Friday, August 03, 2012
On Friday the 20th, after hearing the devastating and shocking news about the shooting in Aurora, we reluctantly tore ourselves away from CNN because we had tickets to a noon art exhibition, "Rembrandt in America", the largest collection of his work ever shown in the United States. We headed to uptown Minneapolis where the Institute of Arts museum is. It was raining heavily, making it difficult to see the street signs, and we got lost. Partly it was my fault because there are two sets of numbered streets, and I got confused trying to find the intersection of 3rd and 24th. Riding in the wheelchair from the parking garage to the museum, I got absolutely soaked.
I tried not to drip on anything as we snuck into the Rembrandt exhibit a bit late. There was a large crowd already gathered inside, and since I couldn't see anything stuck in the back sitting in my wheelchair, we just waited patiently until there was room for Dan to push me closer without blocking anyone else's view. We didn't have to be out of there at any certain time, which was nice because it afforded me the luxury of reading all the informational placards about the paintings and examine the use of color and technique with my extremely amateur eye. There were 50 paintings in all. I learned a lot about Rembrandt and thought it was all pretty cool.
Then we were just going to take a peek at a few other things in the museum, but the place was huge, spread out on three levels. Every time I thought I was done looking around, I'd see something else I just had to check out. I especially liked the sculptures, an example of which is above (non-professional photos are allowed as long as you don't use flash). Before we knew it, it was 3pm, and I needed to get some food. We weren't able to get to everything that interested me, so if I ever go back to Minneapolis I need to visit the museum at least one more time, maybe two, to take it all in.
After the museum and getting lost AGAIN, we went to an uptown restaurant called Pizza Luce, where all of their pizzas can be made gluten-free. I had never had gluten-free restaurant pizza that tasted decent (what I've tried in Sioux Falls has been atrocious), so I was eager to give this a shot despite it probably being a bit outside my usual carbohydrate limit for a meal. Dan graciously volunteered to split a 10-inch pizza with me. There were some interesting gourmet choices on the menu, but we played it safe and ordered a "classic" one with pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushroom, bell pepper, onion and mozzarella. I had a Greek salad on the side. Best gluten-free restaurant pizza I've ever had. This chain has seven locations, so if I ever get to one again, I might get more adventurous and try their Shrimp al Pesto or Spanish Chicken.
After making our mouths and tummies happy, because we were near-ish to downtown Minneapolis, we went there to have a look around. Got there and found a parking garage without too much trouble, but got a little mixed up once Dan got me out in the chair. But we did locate the Nicollet Mall, which reminds me of the 16th Street Mall in Denver in that it's outdoors and accessible via shuttle. We found the statue of Mary Tyler Moore modeled on the opening credits from her TV show in the 1970's where she is in downtown Minneapolis tossing her hat in the air.
There are no skyscrapers in South Dakota, so I thought the Minneapolis skyline was impressive. We went into the tallest building in the state, which is supposed to have a lot of nice shops, but it appears the current economy has taken a toll as several have closed and the building is mostly office space now. It still looks impressive from the outside though. One nice thing about downtown is that there are indoor bridges across busy streets. They were built so people wouldn't have to freeze to death going from building to building in the winter, but we used one simply because it is much easier than trying to get a wheelchair across an intersection during rush hour.
By 6pm, I was all used up and more than ready to go back to the hotel. After only one wrong turn, we returned safely to Eagan. I alternated between watching news updates on CNN, doing stretches (I brought my Therabands) and reading in the semi-comfy chair until time to turn in. Had only gotten a few hours of sleep the two previous nights, resulting in sore and cramping muscles despite medication, a microwavable heating pad, extra strength store brand Icy Hot type patches that gave me a rash (apparently I'm allergic to the adhesive), supplemental magnesium and coconut water. But I was still in better shape than usual for a vacation, so I looked forward to one more day of sightseeing.
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