, there are a lot of thing to make photographs of, one of the homeless approached me asking if I have made picture of him, like I have nothing to do, except making photos of homeless. Anyway, he continued with usual - “Can you spare some change?” – like I have fiat money with me.

About money and coins. St. Louis is wonderful for collecting money, I have found five cents on the street. Let’s continue talking about park zone. There are a lot of figures, I especially liked two white figures of rabbits, so are so cool that many people makes pictures with them, I made it too :)

Except the rabbits in form of 1.5 meters tall figures, there are a lot of squirrels, which behaves like something in the middle between Chicago’s squirrels which run-away from people, and Indianapolis’s squirrels, which are ready to eat food from your hands. I think that city planted a lot of oaks for the squirrel’s sake only.

I have noticed that people in the city aren’t very friendly, even in Detroit people were more friendly, I guess something makes them that way, but don’t know what. Maybe a lot of parking lots in the city, or absence of big office building in downtown. There are some tall buildings – offices of AT&T, Peabody Energy, Bank of America, UMB Bank, and Wells Fargo which is located not in the downtown, but has huge office.

The city decorations include great number of special artificial cakes in different places in the city, which purpose is to remind about the celebration of 250 years from city establishment. The cakes located near important places as well as in nice places near fountains or in the parks.

Trip back to Chicago started with united station of Amtrak and Greyhound, where I had my lunch – first KFC burger in my life. Burger was okay, however it missed something important, at least I think so, and something was missing. And 10% tax on food is huge, wake up Missouri!

Bus wasn’t crowded, and I decided to occupy not only two chairs but also one more chair on opposite side of the bus, so I could lie down on three chairs and sleep to get the strength to read one of the chapters of GRE preparation book. By the way, this post is kind of preparation for the essay writing part on the exam. I have also looked at the nature behind bus’s windows, the great plains, very similar to the view of my home country part.

While leaving St. Louis we went through East St. Louis, which located on the Illinois side of Mississippi river, and it have a lot of industrial building. Second stop was at the city of Champagne, where one of Illinois universities located, nice city.

Generally speaking I liked the trip! And a photo of the Arc.

ST. Louis

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Detroit

Was in Detroit last Saturday, the same Detroit you can hear and read horrifying stories in newspapers and on the Internet. I’ll tell about my experience there, how the city presented itself.

I’ve got into the Greyhound bus with Toronto sign at the midnight between Friday and Saturday. I’ve supposed to get to Detroit in this bus, and leave it early in the morning. Once there, I’ve spotted that local Greyhound bus station has one very special characteristic – it haven’t water in the water taps, it’s definitely something new for America, because everywhere water was and still present.

During the first moment outside of the Greyhound station two beggars tried to talk to me and ask for some money, it’s too much, especially for the early hour of the day. Went through the city, navigating with help of paper maps, which I always do, I set the path toward the river, I thought it would be interesting to look at Canada. The very first impressions besides beggars is that city has a lot of hatches with hot steam going up in the air from those hatches. Also I saw some old buildings that was built sometime around 20es of the last century, and they are still the same as long time ago, maybe little bit worse looking.

While I walked, I noticed, that life is going in the city, even though city is bankrupt. City services continuing working – police works, trash and garbage being removed from the streets, fountains are working, lawns are being cut. The only noticeable thing from cities’ property is the roads, which sometimes in bad condition, and sometimes in very bad condition, I haven’t spotted any issues with traffic on the streets though.

In the downtown you can see that bikers are using their bikes at the river walk, joggers are jogging, life is going on. The river walk very nice, a lot of lawns there, green grass, fountains, tables, chairs, sunbeds. Even Chicago’s river walk doesn’t have public sunbeds. People are very friendly, as in other American towns I went to.

Interesting thing about the people. I saw security stuff in a lot of places there, and they looked interesting. First of all, majority of them were white, and second is that they had red t-shirts, so anyone can easily spot them. There are whites people in the town, but not much, in any case I weren’t the only white person, who can attract all the attention on the street.

About the border with Canada. The border goes through Detroit river, fortunately river is big enough, I guess about 200 meters, so there is plenty of space to be able to divide river between the countries. The border itself is buoys in the middle of the river, also there are lots and lots of notices, that forbids to swim in the river or use other ways of transportation. Also, city has the tunnel under the river and a bridge, you can find both of them by following the road signs with big green maple-leaf and text, that something Canadian pretty close.

The river isn’t so big, as I said earlier, so you can clearly see Windsor, which is much smaller than Detroit, you can see it basing on number of high-rise buildings. The small airplanes flying over the river, while I was at river walk, I’ve seen two of them, or the same one twice, I’m not sure.

Border is being patrolled not only by plains, but also Board Control guards in their cars.

If I’ve started talking about force structures of the city, I’ll tell more about it. Police cars and board control cars have bullbars, all of them, even sheriff and other security cars. Another interesting thing about police is that almost all police cars – sedans, I saw only one police SUV. And the sheriff, while I walked through Midtown, I’ve spotted that sheriff has interesting last name – Napoleon, I guess it is interesting to live with such last name.

I cant say much about animals in Detroit, I saw seagulls, not many of them, also I saw one unusually black squirrel, and that’s all that I’ve seen there. The squirrel was, definitely, unusual, I’ve never seen anything like it, maybe it was Canadian.

The city center is very nice, I haven’t expected it, wonderful, the only thing is that a lot of space for small businesses on ground floors are closed. Those places have “For lease” signs, and there are a lot of such signs in the city, starting in downtown and spreading to other places. Office buildings has interesting feature – connections between buildings somewhere in the skies, about 5th floor or higher, I’ve seen about ten of those connections, maybe more.

Once you walked about 15 minutes from the downtown, you can see buildings with blocked windows and doors, the owners clearly don't want to let anyone inside. Event further away there are empty slots of the groud, and some industrial buildings which are completely empty and dark, horrible view.

Public transportation consists only from regular busses and there are a lot of reverse bus stops in the city. I’ve seen a bus which was going to Dexter end stop, like the name of famous TV show. There is strange subway system in downtown, it is very strange. Some time ago was build a structure which holds the railroad for that subway in the height somewhere between 2nd and 4th floors. This structure located only in downtown, and has only one pair of rails. The system is used to transport trains consisted of two cars at the time, and all of them going in the same direction. Why they built something like that? Interesting thing with that railroad is that in at least one place the railroad going through building, in the southeast corner of downtown.

There are a lot of cars, like in other cities, and they have places to park the cars. I’ve seen a lot of built parking lots with multiple levels, some of them located in downtown, or less than 10 minutes walking from downtown. In the downtown there are some places that don’t have parking machines, so you can park for free. Another interesting thing is that automobile industry made some ideas into laws, which makes world a better place. All the local cars with plates from Michigan state doesn’t have plates in front of the cars, and it is so nice and beautiful. Some of the cars, especially American ones, have special front bumper optimized for being shown as is without the plate, so good.

Few words about poverty and safeness, or their absence I can say, that while I was there, about 5 or 6 beggars came to me. Also there was one guy, that was promoting himself, and asked people to vote for him in some Michigan actors poll on Instagram, strange things can happen. About safety? I haven’t noticed anything that could be considered as not safe or scary. I’ve seen some strange people and that’s all. There were no gangs on the corners of the streets selling some illegal stuff. You definitely can enjoy the city during the light day. On the other hand I walked in in one of the stores, and the department with hard alcohol had glass wall, so no one from outside can walk in, I don’t know why they are did it, may be it worth to be doing in some places.

About open business in the city, I think it is worth to tell about Casinos, which are located in the city, pretty much the same as in Cleveland, big and shiny with infrastructure that you can expect from Casinos. One more thing about city’s infrastructure, there are a lot of orange barrels on the streets, they are everywhere, but no work is going on the streets around those barrels.

When I walked out of downtown and walked towards Wayne University it was very strange feeling when surroundings are changing very quickly in a bad way. Roads getting worse, cars becoming older and more broken, some even with broken windows, repaired by duct tape. In midtown I saw first and the only one McDonalds in the city, which has special $3.13 menu, for 313 years of the city. There were advertisement in the city of that special Detroit menu.

Trip to Detroit began to end, and I was sitting on the lawn near Wayne University, was waiting for Megabus bus back to Chicago, which I decided to use because of tip of one guy that I know. So, while I was waiting, I saw one strange man, that was riding a car with flat left front tire. And that man wasn’t going to repair it, because I saw him again driving in opposite direction 15 minutes later. Megabus was late that day for about 15 minutes, after it arrived some additional time passed while passengers packed their bags and once all of us checked in with driver, so we started trip to Chicago 20 minutes later than expected, and I arrived to Chicago 45 minutes later than schedule suggested…

Photograph of Detroit, as usual.

Detroit

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Cleveland

I truly wanted to go to Detroit during 4th of July or weekend after that, weather, however, disagreed with that plan. Weather forecast showed rainy weather everywhere around 4th of July, so I went to my list of places to go, and chose Cleveland, with sunny weather. Another reason for choosing Cleveland was that I could return to Chicago to see holiday fireworks.

Departed from Chicago at 11 PM on 3rd of July, the bus displayed destination – Washington. The ride went through the night, which was okay for my plan, and seats was comfortable enough to deal with that. Interesting thing is that I came to the station and proper exit just few minutes before departure, and, somehow, I was lucky enough to take one of the first places in the bus – seat near window was my choice. They asked to show my ID while boarding, so annoying.

The trip went successful, however I wasn’t able to sleep or relax normal during the trip, something was against it. The good thing is that on the way back there were plenty of empty seats, so I relaxed as I could. Bus arrived to Cleveland about 20 minutes before sunrise, it meant, that I had plenty of time to walk around while city still asleep, while there are empty streets without cars or people, nice time to enjoy.

The city was quiet during all the time I’ve spent there, not only during early morning. The few places where crowd was present was in the center of the city, all other places – empty by default, and I’ll add to this, that instead of people there were quite a bit of little annoying bugs near the pier, lake, parks and other places with grass and trees. It is possible, that they arrived from Canada, because it is pretty close from Cleveland, and the Erie lake isn’t so big, I even have an impression that I’ve seen Canada from Pier at 9th street.

Except bugs, city has some seagulls, not many with comparison to Milwaukee, but more than Chicago has. The pier at 9th street is very interesting by being so simple and familiar, that I recalled pier in my pre-historical city, where I grew up. It is located near city center, quite big, but not huge, you can walk there, sit there, there is a small park, enjoyable place. Another similarity is that city located on pretty high shore of the lake, so from the pier, so you’re looking upward to get a look of the city. Because of that similarities and memories I’ve spend some time there, just relaxing and giving some time to relax to my feets, and while I was siting there, some dark beggar came to me asking for money to buy new ticket to home, he lost the original one…

I do have the feeling, that beggars specially selects me as a target, maybe because I don’t look like people around me due to my choice of clothes – shirts and pants, maybe something else, who knows. In my blog I’ve wrote about those event few times already, I with that women came to me that often on the streets.

Continuing with stories about pier, somewhere close to it, there is an airport, and between that airport and the pier at 9th street, there is some military ground with buildings, which has a lot of “Do not trespass” signs around it. Anyway, there were a few of loud claps there, and the strange thing about that, is that there were no visible consequences after that – no smoke or something of that kind.

Enough about pier, I’ll tell about the city now, similarly to Milwaukee and Indianapolis, the city has backwards bus stops, also city has another bus stops, that has two entrances – one closer to roadway and second one – closer to sidewalk. Also there are a lot of places, that were designed to have buttons for crossing the streets, however a lot of places have only sockets for those buttons, and actual buttons are missing. A lot of buttons, that are still or already exists have additional signs with information telling which street you’ll be able to cross after button is pressed. This information should be useful, but for tourists like me it almost worthless, I don’t know what streets where, so just press all buttons.

I’ve already said, that there weren’t much people on the streets, and those who were – were pretty friendly, sad greetings, one man even asked a cigarette. I should also mention one interesting behavior pattern of joggers that jog on “Hope Memorial Bridge”. The joggers were jogging from west side of the bridge to the east, once they’ve arrived to the east part, they started to returning, who just walking, who – jogging as well. Funny people.

Because there weren’t a lot of people in the city, and almost all the places were closed, except Starbucks and Hard Rock Café, there was no place to enjoy some meal. However I found interesting place with cool logo – Noodlecat, I do recommend to check out it’s logo, the place was closed though.

While walking down the streets it is impossible not to notice that city center is filled with offices of different banks, similarly to Milwaukee, however banks are different. I saw following Key Bank, First National Bank, Charter One, 5/3, Huntington and few smaller ones. Conclusion – if you want to work in downtown – get a job in the bank.

While wandering here and there I’ve found one cent coin, it isn’t a first time I’m finding money on the streets in America. Interesting is the place where I found it – in court district, where courts and police station located. Also there located bail bonds firms, a lot of them. It’s the first time where I’ve seen bail bonds firms in US – something new, nice.

One more new thing – I saw as person actually used the device in front of the bus. From changing the position to horizontal, to attaching a bike to the device. I’ve never seen anyone to use it in Chicago, it is usually in vertical position with advertisements displayed to everyone.

Concluding with the story, I’ll say, that I’ve made about 300 photos, and my camera showed a red signal about battery capacity left. A lot of photos this time, usually it goes somewhere around 200.

Cleveland

The last thing for today – when I discussed the idea to go to Cleveland, some people tried to scary me, that, the city isn’t safe, and it’s highly probable to meet people with guns. Instead, I’ve seen very safe and quiet city, lovely one.

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Indianapolis

I’ve been waiting for the trip to Indianapolis quite some time, after first attempt miserably failed due to my health conditions at that time. But now, it’s time to go. Early in the morning at 2 AM my alarm went off, telling me, that it’s time to wake up and prepare myself to go to bus station, where, at 4 AM bus goes to Indianapolis. It’s take somewhere between 30 minutes and one hour to go from my place to bus stations, depending on traffic on the streets.

Obviously, there isn’t much traffic or people on the streets at 3 AM, and you can safely ignore red flashes of the stop signals. During my walk, I’ve seen about ten or so active people on the streets, and few passive ones – homeless, that I didn’t noticed and didn’t count at all, no need for that, but not many of them are easily spotted in the darkness of the night. Generally it was very quiet and safe.

I’ve got into the bus at about 4 AM, and there already were a lot of people, it was unexpected, in this early hour? It’s time to start the journey… There was no long announcements from bus driver, and people on the bus aren’t in some active mode, some even sleep, and I joined their example.

In the morning, we’ve reached city of Lafayette, which is located somewhere between Chicago and Indianapolis, later on that morning, while approaching bus station in Indianapolis we’ve stayed for some time in the jam, that was caused by organized road crossing by the students from local university. I’ll write about that university later on, however I want to mention it’s funny abbreviation – UIPUI.

I don’t know what they were doing at that early hour, but it was massive event, with all the students in purple uniform. The thing is, that Indiana has different time zone, which is strange for me. I’ve used to the Europe, where almost every country uses the same time zone, and it’s very convenient. Here – few steps to the left or right – and stuff happens. During my trip I always double checked the watch, to be sure that I’ve got right local time, annoying.

Once arrived, I went to explore the city, generally view is nice, sometimes – strange, especially green hydrants. Indianapolis is built following regular American schema of city planning, and the city itself looks as something American with partially European architecture, especially it is obvious if you look at memorials and government buildings. There are a lot of parking space near city center, which are almost empty on Saturday morning, there is not much of people as well…

Arriving to the parks and World War Memorial I've noticed some squirrels, which are different from their Chicago relatives – they aren't afraid of people, they even came to you, unless you’re jogging, or running, or even cycling. Unfortunately, I had no squirrel food with me, so there was nothing I could gave to the animals, that’s something for next time I visit Indianapolis – take the food with me. Also I’ve seen some other animals – something quick and small, and I don’t know what it is, but it does afraid of people.

There are not many people in the city, but little bit more than in Milwaukee, it is worth mentioning, that it was very warm, more than 30 degrees, and people was laying down on the benches in the parks and other places, some of those people looked like homeless ones and some - not.

I hadn’t a chance to walk near the river in the city – it is too far away from the places where I was, however I’ve walked near the canal, that was built by the city. This canal is nice, and it’s surroundings are very pleasant to the eye, the canal itself isn’t deep though. Some fish even live in the canal, probably watching over the joggers. One more similarity to the people of Milwaukee – they tend to greet strangers on the street, and I’m talking from my own experience. You definitely won’t see such attitude in Chicago.

Continuing with overview of city infrastructure… Indianapolis has service of public bicycles – yellow ones, and a lot of people use them, and their own bicycles in general. Also I saw some reverse bus stops, similar to those in Milwaukee, and they are continuing to surprise me. There are buttons to turn semaphore signal to “Walk”, and in some places those buttons have not only large signs with instructions how to cross street, they also talk to you, that signal is accepted, or that you can walk now.

City center in Indianapolis is quite interesting, isn’t big though. Some features are interesting, for example, the police blocked the center from the cars, and made the center walking zone, which is nice and European-like. May be it’s only due to some performance event in the center, who knows, but it’s very nice, it brings some memories from Europe.

Let me talk a little bit about university – IUPIU, which occupies a lot of space, and has a lot of space between the buildings. I’m imagining how nice it is to walk between the buildings during blizzards in the Winter. That free space looks good in Summer – a lot of flowers, some sculptures, fountains, very nice. The abbreviation of the university is so strange, and hard to pronounce thoug.

The last thing about the city – historical museum, or how it’s called, which located close enough to center, very close to the university, and is located on the shore of that human-built canal. Interesting place with statues of mammoths or mastodons, I’m event not sure what the difference between them. I expected them to be bigger though, and they are about 2.5 meters tall…

Indianapolis leaves mixed impression, it seems, that it isn’t a city, but rather, an overgrown suburb. It looks like something is missing from the place to be a city, and Milwaukee, even being smaller, but has that something.

Indianapolis

On my way back, I’ve seen some industrial America, with factories, smoking tubes and so one. My eye caught one of the names on those factories - LaSalle Steel Company. On my way from Chicago to Milwaukee few weeks ago, there was no industry entities – just suburbs.

I’d like to finish this story with a small description of what has happened on arrival to Chicago. One man was asking me to help him with money to buy ticket for him to his home in Wisconsin. That man hadn’t a look of someone that you should help, rather opposite, so I didn’t help him. And the reason for that is that I’ve already helped to one more trustworthy this year, and I do think, that that is enough, until next year :)

I want to go to Detroit next time, hopefully soon enough.

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Milwaukee

I’ve finally started my tourist season, I went to Milwaukee this weekend. Actually, this trip should happened in April, and later – in May, however, my friend with whom I should travel there changed his mind twice, which is unacceptable. After that, I thought and planned trip to Indianapolis, bought tickets even, but got sick, thanks to the office managers. Eventually I decided to go to Milwaukee alone.

I’ve used Greyhound buses from Chicago to Milwaukee, the ride takes about two hours, and luckily buses wasn’t too crowded when I’ve traveled back and forth. On the way there bus driver made few announcements, while on the way back another driver didn’t do:

1. The driver let us know, that everything that could happen on the bus is a subject to federal law.

2. He asked everyone to sit still, and do not go visit him or ask him anything during the ride, also he asked to call him by name, and do not call him “bus driver” under any circumstances.

3. Also he asked to switch phones to silent mode, and do not listen to loud music or talk loudly.

I’d like to emphasize, that security of the bus rides looks very similar to European ones – there is no security at all, they just checked ticket and ID. On the way back they even didn’t checked my ID.

The bus drove on highways during the trip, there is view onto some of the suburbs, shops, parkings, etc on other sides of the highways. The only things that popped-up time to time – balloons with suburbs names.

Milwaukee has a lot of seagulls, which are clearly visible in the sky, and they do a lot of the noise near river and lake. For some reason, there is almost no seagulls in Chicago, however it is the same lake near the cities. While I am writing about lake, in Milwaukee you can see large cargo ships on lake’s water, while there are no such ships near Chicago.

I walked around the city almost all day, while it was warm and sunny, even got some sunburns on my face and arms, the good thing that I had shirt with long sleeves. Once the day came to the end, and sun hidden beyond clouds, the weather become cold, windy and uncomfortable to be outside without proper cloth.

What was surprising? After visiting a lot of European cities and living in Chicago for some time, I was surprised, that there almost no people walking down the streets, or even using cars, in middle of Saturday. The only crowded place in the city is downtown. If you’ll have 15 to 20 minutes walk in any direction, you’ll probably end up being the only one the street. The impression is similar to visiting 100 thousands people city, and not bigger one as Milwaukee is.

Because there not so much people on the streets, it is hard to ask someone to make photo of you where you want to have a photo. I was near Wisconsin Center, where I’d like to get picture of me, and there was only one girl of unknown look, when I asked to make picture of me, she said – no. Second try was more successful – I was at Museum of Art, where I caught a girl on her run through the park. This experience is strange, very strange.

One more topic about seagulls – a lot of fish and fish parts are laying down on the ground near the lake. I guess, birds are fighting over the fish, and fish falls onto the ground and lake water.

Also I’d like to mention reverse bus stations, and tell that I heard a lot of German language from people of Milwaukee. Recently I saw a map of most used languages in US, except English and Spanish, here in Illinois it was Polish, and in Wisconsin – German, however I did not saw a lot of German titles or notifications anywhere.

There are many banks in Milwaukee, large buildings of US Bank, Chase, Wells Fargo, Associated Bank, which is very strange to see in smaller city. Also, there are many branches of smaller banks, that I’ve never seen in Chicago.

To conclude vision experience from the trip, I’d like to say that Milwaukee is typical American city with a lot of parking space everywhere in the city, however many of the buildings in the city has European-like exterior. Another interesting distinction from Chicago is that Milwaukee located on hills, and this fact decreases strength of the winds in the city, in comparison to Chicago.

Final words of this post – I can say, that Milwaukee – very appealing and cozy town, spending weekend there time to time could be very nice experience, relaxing from large city. However if you aren’t grow up there, the living there probably very boring, very.

Milwaukee

I’m planning to have another trip in two weeks.

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