Friday, January 10, 2014

Travel: Twin Cities

Minneapolis–Saint Paul is the most populous urban area in the U.S. state of Minnesota, and is composed of 182 cities and townships built around the Mississippi, Minnesota and St. Croix rivers. The area is also nicknamed the Twin Cities for its two largest cities, Minneapolis, with the highest population, and Saint Paul, the state capital. It is a classic example of twin cities in the sense of geographical proximity.

The area is part of a larger U.S. Census division named Minneapolis–St. Paul–Bloomington, MN-WI. It is the country's 15th-largest metropolitan area composed of 11 counties in Minnesota and two counties in Wisconsin with a population of 3,422,264 as of the 2010 Census. This larger area in turn is enveloped in the U.S. Census combined statistical area called Minneapolis–St. Paul–St. Cloud, MN-WI with a population of 3,759,978 people as of the 2010 Census, ranked the 13th most populous in the U.S.(info from wikipedia)

During my vacation in Chicago last 2011, I decided to go to Minnesota to visit my colleagues from work who were there for business trip. My boss in Eden Praire also told me to come and he will tour me around the twin cities.

It was my first long distance travel using the railway system, and travelling via AMTRAK was fantastic. Based on my first time experience, the advantages of railways over flying are, huge seats, hassle-free boarding, great views of the country side, and most of all, cheaper. Flying, of course, is faster but you have to undergo extensive security check like removing your shoes and belts, opening your bags, etc. To check for AMTRAK's routes, stations or for ticket booking on your next travel, you can check their website at

I left Chicago's Union Station at around 2:00 in the afternoon and arrived in St. Paul/Minneapolis Station at around 11 in the evening.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

My Stop in MN
My boss picked me up at seven in the morning. It's Autumn so the temperature fell to as low as zero overnight and early morning then rose to around 20 degC at noon. The best way to adopt on this is to wear layers of clothes. You need to wear an under shirt, shirt, sweater then jacket. When the temperature rises over the day, all you need to do is remove one layer of clothe at a time.

Our first stop was on one of the lakes in MN. The combination of still water, autumn leaves and sunrise is a sight to behold so I kept shooting because in outdoor photography, time is of the essence.

After spending an hour or so in the park, we headed to one of the cafe in town to eat. We had heavy breakfast, then off to the famous Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.

The Red Cherry and Spoon

 St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral

 Basilica of St. Mary

After walking around the artsy park, we headed to the Saint Anthony Falls. This is where the early, and some became great, milling industries in MN had started. The companies before used the power of the water falls to run their grinding machines.
 Downtown Minneapolis

 Stone Arch Bridge

 Facade of the Old Pillsbury

 Washburn "A" Mill Museum

 A working medium format Camera.

My shot using the Medium Format Camera. 

After walking the Arch Bridge and the low trail near the old Pillsbury mill, we went for a bite at the nearest White Castle Burgers. We then drove to Saint Paul for a short stop along Mississippi River bank.

Minnesota Centennial Showboat

The temperature dropped dramatically after sunset. I did not have gloves and my hands started to feel numb so my boss and I called it a day for our photo tour in the twin city. He dropped me off at Xcel Energy Center to watch the hockey game between Anaheim Ducks and the MN Wild. We got great seats in one of the Center's Suites care of our company. 

 I had a great time in Minnesota. I enjoyed the train ride, the tour c/o my boss, the great photos, and the bonus game. Hope to get back here again...

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