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We drove into Minneapolis on Sunday.  It was an amazingly beautiful day – 70s with clear skies and soft, puffy white clouds.  We were torn between going hiking around home or exploring the city.  I somehow hurt my back Friday so the decision was pretty much made for us.  After a brief search on Yelp for a stellar brunch place, we set off for the city.  Now, I had never been to the famed Minneapolis before but I had heard plenty of hype about how bike-friendly it was and how active the people were so I expected to see lots of people running around, sweating a lot, and potentially doing all sorts of athletic feats.  I wasn’t disappointed.  The highway we took into the city passed Minnehaha Park.  The park borders the Mississippi River and there were tons of people biking and rollerblading through it.  From the Park we took a smaller thoroughfare through the industrial part of town and even there, we passed bicycle upon bicycle, people all ages getting out and enjoying the sunshine.

We navigated across the city to the Northeast part of town to Hazel’s for brunch.  We had “hippie cakes” – glorified pancakes with granola and fruit and an omelet with sundried tomato, spinach and cheese.  Hazel’s also featured donuts with bacon and giant cinnamon rolls, but after the amount of sweets we had devoured the day before at Francie’s, we had to pass them up.  I did try a sake mary though – a bloody mary made with sake instead of vodka.  I normally don’t care for bloody marys because I don’t like the taste of tomato juice, but the sake somehow cut into the tomato flavor and made it more enjoyable.

After brunch we headed to Nicollet Mall – an outdoor pedestrian mall that is bordered by large department stores.  I expected it to be like Lincoln Road back home, a pedestrian mall on South Beach lined with restaurants, clothing boutiques and jewelry/art stores.  Nicollet Mall was nothing like Lincoln Road.  Nicollet Mall was quiet, really quiet.  There were no restaurants lining the street, no street performers, and no cute boutique shops.  Their main stores were contained within high-rise buildings that also housed law offices, banks and other commercial businesses.  I suppose during the workweek it was a cool place to hang out.  Not so much on a Sunday.

We walked the length of the mall and found ourselves, quite by accident, at Loring Park where there was an art fair going on.  One and a half turns around the fair and we were left debating a purchase at three of the booths.  There were the standard booths featuring photographs, clay dishes, copper work and lawn ornaments.  But there were also some really cool new artists on the scene, including a mixed media guy who created graphic works on his computer, printed them on vinyl and then affixed them onto sheets of aluminum.  (We debated a purchase at his stall for quite awhile before walking away empty-handed).

After the art fair we headed for home.  It was a great introduction to the city and I look forward to going back.