A Different Take On Mainstream

A QUICK TRIP TO MADISON, WISCONSIN

Salutations People Of Earth.

So I am currently in Baltimore, Maryland with patchy internet, and way too much food in my stomach. But you didn’t need to know that. I’m sure, as most of you are bloggers, that you understand when I say that I have a certain blogging schedule in my head, and when I can’t stick to it, I get really thrown off. So Yah, I’m getting really thrown off right now, as I wanted to post a food post last week, but couldn’t. And now, when I want to post the food post this week, I still can’t– as I do not have that time on my hands. So I hope you guys will still appreciate this on-the-road post about the first half of my mini trip to the random states of the USA. No offense Wisconsin.

       So I went to Madison for a few days last week, and I gotta say, boy is it cute! I honestly, literally do not have a good reason for going to Wisconsin. The whole thing was just really random, and really necessary, and there really isn’t much else I can say on the matter. Even so, for those city people ever wondering what the Midwest of America looks like– It is very wide, very spaced out, and very very clean. Something New York knows nothing about. Even LA can take a few pointers from Madison on how to keep itself clean.
     I stayed in a frat-house like situation over in the University of Wisconsin. The University basically dominates the place, as everything around it is quite quirkily metropolitan. Yet the minute you step ten minutes out of the vicinity of the campus, Madison quickly becomes suburbs with the occasional Target, and farther than that–farmland. From the perspective of someone who was only there for a few days, and who was mainly running around doing errands, I will tell you exactly what I discovered through my quick tour-around, and what are some things you can do, if you ever find yourself in Madison, Wisconsin. 

State Street: All these photos you see are of the University Campus’s Main Street. It’s filled of course, with the usual– Starbucks, Walgreens, Urban Outfitters– for some reason. But then you have all of these little independent shops and cafes, mostly with a boho feel. I actually stumbled upon this store called Ragstock, which sold everything from rows of thrifted denim jackets, to imported Japanese jersey shirts. The place was literally awesome, and I indeed picked up a denim jacket for $15. Cheapest decision of my life. There was a free Art gallery for more independent artists, there were random college dropouts standing barefoot on the streets with their guitars– there was even a little cinema, showing everything from the mainstream to the local. There were college kids everywhere, either walking, or riding on something with wheels, and every where– I mean everywhere–there was beer. Apparently Madison is America’s #1 party city. Did you know that? Because I didn’t know that. 
Wisconsin State Capitol: That great majestic looking building over there just at the edge of State Street, is of course, the state capitol. They offer free tours every hour, and I don’t really know much else about it as I didn’t have time to go, but it is supposed to be very beautiful, and the next time I am in Wisconsin, I really want to go. 

–The Campus: So this is quite a spread out campus, with many gorgeously architectural buildings, and interspersed throughout different Madison neighborhoods. However, there are bits, mostly near State Street, that very much resemble the traditional campus. There are long stretches of grass, shiny roman looking buildings with random greek letters on them, there are college kids cycling, blading, skating, whatevering–and it honestly is just so much fun to sit on some patch of grass or walkway, and just take it all in. I have not ever studied in a traditional campus yet, as last year I went to a commuter’s community college. This meant that there were thousands upon thousands of varying students each semester, and because my community college is reputed to be very good for transferring to a four year, many international students start there before applying to 4 year universities. Which is why my campus was a lot more serious and study related. Also, most of us had full/part time jobs. This campus however– literally has snaking suburban streets of frat houses, Greek letters spelled out proudly– where the resident student body, starting from around 10 AM, and not dissipating till around 10 PM, will literally, be blasting music, and guzzling huge tankards of beer. I don’t know– is this normal for all university campuses, or is it just more pronounced in UW? It was cool to watch any way, like it was straight from a movie. 
Errands: Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to venture outside of the UW Campus as much as I wanted to, but from the tiny amount that I did see of outer Madison, I will say that A) the people here were extremely nice. And when I say Extremely Nice, I mean it to the point that when I asked a person who worked in CVS for directions on how to get to a certain place, she stepped outside of the drug store and gave me explicit directions. With appropriate hand gestures. And a smile. So foreign. B) Though everything seemed very flat and widely spaced, Madison seemed to harbor little gems of quirkiness in hidden corners. For example, the yellow train you see in this picture is a restaurant, I think. I mean, that is such a cool idea! Why not have a restaurant in an old train car?  
Well, I hope that you enjoyed this little on the road post. Like I can’t believe I was able to squeeze this in– I am legit so proud of myself. 
Stay tuned for a post on my trip to Maryland! Also, for that Union Square food post I promised you. Man, I want to publish that already! 
LoVE, 
Cynical Duchess
Have you ever been to the Midwest? 
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