Travalon and I have it on good authority (some drunk guy in La Crosse) that we are The Perfect Couple. We weren’t sure if this comment was triggered by our difference in height, or if he simply noticed us because we were holding hands. We had gotten to La Crosse around noon and checked out the loft apartments that used to be the Gund Brewery, then we went downtown and were surprised at all the drunks wandering the streets at that hour until realizing Oktoberfest had officially started at noon. We went to the Casino, another destination from the book, where we talked with the very personable bartender. I said everyone’s a little bit German during Oktoberfest, but I have it on good authority that I actually am a little bit German, and he said he was too and that he was a quarter Japanese and some Cherokee, though we would never have guessed it. He looked like your prototypical white twentysomething slacker dude. They serve a beer there that used to be brewed right on Pearl Street and is still brewed in town. Then we had lunch and little tartlet things at a restaurant and bakery called Fayze’s just down the street. A girl at the next table was so drunk she walked into the wall. If Oktoberfest is that wild in the early afternoon, I can’t imagine what it’s like by the evening!
Then Travalon and I drove to Trempealeau and hiked at Perrot State Park before heading to Fountain City and the Monarch Tavern, another destination from the book. People have been asking me if I had a favorite tavern from the book, and I really hadn’t, but the Monarch is my new favorite. It has an Irish theme, and the owner was even more personable than the bartender at the Casino. He told me, “If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, then you’re lucky enough.” The tavern is the oldest continually run one in the state, and they brew a beer there from an original recipe dating back to the start of the tavern. There were all sorts of corners and lofts there to have a more private drink, and the food looked wonderful, but we weren’t hungry yet. By the time we got back to La Crosse, we were ready for dinner, so we stopped at a place called Seasons and ate outside, overlooking the river. It was such a beautiful day, and we felt very grateful to have had it off of work. We also wanted to avoid downtown, since we’d seen enough of Oktoberfest that afternoon. I’m sure it was bananas by then!