Minneapolis Institute of Art
Last week I had the opportunity to travel for work...to Minnesota. I'll be honest it's not someplace I have ever really thought about at all, or considered visiting in my spare time. However the training I had to do for work presented me with the opportunity to go. I left a day early so I could spend some time in Minneapolis before driving an hour and half north to the training on Sunday night.

Upon arrival I wondered if the cold was really all it is hyped up to be. On the way to my hotel I stopped at the Art Institute for a browse. It was about 3:00PM on a Saturday afternoon. The amount of people entering the museum shocked me. It turns out that they were showing some Terracotta Warriors, a big draw wherever they go. The museum itself was free but there was a $20 fee for the warriors. It was sold out the rest of the day and all day Sunday except for the 1130 time slot, which couldn't have worked out better for my theoretical Sunday. I decided to spend the money. I spent the next two hours wandering around the museum watching people and the weather through some massive windows. They layout of the museum left a lot to be desired in my opinion, it was very maze like. I felt like there were no real exits in case of emergency, you have to walk back through all of the exhibits in a wing to find some resemblance of an exit. I didn't like that at all, but the collection was pretty great. It had a little bit of everything and something for everyone. There were paintings, sculpture, statutes, models, stone work, you  name it, they had it. It was well worth the trip for me.

Minneapolis was significantly smaller than I expected. The population is a little less than 400,000. The drive from the airport into the city and finding my hotel was easy as pie. I'm not sure why but I had this vision of a big city. I stayed at the Marquette Hotel downtown only because they were having a huge winter sale. It was a nice place and very accommodating. It was a little hard to figure out where to park, but eventually I realized the underground garage next door. Once I settled in I started watching the news, big mistake. All it talked about was how cold the following week would be, the coldest week in four years. I started to do an inventory of my warm clothes in my bag wondering if they would be enough. Sunday was cold but it was not the coldest predicted day of the week, so I started to prepare myself for what my New England cold winter gage has taught me cold is. The wind was the brutal part on Sunday. It was maybe 4-10 degrees, but the windchill was terrible. My walk from the car back to the Art Institute was frigid (or what I thought was frigid up until that point).

I went straight to the Terracotta warrior exhibit when I arrived. It was packed even though they had staggered ticket times. You could use your smart phone for the audio tour which I quite liked or you could rent one of those museum audio things. There were a number of things to look at, but as far as actual warriors go there weren't that many. They had one of each type that has been found so far. The General was by far the most unique one since they have only found 8 of them. I thought the exhibit was fascinating and I learned a lot. I had no idea how many have been found. They have excavated three pits so far and have mapped out where the other pits are. In one pit alone there were 6,000 warriors. Each one is unique, no two are the same so far. They were commissioned by Emperor Chin, they first to unite China. He was obsessed with the afterlife and had them created to protect him in the afterlife. His tomb lies in the middle of all of the pits of warriors. The exhibit made me want to go check out the actual site in China, where you can walk above the pits. If it comes to a city near you, I recommend checking it out.