A short drive to Minneapolis left us with enough time to visit the Mall of America, which boasts that it is the largest fully enclosed retail complex in the United States. It has over 520 stores anchored by four big names - Nordstrom, Sears, Macy's, and Bloomingdale's and a huge amusement park in the middle. The weather was beautiful today, but the Minnesota climate dictates that all this is under one roof. Although it was a Saturday, it is the end of the summer and many students are already back at school, so we were amazed how difficult it was to find a place to park. We wound our way up seven floors of indoor parking and finally found a place at the very end on the roof. I was surprised to find that most of the license plates indicated that the shoppers were local.
The mall was overwhelming in every way. The place was jammed with people and put me out of the buying mood - a blessing! It was a bit like Christmas shopping. The noise from all the people coupled with the roller coasters was deafening. The smell, a mixture of food court and chlorinated water from the water rides, took my breath away. When I shop I like to have a huge selection and compare products and prices, but 520 stores is more than even I need. In metro Chicago, we are blessed with virtually all the stores available here, so for us the mall was an opportunity to stretch our legs rather than to shop. It felt good after the hours in the truck. One of my travel pet peeves is how much one part of the US looks like another. With a few exceptions the stores and restaurants we saw here are the same we see at home. When I travel I want to feel like I am somewhere else. Perhaps after a few more days of driving we will.