Summer and winter
In the winter of 1996 I visited my aunt and uncle in St Paul, the less well-known of the Twin Cities, in Minnesota. Minneapolis being the more outgoing twin. Blue skies, frozen lakes, snow and a bitter dry cold are how I remember it. This summer I visited again with my family and was surprised to discover how lush, green and watery (not icy) Minnesota is! As a newbie in the States in ‘96 the most enduring impression for me was the apparent lack of people in downtown St Paul, until I discovered the balmy malls and sky-ways that opened up inside the skyscrapers. With my family in July this year, it was the heat that kept us off the street, but we enjoyed milling around in the air-con cafes, shops and spotless atria.
Soon after we arrived in the US, we visited the Asian Market in downtown St Paul, displaying colourful flowers and vegetables. We pottered around the market and my aunt bought some beans for a delicious curry she made later that day.
Our hosts enjoyed taking us to the local sights, including Minnehaha Falls . Jacob Fjelde’s sculpture, ‘Hiawatha and Minnehaha’ has stood near the falls on the banks of Minnehaha Creek, since 1912. Based on Longfellow’s poem, ‘The Song of Hiawatha’, the sculpture has been featured on postcards for over 100 years. After cooling off in the spray of the falls, we stopped for a soup and sandwich lunch in one of the many cafes and delicatessens in the region. The interiors of the dellies typically have high ceilings, dark wooden features and luxurious leather booths. The sausages at the Ukrainian Deli got a definite thumbs-up from my Serbian husband, Dragan.
Walker Art centre
Minnesota’s famous ‘Spoonbridge and Cherry’ sculpture by artist Coosje Van Bruggen (originally from the Netherlands) and her husband Claes Oldenburg can be found at the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden. It is full of fascinating sculpture from the 20th and 21st centuries and is definitely worth a visit.
It takes some doing to come up with something truly original, but in 1931 Calder did just that with his kinetic sculptures. They became known as ‘mobiles’ and this beautiful example employs Calder’s typically colourful abstract forms. I have always liked his work.
The Mall of America
I had fun at the Mall, especially when I voted that Dragan take Aleks on the log flume! People fly to Minneapolis from around the US to visit this enormous shopping mall. 
The Weisman Art Gallery
Gehry, a master of titanium clad architecture, created this beautiful gallery beside the Mississippi River at the University of Minneapolis in 1993 (see above). It houses an eclectic collection of modern American art, Korean furniture and Mimbres pottery, amongst other artefacts. Weisman was a Californian philanthropist, who made a huge contribution to the museum’s collection. 
A Trip to Wisconsin
We took a short road trip to the neighbouring state of Wisconsin and enjoyed a stroll by the Mississippi on a pretty little shore called Sea Wing Park in the town of Diamond Bluff.  The river marks the boundary between the two states. Our son Aleks paddled and I, as usual, chased uncooperative butterflies with my camera!
Paddle Steamer Tragedy
Sea Wing Park is named after ‘The Sea Wing’, an excursion paddle steamer that capsized due to strong winds in nearby Lake Pepin in 1890. 98 passengers of the 215 people aboard drowned in the accident and it was one of Wisconcin’s worst travel disasters. 
I thought I would leave you with a few impressions of the Stadium, Skyscrapers, Art & Mall.
My next blog post will be about our trip across Canada, from the East to the West!