09 June, 2012

Flyover country

I'm guessing when people refer to flyover country they don't mean the Rockies and all the wonders of Colorado, Wyoming, Montana et al. No. They are referring to the flat bit that grows corn and soya. States like Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska. And let's face it, it's hard when you're Iowa to compete with those (wild) western states with their mountains, bears, vast vistas and huge orange rock formations. Iowa reminded us of England after all that western splendour. It had fields and barns and farms. It's a bit like Norfolk without the old stuff. The problem is there's just a bit too much of it. Imagine Norfolk the size of the UK.


It certainly had its charms. Des Moines has a brilliant Art Center with a small but exceptionally well chosen collection of modern art (and currently a stunning Jackson Pollock on display). It also had some quirky and hip shops in the east village near the over the top capitol building. Having also visited St Paul in Minnesota, I have come to the conclusion that at the turn of the 20th century there was much competitive state capitol building going on - my dome is bigger than yours, we've got a cool golden statue of horses on ours etc.

We also visited the Living History Farms - with its three farms from 1700 onwards and its small late 19th century town. The period dressed docents were charming and knowledgeable and willing to talk on the quiet rainy afternoon we went.

Ames is a university town and without the university there may not be much to it. But I can imagine it is a safe, comfortable if a bit dull place to live and bring up kids. We were staying in a lovely Bed and Breakfast - highly recommend the Iowa House if you happen to find yourself in Ames at any point.

I'm afraid I didn't take a lot of pictures, mostly because I kept forgetting my camera as we were having so much fun with our friends. And we did have fun. We had a great week in Iowa. So there.

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