Recently we’ve been in Wisconsin, which is one of the more northerly states of the USA. We spent nearly a week visiting a friend of mine, Josh. Josh is another friend who I met online years ago and did not know in person until now. He foolishly signed up for a week of our company and even took the whole week off to show us around Milwaukee and his home town of Waukesha.
Josh met us at the train station and took us straight to a favourite watering hole where we tried the most popular cocktail in the state – the bloody mary. Now, you might think you’ve had a bloody mary before but not like this one!
Neither Luke nor I had tried one before and we didn’t really like the drink (too salty) but the slider (mini burger) and all the various things in the drink were great. In fact it was probably the best beef burger we’ve had yet on our trip!
Josh owns his own house and lives there by himself right now so there was plenty of room for us. Oh – and he has a dog. The largest Rottweiler I’ve ever seen. Poor Archer is afraid of climbing stairs after a few bad experiences so he stays on on ground floor and the bedrooms are upstairs and the theatre room is in the basement. Josh’s theatre room is really cool – proper theatre seats, a bar and a huuuuge screen. If I had the money I’d steal all his ideas for my rumpus room. He’s even planning a popcorn machine and cool theatre-style rope lights around the seats.
For our first outing Josh took us to the Discovery Centre, a place that housed a bunch of science stuff and an aquarium. Josh’s friend was working in the aquarium so we got to go behind the scenes and see the baby seahorses. They were fingernail sized!
The weather in Wisconsin was pretty cold when we were there – down to -12C at times, so doing outside stuff was not so appealing. We did visit a nearby landmark, Holy Hill, on which sat a church with a terrific view and beautiful stained glass windows.
We ate a a bunch of local places and enjoyed mac and cheese (one of my favourite American dishes by now), a traditional Wisconsin fish fry, some bbq ribs, Mexican and many other delicious things.
We ended up going out on the town twice. The first time with Josh’s friends Matt and Jackie, their friend Jenny and also Brenda, Josh’s wonderful girlfriend. We started out with a fancy steak dinner but the night took an unexpected turn when we walked through Milwaukee to see the Bronze Fonz (a life sized sculpture) and then went to a bar called The Safe House. To get in you had to know the secret phrase. No one warned Luke or I of this and so, of course, we didn’t know it. Jenny didn’t know it and Matt got it wrong so we had to dance around singing and basically acting like fools for the entertainment of the bar patrons who could watch us on CCTV. Once we got in we could watch other people doing similar thing. Oh, and the door to get in was a bookshelf that swung open.
The bar was full of spy memorabilia and funny trick things – for example, in the Ladies’ toilet there’s a picture of a nude male with a fig leaf. If you move the leaf a siren sounds and everyone knows you tried to look. There’s also doors that go nowhere, tubes for martini mixing that shoot drinks around the ceiling.. all kinds of things. It was quite a hilarious evening, and we discovered Jacqui and Matt will be in San Fran when we’re there so we may catch up with them.
Our last night out was to a bar called Kelly’s Bleachers, which Josh is always talking about on Facebook, so I was keen to experience it for myself. I could tell straight away that he wasn’t kidding about it being his favourite bar – everyone knew his name and the owner even gave me a couple of t-shirts when I expressed an interest in buying one. Everyone was super friendly and nice and there was a room out the back with a dj so we ended up dancing to cheesy music and having a great time. Matt joined us for a bit and there was much hilarity when he pulled out some glowsticks and they played ‘Sandstorm’ on the jukebox – video evidence was acquired but no photos, sadly.
We had such a brilliant time in Waukesha and I was particularly happy to meet Brenda and spend Thanksgiving with Josh’s family. Thanks for looking after us, Josh!