Monday, 9 October 2006, Gladstone, MI
Since crossing the border from South Dakota into Minnesota last Tuesday, we have travelled through 2 states and into a 3rd, and crossed 2 time zones. After spending the night at the quaintly named 'Hole in the Mountain Campground' just outside Lake Benton on Tuesday night, we drove on toward Minneapolis, stopping on the way to check out New Ulm. This town is named for a town in Germany and we were curious as to how connected it was to its roots. It is obviously maintaining the connection closely and using it as their major tourist attraction. It even has traditional German music (oom-pah-pah) piped all over the city centre - and not the sort of music that is really Juergen's favourite!!! We managed to buy some genuine German bread at an outrageously inflated price, and I could have bought a t-shirt which read 'Pray for me, I'm married to a German'! We spent about an hour wandering up and down the main street, but don't really feel like it is an essential place to visit in Minnesota!
The drive through Minnesota was a bit more interesting than we had found in South Dakota. There were more trees, particularly surrounding the farm buildings, and the accompanying autumn colours. Also the countryside became a little hillier, which makes driving a bit more interesting than driving straight, flat roads. The farms seem to be smaller - the farm buildings (houses and barns) are closer together - and prettier somehow. They seemed, in general, to be better cared for. Most of the traditional barns were still usable, although we did see quite a few that looked like they were just waiting for the next gust of wind to fall in a flat heap! The autumn colours are amazing to me - I have never seen such a huge array in one place. The forests seem to have many different varieties of trees in various stages of colour and just when you think you have seen every possible of shade of yellow, red, orange and brown, another vibrant shade comes into view. So even though the drive through more farmland is not so interesting, the colours bring an unexpected 'wow' factor.
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