Today was our last day with Jan and Marian, as well as the end of good weather – clouds were building up (along with the humidity), and rain was in the forecast. We knew that it would have to come eventually.
Milwaukee is an immigrant city, built by the thousands of hands that came from Germany, Poland, Italy, Scandinavia – to name a few. Many of these groups were very close-knit, and brought their values with them. Part of that included building places of worship which are quite plentiful throughout the city. Denny’s mother’s side hails from Poland, which has a strong presence in Milwaukee, and that provided the muscle to build the Basilica of Saint Josaphat. In honor of the Dick family heritage, at 11AM we congregated in the second pew in the church center to hear about its history, and the story of why it was built three times. The stone and woodwork are amazing and duly impress. Their pipe organ is unique in the fact that the top pipes are bent forward so that the full rosetta stained glass window can be seen from the inside. It doesn’t do much for the acoustics, but it makes a nice beacon of light. There are timelines in the lower church, a John Paul II pavilion, and tapestries on exhibit.
Continuing on the Polish theme, we searched for a Polish restaurant, and were luck to find the Polonez Restaurant in St. Francis, WI. It was on the way home for Jan and Marian, so off we went. Dill Pickle Soup, perogi, deviled eggs, potato pancakes, hunter’s stew – a little bit of everything, and it was all good. One of the owners was milling about the dining room, and we chatted with her a bit about grandmothers’ perogi recipes. A nice surprise was the live music – an older gentleman played his accordion and sang the tried and true songs of the old days. Fun stuff!!!!
After parting ways Denny and I headed back to downtown Milwaukee to see the Mitchell Park Domes. It’s a pretty neat set-up, with about an acre undress glass, segregated into three domes, each with its own theme. By this time we still had some lunchtime food to walk off and there was a lot of daylight still left, so we went back to the downtown Riverwalk to check out any areas we may have missed. The tone was definitely more weekend wind down. A good amount of groups were filling the patios – an art show was packing up. The main park area was quiet as well. I like that time of day – when the business of the city clams down and the gloaming transitions quiet night. We still felt full, but it was definitely time for a beer. Water Street Brewery had the perfect setting – right off the Riverwalk, indoor seating available, non-rushed service with local beer. They brew their own as well. Perfect wind-down!!!!!