We had heard good things about Madison, WI.
We had also heard all the stereotypes about Wisconsin: cheese, farmland, beer, and brats.
Both are true.
Something you might NOT know about Madison is that it hosts an annual naked bike ride. Like in other cities, it is a demonstration to protest our dependence on oil… well, I think it might have more to do with people just wanting the rush of riding their bikes around town in the nude, but who am I to say? Anyway, shortly after we arrived in Madison, we walked out of our friends apartment and sure enough here come about 100 nude cyclists about 15′ from our shocked faces. Yeah, you want to read more about it, go ahead.
This past weekend we rented a car and drove the 2.5 hour stretch up to visit friends and family. I will say we have become quite the urbanites as it has been almost 3 months since we left the city and had driven a car. Immediately, I appreciated all the “green” and “open space” and “quiet” of being outside the city.
Our friends Robb and Jessie gave us a wonderful tour as we caught the tail end of the farmer’s market on Saturday which goes all around the beautiful Wisconsin capitol building (that just keeps making the national news these days). We tasted cheeses and had to buy both fresh flowers and some 10 year cheddar. The 4 of us sat out by the water at the Terrace, on campus, and took down a couple pitchers of beer before making our way to see family for dinner.
It was so wonderful visit with Tim’s aunt and uncle, Mike and Cathy, who have two young kids and live in a beautiful neighborhood on the near west side of the city, near the UW campus. Tim’s uncle Mike is a professor at the university and showed us his fleet of amazing bikes that he rides to school even in the zero degree Wisconsin winters!! I’m continually impressed with the hardiness of midwesterners and I’m praying my body makes some adjustments regarding cold tolerance.
Finally, we got to share a wonderful birthday and Father’s Day meal with friends from both Tennessee, Ruthie and Eric, and Washington, Robb and Jessie (a small world connection).
We are thankful for our wonderful weekend in Madison, our gracious hosts, and those nude bicyclists for making us feel welcome!
PS – some slang we have learned for a beer belly is a “Milwaukee tumor” and while we might have been an hour or so from Milwaukee, well, this might be the definition: