Back in Milwaukee, there was little time to rest. Just hours after we got back, we threw on our running gear and hopped into the car to head downtown. At Cathedral Square a race was being held, Storm the Bastille in honor of Bastille Day that coming weekend. Along with my Dad and Adrian we met up with my brother and cousin Kim, Selma, Jenni, Steve, Jake, Abby, and several of my brothers friends.
The place was packed with people in athletic gear throwing back beers before the race. Yup, thats right...pre run hydration Milwaukee style. After about an hour of hanging out the race was set to begin. The place was packed; it took us over 4 minutes to get past the start line and even then it was a barrage of feet scurrying through the streets. I attempted to stay with Jenni and Selma, but it proved too difficult with the flood of people. Instead Adrian and I took off in hopes to stay together through the race.
The 5 km passed fairly quickly, although it seemed more like 6+ if you count all the side running to avoid the slow pokes.
People lined the streets clapping, yelling, handing out shots, and spraying people down with water. We finally crossed the finish line 28 minutes later, which isnt bad considering the amount of people one must dodge.
Back at the finish line it was celebratory beers all around, only I was so beered out by that point of the week, I had to pass mine off. By 10:30pm we were back home relaxing and well ready for bed.
In the morning we were up early to hit the Wisconsin Athletic Club for a much needed workout after many days of too much food and too much drink. We got a good sweat on until we had to call it quits to shower up and meet my brother for an afternoon of fun.
We went back downtown and grabbed some delicious bloody marys at the very incredible Wicked Hop. For the remainder of the afternoon we grabbed lunch at Comet Cafe, made a run to grab some movie tickets for that evening, and even did a bit of shopping for some more, rather some new, travel gear. As you can probably imagine and as you can see from our photos we have been rocking the same 8-10 outfits and more importantly underwear for a year. It's high time we rotate some fresh threads into the ole backpacker wardrobe.
By 5:30, we were thirsty again and ready to meet my folks for Friday night, dinner and a movie. On the agenda for this evening, rooftop dinner and drinks at Benelux in Milwaukee's Third Ward, followed by Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson's new film, at the legendary Oriental Theater.
Dinner was fantastic, but what's more fantastic is this place's beer menu. After spending over three months in Central America where your choice between beer is non-existent, to this place with 40+ pages of beer from tiny pockets of the country and all over the world was rather overwhelming, but awesome.
We arrived at the Oriental in time to purchase a final cocktail for the evening, find some good seats, and enjoy some of the musical artistry of the organist on stage.
Soon it was movie time and the organist slipped through the stage floor with a wave, followed by applause by the crowd. The movie, for those interested, was FANTASTIC! Possibly my favorite from Wes Anderson. Certainly worth a look.
After the movie we headed back home with the folks. In the morning it was up rather early again as we were driving up to Sheboygan or "She-bro-gan" as Adrian likes to call it, for some good ole family time. First up was lunch (or dinner as any midwesterner would understand) with Grandma H. and a visit back at her house, which is always a nice time, followed by a trip over to my other Grandma's place to celebrate her sister's 95th birthday. Wow!
Most of the family was there. We spent our time catching up after a year away, sipping some iced cold beer (on yet another scorching day), playing ladder golf and even shooting a little hoop.
By 5ish it was time to pack it in for the drive back to Milwaukee. With hugs and kisses it was "goodbye" until Christmas.
About an hour later we were back at my brother's place. We dressed for the evening and headed out for our first stop: 2 Bucks- a place where most beers and cocktails are $2, $3 for the very premium stuff... This place is insane. We followed that up with a stop at Von Trier, an awesome local German beer spot, then to County Clare, an awesome local Irish hotel, and finally to our destination, Bastille Days Festival.
Upon arrival we B-lined to the front of the stage, where Big Sam's Funky Nation from New Orleans, LA had just kicked off. The next hour+ was spent dancing up a massive sweat to some awesome funk on a hot night in Milwaukee. I couldn't write it up any better.
We hung out after and caught up with old friends, until we more or less closed down the festival. We carried on to The Safe House, which truly is a Milwaukee Institution in all senses of the word, but a place I had never been. To most of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, this place was an old and very inconspicuous speakeasy bar down a dark alley downtown, and used to be a hangout for the infamous gangster Al Capone.
What is unique about this place is you need a password to get in. Luckily for MOST of us, we knew the password as it hasn't changed in like 40 years. The only one clueless of course was Adrian- the non-local. One by one we approached the hipster lady bouncer and whispered the magic 6 words to be allowed into the Safe House. When it was Adrian's turn, he approached the lady, and I can't be positive, but I'm pretty sure he whispered "Go Raiders".
It goes without saying that this was not the password, most particularly because we are in Packer Country in these parts. The rest of the group slipped through the fake book case, walked down the hall, and stopped at the bar to grab a drink and to watch on one of the many TV screens hanging around the bar, as Adrian did his stupid human trick for the rest of the bar's amusement. He was instructed to do a little dance, which of course for Adrian means doing his Ludicrous pop collar move. It appeared to be good enough for the lady and he was granted access. He joined us at the bar with a reception of applause. He had no idea he was being broadcasted throughout the bar, which of course made it even more awesome.
We finished up at Rouge Gallery and made it back to my brother's place for a chill out session and soon after sleep.
After a sleep in, we got in the car and made it back to my folks' place. It would be a day of outlet shopping for the ladies and a round of golf for the boys. The day was once again blazing hot, however, we were lucky enough to enjoy the comfort of store a/c, while the fellas suffered in the heat.
By 5ish we were back home and ready to get our BBQ going. The guys picked up steaks on their way home, and I cooked up some yummy homemade black beans burgers for Mom and I. We had sweet corn and a Thai-style prawn salad. Delicious.
We cleaned up and sat down for a Sunday night movie of Sherlock Holmes 2 and frozen custard from Culver's.
Monday was mostly spent getting some important business taken care of, photo backup, laundry, hotel reservation, etc, etc, etc. We hung out until around 2pm when my dad arrived home. We borrowed the car for the afternoon, going to the gym, running more errands, and meeting my brother for a matinee to escape from the heat. This time it was the movie Ted, which for the record, is funny if not a bit vulgar.
After the movie, we hopped back in the car to meet my friends for dinner for Brian Ninneman's 30th birthday. We chatted over dinner and drinks and stopped back at their place to say "hello" to their adorable new dog, Greta, and to grab a slice of this curious culinary invention, 'Butter Cake'. With our final goodbyes, we were back to the folks' house for our last evening together for a while.
The last day was spent running all over town, finishing errands, saying goodbyes. By 3pm we started south for O'hare airport. After some drama at the airport desk it was time to head to the gate. I bid my father fairwell with a big hug, and thanked him for such a great visit.
We could not have known when we booked our tickets 5 months prior, but this trip was just the break we needed before our last charge through South America. Big Thank You to everyone that made the trip so special, particularly Mom, Dad, and Bryan.
Goodbye for now!!