Do you ever have a whorlwind week that just exhausts you? :) If so, then you've been on vacation with my parents!!! I had to take naps and they were still going strong! (Mom is 71 and stepdad is 77)
Hubby and I went up on Friday night when he got off work and had a lovely dinner with my Dad/Stepmom before heading over to my Mom's house. Mom lives about an hour away from us and she wanted to leave Saturday morning at 4am to head to Wisconsin. My stepdad's sister lives there and is not in the best of health, so we wanted to make sure to see her while we still had the chance. As with all vacations, we had a couple of false starts before finally setting out about 4:45am. We drove for 11 hours total (plus pit stops and breakfast), arriving in Madison about 5:30pm. We went to see my aunt for a few minutes before checking into our hotel.
Sunday morning, we had breakfast, then it was off to the House on the Rock. I love this place! For $26, you can tour the entire grounds, including the world's largest carousel, the circus room, the streets of yesterday, the infinity room, etc. It is an amazing experience, but you are soon overwhelmed by all of the *stuff* that this guy collected. On the way home, I was worn out - we had spent about 5 hours touring through all of the grounds, so we stopped for dinner then did a bit of shopping. Madison has a 2-story Walmart, which was fascinating to me :) The first floor is a parking garage and you ride up an escalator to the store upstairs. When you come down to your car, there is even a escalator for your shopping cart... hubby wanted to keep riding that just for the cart fun :)
On Monday, we started our day with breakfast at Perkins, which is a neat diner-like chain with excellent food :) Then we were off to the aboretum (sp?) before going to Henry Vilas Zoo. The Zoo is in the middle of Madison, not too far from our hotel and is totally free. We did leave a donation of course! It was one of the best zoos I've ever been to! We spent about 3 hours there, then off to lunch at Culvers, which is a burger chain up there. Then we were off to Cave of the Mounds, just west of Madison for a tour. I have always been fascinated by caves - they are such geological marvels!
Tuesday, we started our day at Perkins once again, then off to the Olbrich Botanical Gardens and the Butterfly hatchery. Oh my goodness - what a GORGEOUS place! I could have spent all day in the gardens with a book and the waterfall beside me! Then off for a bit more shopping. On Sunday, when we had headed to the House on the Rock, we had noticed a cheese factory on the way, so we went to the Arena cheese factory to purchase some gifts. Since we were so close, we went to Talieson, which is Frank Lloyd Wright's homestead and took pictures of his home, the Midway farm, the Hillside school, and Unity Chapel, where he was orignally buried. His remains are no longer there, as his last wife's dying wish was for him to be buried in Arizona with her at Talieson West. Since the Talieson tour was $80/person, we stayed on county roads and took pictures from public access areas :)
Wednesday started the long trek back home. We left Madison at 5:30am and got back to Mom's about 6:00pm. Hubby and I pulled into our driveway about 7:30pm and totally exhausted. This weekend is a time for rest and school work :)
I will get pics uploaded as soon as I can! Between us and Mom, we took over 800 pictures this week!!!