We took a short trip to Madison, Wisconsin, before school got started. It was a pretty good trip. The only downside of it is that it is too short. (I learned over the years that “The vacation/weekend is too short” is a fairly common response when you ask the question. I do mean it here, though.)
We booked our hotel through Hotwire.com. Based on my reading and experience, Hotwire is very good at getting good deals on hotels. You do need some flexibility to get the best deal, because it does not tell you exactly which hotel you will get until after you make the payment. But the savings can be pretty significant.
We got a room for 58 dollars per night at La Quinta, with the normal price around 120 dollars. Our room was nice and clean, with a king size bed and a sofa bed. Supposedly, there is free wireless Internet service, but I didn’t bring my laptop so I cannot verify that. We got free continental breakfast: bagels, muffins, cereals, and such. (I am actually surprised that George Carlin has not made fun with the term “continental breakfast” yet.) My son was pretty excited in staying in a hotel. He and I spent good time swimming in the hotel pool.
We met my friend James Luetkehoelter and his wife Kim. James and Kim hosted us at the Great Dane Pub & Brewing Co. in downtown Madison. It is a pretty popular joint with a good selection of freshly brewed beers. I am not a big beer fan. The only beer I can really say that I enjoy is Guinness. Granted, I haven’t tasted many beers. I remember my first time with my Guinness fondly. It was in Dallas, Texas, during PASS conference last year. I was reading Angela’s Ashes at dinner in the hotel, and thought a Guinness would go well with it. It was really great.
Anyway, at the pub, I ordered Emerald Isle Stout, the closet thing to Guinness I can find on the menu. It is not bad, but certainly not in the league of Guinness. Here is a picture of it. Prince Roy, this one’s for you!
Madison is the capital of Wisconsin. It looks very nice. We later learned that during the weekend we were there, there was a Nazi march in town. That’s kind of creepy. We learned from the locals that Madison is a pretty tolerant place, with all kinds of people living there. It is common to have demonstrations and counter-demonstrations all over the city. In fact, there was an anti-Nazi rally that weekend when people learned that the Nazis would do a march.
Here is a picture of the capital building.