This will be a blog about Minnesota seen through the Dutch eyes and some of the comments during their stay in Minnesota.
The weekend ended with me showing off the picture of my rainbow trout to anyone who would stand long enough to see it.
I know my hubby and his Dutch co workers have had a ton of laughs as I ask each person unexpectedly around our hotel in Eagan, MN if they would like to see the picture of my fish. Now that I have exhausted all friends, relatives, and most of the Twin Cities resident population.
Would you like to see a picture of my fish? Of course!
Maybe a closer look?
This was the trip that had been planned for two years. Last year personal tragedy stopped this trip from happening. This year Mother Nature threw in a springtime winter blizzard to add to my planning anxiety. Even as I traveled to the location on Saturday morning I had my doubts this clinic would still be conducted. This two hour trip from the Twin Cities to Southeast Minnesota had the perfect ending for me, the catching my first rainbow trout ever, in Minnesota, and on my fly rod.
I started my trip to Whitewater State Park with a goal. Cross off getting my first trout by fly fishing on the Whitewater River.
This year I started my plan to visit this river from my office in the Netherlands. While I was researching the Minnesota State Parks events calendar, I saw that a trout clinic was being offered for disabled veterans on trout opener (April 13th) while I was in Minnesota. Luckily for me, I qualified for the program and quickly sent in my personal information needed to participate. I received a quick response that I had been signed up and more information would be provided closer to the event.
It had been two years since I last used my fly rod. That season I was skunked by trout in several locations, but I had fun catching sunfish on my fly rod. I have been itching to get back out and try my luck again.
I watched the weather reports all last week hoping that the blizzard would miss the southern part of Minnesota where the clinic was being held.
As I drove across the flat and rolling hill farmland towards my destination my doubts increased that the clinic would be cancelled once I reached the park headquarters.
Suddenly the landscape changed from farmland into a sandstone bluff valley as I came to the edge of the park. I crossed a river, turned right towards the park headquarters and saw that the river was lined with trout fishermen. Trout opener seems to be a “Big Deal” here!
Pulling into the park headquarters and inquiring what I needed to do for the clinic, I received a strange look, was asked if I was a veteran, and then was instructed that I would have to take a rough road to get to the group camping where the two day clinic was being held.
Maybe, the park employee seeing I was a women and still dressed in my city clothes had his doubts that I had been on many unimproved roads in the past. I laughed to myself as he explained I could have trouble getting to the site. If I could only show him an instant mental download of all the crazy trail roads I have taken vehicles in my adult life (not mentioning my military career) he might have retracted his caution comments to the well dressed lady who stood in front of him.
I exited the park headquarters opened the hatch of my Subaru and changed into my fly fishing Wonder Woman outfit to prepare for the “rough road”.
I arrived without issues at the group camping site nestled along the Whitewater River between the sandstone bluffs.
What a perfect location! I thought, as I walked up to the cabin that contained the sign up desk.
I was warmly greeted by a group of volunteers and Sara Holger the Whitewater State Park naturalist.
This clinic was offered to disabled veterans as a 100 year celebration of Whitewater State Park in conjunction with the veterans group Project Healing Waters, Minnesota Trout Unlimited,and Fly Fishers International (FFI) . The purpose of the clinic is to get disabled veterans out into nature and introduce them to the sport of fly fishing.
I loved this weekend of fly fishing with fellow veterans and will write more about my experience in a future blog.
Thanks again to all who helped me catch my fish.
One more picture for those who missed it. As this beautiful trout will not see a fry pan.
©️ The Cedar Journal, 2019, all rights reserved.
The temperature hit 70F (Obviously that is not today as a howling blizzard is going on outside the hotel window), I decided that I would start the day with a hike at William O’Brien State Park located along the St Croix River. Then follow the St Croix River to Hastings, Minnesota where the river finally enters the Mississippi River. I would find a couple of new treasures along the way.
When I started my migration vacation to Minnesota, the tulips in the Netherlands were just starting to bloom.
I received pictures from the hubby that even more in the back garden are showing colors.
I had on my “things to see” list this vacation Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. I had recently seen a blog by Linda Staats Photography of her recent trip to the Conservatory where she photographed tulips. Now, I couldn’t put off my visit any longer. Must see tulips!
I headed out of my rented cabin located on Big Marine Lake towards St Paul one early morning this week. The best time to photograph tulips are before the heat of the day.
I couldn’t believe that there was a long line waiting to enter at 10 am. Then it struck me that it is Spring break for several school districts in Minnesota. Families were visiting the zoo. Would I be lucky enough to have the conservatory to myself?
I would not! A perfect place for older adults to escape the noise of small children. It was crowed with photographic crazy seniors all elbowing each other to get the best pictures of sunken garden.
This reminded me of the extremely full paths at the Keukenhof during peak tulip bloom. Only on a much smaller scale.
Yes, I elbowed my way through the crowd and captured what I had come to observe, tulips. Avoiding the dirty looks of several passive aggressive Minnesotan seniors as I quickly proceeded with a smile.
Using both my HP camera and my cell phone camera to capture images. Sadly only my cell phone images are available for this post due to cable issues. The joys of travel, storage units and who knows what darn box that cable is in.
Violets in the sunken garden.
As I exited the sunken garden I strolled through the other areas of the conservatory finding the humidity changing my hair from straight to curly within minutes.
The huge palms and banana trees reach to the roof of the Conservatory and makes the entire place feel like the jungle areas where most of these plants originally existed.
The ferns and bromeliads were wonderfully exhibited on the sides of walls.
The conservatory also contains a Japanese themed area. On exhibit was bonsai azaleas with accent plants of tiny hosta.
The conservatory has a nice store where you can purchase the worn out tulips that they pull from the sunken garden.
I enjoyed this visit to the Como Park Zoo.
I would recommend this free admission conservatory if you are visiting the St Paul/Minneapolis area.
©️ The Cedar Journal, 2019, all rights reserved.
Regards from Minnesota…
I started my yearly Spring migration to Minnesota at the end of last week and the start of that journey was Schiphol.
Each time I fly through this airport I learn something new.
Things are in constant change and even as a frequent traveler I still have to keep on my toes as to the changes at this Amsterdam international airport.
I made it through the entire check in (with luggage) and security process in less than half an hour. Leaving me with three hours to wait at my gate prior to departure.
The one thing that Schiphol has that I always find relaxing is the Rijks Museum at the airport. This free to visit collection of art by Dutch Masters is a must see. It was a perfect way to spend some of my waiting time.
Enjoying world class art while traveling makes me happy.
I would suggest this small but beautiful stop if you have extra time to wait at Schiphol.
Copyright, The Cedar Journal, 2019, all rights reserved
Most flights coming from the USA into Amsterdam arrive at arrivals hall 3. It is not very clear when you get off the airplane where the bus tickets can be purchased. In the past you could purchase on the bus with cash from the bus driver. That is no longer the case on the N397 or the 300 as you can buy a ticket from the driver but you must be able to use a credit card or bank pass that works in Europe.