Monday, July 9, 2007

there may not be a beach, but it's still a vacation

Well, it's been nearly a week since my last post, and a busy one at that. I finally have a little downtime today (nothing to do but pack, really), so I thought I take some time to write.

This has really ended up feeling like a true vacation, I must say. My days have continued to be filled with museum visits, great food, coffee, and books. Oh, and movies. Definitely have seen a lot of movies this week, mostly because it's such a great way to escape the heat. What more could I ask for?

On Wednesday, Andy and I celebrated the country's independence by going downtown....and eating at a British-style pub :). It was on Nicollet Avenue, sort of touristy, but still fun. Seeing as I drank a couple pints of Guinness, it would have been difficult for it not to have been fun. Later we watched the fireworks from a bridge near Andy's apartment. There were lanes for bikes and cars on the bridge, though very little traffic passed by -- most people ended up stopping and parking along the sides. The best word I have to describe the atmosphere is gemütlich; there is no exact English equivalent. The fireworks just seemed to slow down the world for a little while, put people in a good mood. It was nice, it really was.

Thursday evening, we visited the Walker, which currently has an exhibit on Picasso and American art. The museum was OK, I suppose. I mean, I'd go back, but the atmosphere was far from gemütlich -- in my opinion, it felt downright pretentious. The sculpture garden across the street, on the other hand, was great, yielding some good photo ops and a pleasant walk.

Afterwards, we headed back to Dinkytown and ate at the gorgeous Loring Pasta Bar. The food was good (highlights being our appetizer -- a steamed artichoke with buttermilk dipping sauce; and our dessert -- an incredibly rich, ganache-like chocolate cake. YUM!), but the interior of this place, well, WOW. It's like being inside a fairy tale, from the dripping candles and thick, draping fabrics, to the swirling brickwork and long, spindly tree branches reaching across the room. Absolutely beautiful.

Speaking of fabulous food and restaurants, have you seen Ratatouille yet? LOVED this movie! I couldn't help myself. I especially enjoyed the way they depicted what it's like when you truly taste your food, the whole experience of food. It wasn't anything too flashy, but I found myself going, "Mmm! Yes, it IS like that!" And also craving Valrohna chocolate. And fresh strawberries. And cake. And buttery steamed vegetables. And pastries. And soft French cheeses. And....well, you get the picture :).

We also saw Knocked Up and Transformers, both of which I liked (though not as much as Ratatouille). The former completely reminded me of many of my friends, while the latter was an excellent way to kick back for awhile. Kind of mindless without being mind-numbing -- all in all, good (albeit sometimes ridiculous) entertainment.

Well, I do have more to write about, but I'm no fool -- I know this post is getting long, so the rest will have to wait. You'd think posting every day would feel like too much, but I'm starting to understand that just the opposite is true.

In the meantime, enjoy this view of the city, courtesy of Andy; sit back, and we'll make a toast: to vacations! Of any and every kind.