A glorious, hot, brilliant summer day greeted me on arrival in Waukesha, Wisconsin, as did a Puerto Morelos Bara Bara sticker on the back of the car waiting to pick me up! Close by the mid-West USA city of Milwaukee, largest city Wisconsin, lies the sprawling modern city of Waukesha. It's past, of small town centre for the farming hinterland, has sunk under the layers of refurbishment of the warehouses and merchant's buildings. It sports intimate bars and culturally diverse restaurants that cater to the huge young, and more mature, middle class population that live in the sprawling and astonishing miles and miles of new development (McMansions) which is only interrupted by the odd corn field and mega mall.
Explain to me, how, if we build over all the agricultural fields, will our expanding populations have enough to eat?
The town has a very active social life and I experienced a dose of bars and restaurants and the warm welcome of new friends curious to meet the visitor from the South. It was amusing to see the very familiar Mexican ice cream man an indication of the vibrant Mexican community there as well. Close by, Milwaukee has the botanical Domes which must be a warm respite in the cold winters and a stunning Art Gallery which glows like sunlight on the glorious Lake Michigan. Designed by Santiago Calatrava - inside and out you are walking through the belly of a ship, or a whale, with continual reflections of the lake that brings the watery outside indoors. Its permanent Bradley Collection (check this link!) a definite triumph. The outside gardens host multiple weddings at the weekend. But who could not hark to the call of the World's Largest Fish Fry? Port Washington, a little to the North, hosts this annual event as a town charity fundraiser (and a celebration of Miller's Beer!). Staffed by volunteers and enjoyed by all, the characters of Port Washington were keen to have fun. Back in town a fabulous Saturday night Szechuan meal prefaced the morning breakfast gathering of the friends, big plates of food and tall glasses of drinks. Meeting Luke's parents was the morning highlight, they of course were warm and welcoming, a symbol of all that is good there. Just happened to find there was a polo match on at the Milwaukee polo club and armed with Taittinger and plastic cups (ingeniously made from water bottles) we enjoyed the brilliant sunshine to the pounding of horse feet and more people keen to have fun while Summer lasts. An extraordinary Japanese meal rounded the weekend out before a reluctant morning departure. You should shoot any pre-conceptions you harbour about this mid-West town out the door, it does have more than its fair share of bikers, it is true, but it is definitely not cheesy.