Our next planned stop after the Dells and Baraboo was Madison Wisconsin. Although we both received our degrees from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, Craig attended UW in Madison for one semester. He had an academic scholarship, but did not have enough money to live on campus and had to live at home in Milwaukee, as I did. But he loved the Madison campus and on our return, wanted to walk around and see the growth and changes.
He also has a cousin that lives in the Madison area. We got together with him and his grown kids for dinner one evening, and a couple of other short visits in the days that followed. We have kept in touch with Cousin John over the years, and it was so good to be able to spend some time with him in person. He is a very intelligent man, was an investment banker before he retired, and I enjoyed hearing his stories and insights on some of the events in the financial world in recent history. Yes, I listened to a Conservative! Because he knew what he was talking about and agreed the current situations did not pop up from a perfect world when the current president was elected.
John suggested we tour the Capitol building that has been restored to some of its past glory, and to stay for the Wednesday night concert on the square. We did both.
We enjoyed listening to a very well spoken guide who took us on a public tour of the capitol building. Although I had been born and raised in Wisconsin, I learned new things about the state. When the area was a territory one of the industries in the southern area of what would become the state was lead mining. The miners dug tunnels and often lived underground. They became know as "badgers."
A badger is a fierce creature that also digs, tunnels and live underground. Wisconsin became known as the "Badger State" and took the animal as its symbol. There are many badgers in the capitol building. The one pictured above is one of four that are on the lintels above the four wings off the rotunda.
We enjoyed the view from the balcony that goes around the outside of the dome. Although there were the usual afternoon storm clouds, the weather was quite nice.
Looking down over the grass of the square we could see a vast collection of blankets that people put down during the afternoon to stake out their places for the 7:30 PM concert. We knew we wanted to come back after dinner!
Fifty years ago, on one of our first few dates Craig drove us up to Madison from Milwaukee (about 80 miles) for pizza. I should have known he was what we now call a "foodie". He claimed a small off-campus pizza parlor named Paisan's had the best pizza in the world! At the time I agreed. My world was small, but my previous boyfriend was Italian and we ate a lot of pizza in Milwaukee.
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We were delighted to find the pizza was just as good as we remembered it to be. Wonderful thin crust, and yummy toppings.
After dinner we walked back to the Square and found a stone wall to sit on for the concert. We had not brought either a blanket or folding chairs.
This is our view of the large crowd of people who were there!
It was a beautiful evening, and I guess it is quite a social event. There are a lot of food vendors, people bring picnics, and there is no ban on sharing bottles of wine or coolers full of beer. No check points or fences, and only a small indication of police presence. I guess the educated population of this university town are quite civilized and don't require protection from themselves.
We did not stay for the entire concert because our seats were not very comfortable, we were tired, we dreaded the traffic when everyone went home at the same time, and to be honest the marimba music wasn't to our liking.
But we have good memories of the nature of the people of Madison Wisconsin, and were encouraged in our view of this country.