Summer Scenes

Last week we have friends from Canada and California visited and stayed with us for a few days. It was a mini-reunion of sort for my wife and her two friends, since all of them have not been together at the same time for about 20 years. I know Iowa is not really a tourist destination, unlike Niagara Falls and Disneyland area where these people came from, but just seeing old friends was enough for them to come.

Aside from enjoying each other’s company and reminiscing the good ‘ole days, we also tried our best to show them that visiting our place is worth their trip. Perhaps with this photos I can convince you also that we can be a tourist destination too.

We start with our immediate neck of the woods.

home sweet home

my wife and her friends having fun

We have other visitors too that frolic in our yard.

fawns in our yard

ducks swimming in the man-made pond

we are blessed to live in this idyllic neighborhood

We also showed our friends downtown Des Moines.

our State Capitol

downtown Des Moines as viewed from the Capitol (note the flag is at half staff)

Courthouse in Des Moines

We went and toured the Salisbury House in Des Moines. This mansion was built in the early 1900’s by cosmetic magnate Carl and Edith Weeks, and was modeled after the King’s House in Salisbury, England.

entrance hall

great hall

In the great hall is an antique piano. The tour guide even allowed my daughter to play it, after he made sure she adequately cleaned her hands. This old piano’s current market value is estimated to be almost half a million dollars.

antique Steinway concert grand piano

dining hall

vintage car in mint condition in the mansion’s garage

One of our favorite place to bring our visitors is to “The Bridges of Madison County,” which was featured in a book and film (starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep) with the same title.

Roseman Bridge, built in 1883. One of the few remaining covered bridges of Madison County

racing back through time and history

under the bridge

We also spent half a day wallowing in a nearby community water park.

floating in the lazy river

lining up to the water slides

Our friends’ visit was just in time for the annual National Balloon Classic festival held in Indianola, Iowa.

blowing up the hot-air balloons

Up, up, and away in my beautiful balloon!

my son climbing the stone wall at the balloon festival grounds

balloons coming in for landing

We also drove to the nearby state of Minnesota to visit Mall of America. This mall is the biggest in the USA. It is so big it has an indoor theme park at the center of the mall.

“Air Bender”ride

“Log Chute” ride

log ride crashing through the water

“Swing Along” ride

“Fairy Odd” roller coaster ride

With all the walking and touring, it was indeed tiring. But my family and our friends and their family, had a fun time together. Maybe next time it’s your turn to visit.

tired but happy feet (my wife’s and her friends’)

(*thanks for my “official” and “unofficial” photographers for the pictures)

Up up and away

Last week we went to National Balloon Classic, an annual hot-air balloon festival, held in Indianola, Iowa. It was a neat experience watching them take off and land. Maybe next time, we’ll have the opportunity to ride them too.

The green flag is on. Fire-up the balloons.

Almost ready for take off.

Lift off!

More balloons are fired up.

“Up, up and away in my beautiful, my beautiful balloon.” – The Fifth Dimension

When all the departing balloons from our area took off, we saw other balloons from afar. They are arriving for a landing.

The balloons have landed.

Time to party.

Goodnight balloons…..

Go fly into the sunset.

“Once you have flown, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you long to return.” – Leonardo da Vinci