Tuesday, 31 October 2017

One Day in Indianapolis

At the end of September, in an attempt to escape the stress caused by the inquiry project, Julcsi and I decided to catch the Campus Commute shuttle from Bloomington to Indianapolis for the day. Indianapolis is the state capital of Indiana, and it's conveniently just an hour away from Bloomington, so a day trip can be arranged easily. The bus connections here are not the best in general, so Campus Commute is a life saver! It operates between the two IU campuses (yes, there's another one of those in Indy) during the week and a round trip will cost you $23.

We managed to choose an incredibly hot day for our Indy excursion - it was 35 C!! What a day to spend seven hours wandering outside! At the same time, it was perfect because everything looked so pretty and we really got to experience Indianapolis at its best.

The shuttle dropped us off at the State House, which looks a lot like the Capitol in Washington, DC.

After our photo session, we decided it was time to have breakfast, and headed towards the Monument Circle, which is the very centre of downtown Indianapolis. I instantly liked the city - it's very much like New York, only smaller and, as a result, with a more intimate vibe. Sex and the City-type music was playing out in the streets, and there were lots of lovely-looking restaurants and coffee shops everywhere. We ended up going to a breakfast restaurant called Yolk for some West Coast Crepes.

The Indiana State Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

Our next stop was the Indiana World War Memorial Plaza. There, we also met a very friendly squirrel (seriously, squirrels and groundhogs have been one of my favourite things here in Indiana!).

The Indiana World War Memorial in the background.

Hello, squirrel!

The Plaza continues behind the Memorial.

The State House from another angle.


Next, we headed for the Canal Walk - a waterside promenade perfect for jogging, sightseeing, or simply a peaceful afternoon stroll. You can also find gondolas, pedal boats and street art along the canal, so it's quite nice, especially on a hot day. I was a little bit surprised to find out that the canal itself was more like a very shallow pool (though no swimming!). I had imagined something along the lines of a romantic little creek, but the overall impression was pretty much that of an artificial river in a concrete jungle. Quite like a very, very urban Venice. Still, it was quite pleasant to be by the water, and - crazy as we are - we eventually ended up doing the whole damn walk, all 3 miles of it (almost 5 km)!

Indiana State Museum.

By this point, the heat got to us, and we needed to head inside for some air conditioning. We decided to have some cold drinks at the coffee shop of the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art. The museum itself seemed interesting, too, so if we still have time, I'd maybe like to go back to explore more.

The Eiteljorg Museum is right next to Indiana State Museum.

Once we'd regained some energy, we ventured out again, and found the "I Am Indy" sign...a cool view with Indy itself in the background!

The State Museum looked pretty cool from the outside, too - let's see if we'll get the chance to go there before the Fulbright experience is over.

Finally, we did the Canal Walk in its entirety before catching our bus back to Bloomington.

We found an urban library.
The bridge leads to the zoo.


We both really enjoyed the day and highly recommend Indianapolis as a destination. I think three days is all you need to see everything there, but it's one of those places where the atmosphere is enough to make you love it, so you might even be up to spending more time in the city.

My next post will be about Boston - not yet the conference aspect of it, but the city itself. Stay tuned!

Monday, 30 October 2017

UncommonGoods to Spark Up Your Wanderlust!

Have you heard of UncommonGoods? I hadn't up until a few weeks ago when I discovered their adorable, also travel-related products. Now I'm obsessed! I'm in love with the scratch maps, personalised travel milestone markers, and map pillows, among many other things. And not only are these products adorable, but they are also often handmade, using recycled materials. UncommonGoods is devoted to sustainability as well as treating all people with dignity and respect, and they work with several suppliers from artists to small manufacturers. How amazing is that? I love this company!

Scratch maps are so cool!

With Christmas coming up, UnCommonGoods is a lovely alternative to the stressful experience of running around in busy shopping malls. (Have I mentioned just how much I prefer online shopping?)

I don't know about you, but for me, it's important to give personal gifts to my nearest and dearest - it makes the experience that much more special for everyone. UncommonGoods makes this really easy - I mean, just  check out all these personalised items! In addition to the lovely travel milestone marker pictured above, you can find these, for example:

Custom Map Pendants.

Custom Map Shower Curtain.

There are also special collections for your loved ones. Among the  ideas for your wife, I finally found something I'd been looking for forever: the What I Love About You by Me book. I swear this is one of the best things you can give to your partner!
I also think these Chakra Bath Salts would be heavenly, and you can arrange them into the order of the rainbow flag, which is always a bonus. I know my wife would love these!
Finally, UncommonGoods also caters to  kids' needs. I'm an aunt to the most adorable, now 7-year-old twins, and I'm always trying to do my best to impose my wanderlust on them. I highly support giving books like this to children:
A personalised road trip experience for the kids!
I also think any child would love getting to colour in their pillowcase, and when you're colouring in a map, it's even better. Education through being naughty!

Are you as excited as I am yet?

**This is a sponsored post in collaboration with UncommonGoods.com. All pictures from UncommonGoods.com used with permission.**

Featured Post

35 Random Facts about Finland - My Contribution to #suomi100!

On December 6th 2017, Finland will have been an independent country for one hundred years. To celebrate Finland's Centennial, as wel...