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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