Day 19: My weekly big bicycle ride

My last day of vacation dawned hot and sunny, but I was not to be deterred from the desired cycle ride around a lake. Madison has 3 lakes of different sizes. We went kayaking on the smallest Lake Wingra, and people watched on the terrace at the largest Lake Mendota, but the mid-sized Lake Monona just begged for a cycling trip.
Armed with a bike and a big biking map I set out for the ride through charming lakeside neighbourhoods and parks. Biking in Madison is Very evolved, with bike paths all over the city, and there are Rules to be followed! A lot of the route around the lake had almost no traffic, making it a pleasant, unpolluted ride that took me a little over 2 hours to complete.
Rukmini worked while I cycled, then we met up for more food and more shopping before heading home for a home-cooked Palak Paneer meal (and a sinful cupcake).
Uploading photos is going to take some more time, because I’m all packed and checked in, ready for my flight back.
And that is the end of my wonderful vacation!

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Day 17: On foot in Madison city…er..town

Yesterday was my day about town while Rukmini went to work. I started off with a leisurely breakfast at Starbucks with an eyeful of the Capitol across the street.
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Fortified by the cookie crumble mochaccino, or something like that, I started my walk around the Capitol square, taking in the sights, and the museums (closed on Monday’s). Then came the tour of the Capitol, with an excellent guide and interesting stories, and a walk through the Senate and Supreme Court and other important offices of the Wisconsin government.
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Rukmini joined me for a light Italian lunch at Francesca’s al Lago, then took off again while I walked over to the Monona Terrace designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, overlooking the Monona Lake at one side and the Capitol at the other. I have the FLW coloured pencils jigsaw puzzle, and I so wanted to buy the transparent colouring books and the suncatchers, but settled for the fridge magnets instead, to be able to stay hands-free while walking around, rest of the afternoon.

I then strolled over to State Street, the #1 attraction in downtown Madison, taking in the eclectic shops full of pretty, colourful, mostly useless stuff, and couldn’t help buying a few for myself.

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After being on my feet for 5/6 hours, it was time to give them a break, (read: to be whisked off by Rukmini to get our nails done). Oh bliss! Foot massage equals rejuvenation, and fresh local beer and cheese curds (local favourite pub snack) gives a spurt of energy for…..shopping!
We ended the day on a (relatively) light note with some sushi at Muramoto (numerous and excellent vegetarian options for me!), and an episode of our favourite TV show!

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Day 16: Falling in love… With Madison

My friend, Rukmini, came down to Chicago yesterday to drive me to Madison, the final leg of my very exciting holiday. Everyone I spoke to before that was amused by the contrast between the big city and small town vibes, while I was thinking about putting up my feet and relaxing all the 3 days here.
We had a cheerful 2-drive up, singing along with the latest Bollywood numbers, and laughing over inane matters. Pulling into town, Rukmini decided to give me an orientation to the town. Instantly I was a fan! There was the Capitol building, the University campus, and best of all, the lakes!
Later in the evening, we went kayaking on Lake Wingra, how could I not be supremely happy? All thoughts of chilling out flew through the window, and plans were made afresh for cycling and walking about.
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Next we headed to Memorial Union on Lake Mendota for some locally brewed beer and spectacular sunset.

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Finally we strolled down State Street and got some night shots of the Capitol before calling it a night.