London – A City of Modernity and History

London Big Ben and Thames

A skyscraper, reaching towards the sky, lined in windows and shiny metal contrasts a centuries-old castle, dating back to the 1400s, built with old stones and complete with towers. These two things you would never imagine together, or expect to see side by side. But that is exactly what you see in London.

London is a city of contrast, known for its modernity and smog (which I never experienced) and high fashion. Yet, it is also one of the oldest cities with a rich history.

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Germany: The Midwest of Europe

me in marbugr

Close your eyes and picture everything that makes Minnesota home: the rolling green hills of the south, the tree-covered bluffs of the north, the many colors of the changing seasons. Now add over a thousand years of complex history, remains of ruins dating back all the way to the Roman empire, medieval cathedrals, and a distinct affection for beer. Now you’ve got a startlingly accurate image of Western Germany in your mind.

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Traveling the Diverse Landscapes of Taipei

This Minnesotan Atop the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial

Selfie while atop the stairs of the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial

The vibrancy and excitement found in Taipei surpasses New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo. It’s a city where street performances are done just for the sake of performing, where most of the locals are eager to try their English and where the collage of cultures supersedes even the USA (in many ways).

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Solar Roadways: A Dream Come True for Minnesota

What Solar Roadways could look like (graphic design by Sam Cornett)

What Solar Roadways could look like (graphic design by Sam Cornett)

For one of my other jobs, I drive a lot. I make squiggly lines all over the Twin Cities using freeways and side-streets. Roads are challenging in Minnesota for a myriad of reasons; as soon as icy (or snow-laden) surfaces are clear, summer construction begins (coning off lanes that we so desperately want). Commuters, truckers, bus drivers and cyclists know the pothole plague that besets the city after a rough winter (like we just had). Road repairs aren’t cheap either. With the amount of work, repainting, paving machinery and rising cost of petroleum based materials, the funds needed from local government will continue to rise.

What if there was a solution that made streets snow and ice free as well as making repairs quick? What if it illuminated lines on the road, could generate messages, warn drivers of danger and generated some of its own electricity? I may be a sucker for new technology, but I think everyone could agree that the Solar Roadway concept is way cool!

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European Traveler’s Guide – Trains in Different Countries

Windsor Trainstation

Getting from place to place can always prove to be tough, especially when in a foreign country. It is always best to be prepared to face whatever logistic woes might come up when touring, so that’s why I’m going to offer my stories and advice for using the various rail systems that Europe has to offer.

The United Kingdom has one of the best rail set-ups in Europe, especially its underground system. [Continue Reading]

Sapporo, Japan’s American City

Erik infront of the Sapporo Clock Tower

The Sapporo Clock Tower, you don’t leave without taking this picture. How about that bleached hair and the “S” sign for Sapporo? Don’t I look awesome?

While traveling through European and Asian cities over the course of my life I noticed a common difference they embody in contrast to Minneapolis, Chicago and other American Cities: they don’t do the grid thing very well. Cities in Europe and Asia grew over centuries rather than decades; they had no over-arching design. This noticeable tendency did not hold true for Sapporo though (I went there two years ago): the city took planning to the next level![Continue Reading]

European Traveler’s Guide: Dover Castle — Tunneling Through History


Europe is so rich with must see historical places, it’s almost impossible to find one place that encases the many notable periods of European history. You can go to Canterbury and learn about the Medieval period. Anywhere in Italy will be brimming with Renaissance history, and Northern France is full of history from the two World Wars. But I want to purpose an idea to the history loving prospective traveler: go to Dover Castle.

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Small Minnesota Town Ranks Among Nation’s Best


The Root River is a cool flowing, trout filled, brilliant body of water gliding through southeast Minnesota. It also flows right through the heart of what the Smithsonian considers one of the best small towns in America: Lanesboro.

The tiny town has a population of 750 — citizens of Lanesboro oftentimes refer to their town as ‘Minnesota’s Bed and Breakfast Capital.’ Despite the small size, Lanesboro was recently ranked 10th on the 2014 Smithsonian list of Best Small Towns to Visit.

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Traveling: A How-To for the Indigent, the Inhibited, and the Intimidated

Rome - Coliseum - Travel - Minnesota Connected

First off, let me say that when it comes to travel, I am all three of those adjectives listed above. The idea of exploring the country, let alone the world, often both enthralls and scares the hell out of me. There is more out there to be seen and experienced than one can possibly hope to accomplish in his or her lifetime, so how do you decide on the best way to tackle this endeavor? For me, the answer was Contiki.

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A Vacation For All Seasons — The North Shore

Fitger's Brewhouse - Minnesota Connected

It is known that Minnesotans get the best and the worst of each season. Whether it’s the scalding heat in August or the unbearable cold in January, we sure know how to make the best of it. When anyone thinks of a vacation, they probably don’t even consider of visiting Minnesota. But what people may not know is how beautiful “The North Star State” and all that it possesses can be. A couple weeks ago I was reminded of just that.

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