To continue from my last post from Chicago,
Cindy and I took the bus from Chicago to Madison, where she is currently studying foVietnamese for the summer. I stayed there for a week, and was able to meet all of her friends as well as get amazing local food (thanks for the recommendations Cydney!) and check out some of the local sights.
Initial thoughts about going to Madison: “Wisconsin? What the hell is there? Just a bunch of cheese and cows.”
After coming home from Madison: “Damn I’m going to miss this place. I wish I could have stayed longer.”
Coming from LA, Madison was a complete 180 for me. Instead of being full of smog, traffic, and crazy drivers– Madison was full of fresh air, bikes, and friendly people. Whenever walking around, I would always get friendly “hello’s” from the locals while being able to soak in the feeling of “community” that permeated through Madison.
See Madison was a bit like a bubble…but a really nice and pleasant one. It is the ultimate college town, with students taking bikes and mopeds to class, hanging out at cafes and restaurants after class on State Street, which is a huge street which connects the campus of the University of Madison-Wisconsin to the Capitol Building. Interestingly enough, cars are not allowed to pass through this area, which makes it extremely pedestrian-friendly and bike-friendly as well.
Life seemed to run at a very comfortable pace in Madison. I never felt rushed or anxious during my time here. This brought me an inner-calm which I cannot put into words. I could easily see myself living there–grabbing an ice cream cone on a hot day, heading to the lake, and relaxing with a beer-in-hand, while reading a nice book with Cindy by my side.
Anyways daydreaming aside, I whole-heartedly enjoyed my experience there and highly encourage other people to go visit. It is right next to Chicago as well–so you could get a 2-for-1 experience! Anyways, onto the photos:
First place on the list: Husnu’s. A local favorite, and the first restaurant that Cindy took me to. A turkish-and-Mediterranean joint, and Cindy couldn’t quit talking about the olive oil there (which was divine).
Afterward, we went to “The Daily Scoup,” which is Madison’s most famous ice-cream place. Cindy kept on raving about the ice cream there, and it did not disappoint. Creamy and full of texture… oh man I already miss it.
Then we headed to Cindy’s dorm– where I was able to meet all of her friends and also make some food in the communal kitchen. We seriously hung out there 90% of the time, just cooking, talking, chilling, and hanging out.
While I was in Madison, I promised to meet Cydney over at Material Lives. We met over the internet and had never met in person, but we were down for the challenge! We met over at Dotty’s Dumplings, another of the local joints. It was a great pleasure meeting her, and I even documented my feelings about the experience over at my wordpress blog. Long story short, she was an awesome and amazing person, and she really gave awesome tips about Madison while we were there. She was even generous enough to lend Cindy one of her bikes!
Surprisingly enough, Madison is full of hipsters. And along with hipsters are lots of cool and trendy vintage shops. Me and Cindy were able to check out a few.. and had a great time in the process!
Getting fat at a Gyro’s joint (supposedly pronounced “Euros”– who knew that?)
Walking around State street….
Cindy and I going to eat–when suddenly it started to pour like hell.
Going to visit the Capitol Building.
Beautiful architecture inside.
Walking alongside State Street, checking out more of the sights.
A quaint little boutique shop Cindy and I came upon–full of color and life.
Words could not be truer:
Studying at the amazing library at the University of Madison-Wisconsin. They even have robotic shelves that move when you push a button!
In Madison, they have a bike recycling center in which they take old bikes, fix them up, and then paint them crimson-red and hand them out practically for free to students. Cindy was able to borrow this from one of her friends, and she let me ride it around for a day or two. Do not let the looks deceive you: although it looks broken-down, it actually rode very comfortably. A great way to check out the local sights of Madison.
I was biking down State Street, and decided to check out the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.
One of the posters advertising their exhibit for the “Triennial” that they have–in which many Madison artists exhibit their best work.
Inside with their beautiful architecture.
Photos taken from the roof. Downloaded a few cool presets from PresetPond.com, a site with free Lightroom 3 and Aperture plugins.
A picture of the Orpheum, one of the classic old-school theaters.
More of the amazing architecture–with the light coming in.
A portrait of one of the helpful guides at the museum. I told her how impressed I was by the modern art at Madison and how it could rival some of the exhibits in Los Angeles.
What I especially loved at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art was that it wasn’t too big, but not too small. At times museums can get so exhausting because there is that obligation to check out every single exhibit. However in about two hours, I was able to check out almost all of the exhibits pretty well-indepth, with some energy left to go exploring for the rest of the day.
The Orpheum Theater from outside. I love this old vintage look.
Buildings I found in an alleyway.
Grabbing a hot-dog at a local stand.
A cute kid who was “working” with his grandpa (in the background).
In front of the Capitol Building with Cindy, having a picnic after grabbing some Five Guys, which is one of the best burger joints that I have ever visited. The burgers and fries (imho) are 10x better than In-and-Out’s.
The Juicy Juicy Insides.
Ton of people out for Madison’s “Outdoor Concert.”
Cindy Posing outside.
A beautiful sunset on the way back to her place.
So long story short… Madison is pretty awesome. Go check it out.