Last year, my wife lost her best friend, Maria, to cancer. They both were huge Prince fans, and had planned to go to Minneapolis together, to explore everything Prince. This, unfortunately, did not come to fruition. This Thanksgiving, 2018, my wife asked if we could go there to honor her friend's memory. Of course, I said, and off we went.
Flying out to Minneapolis, we flew Spirit Air for the second time, and again, I have to say, it didn't suck. Coming back we flew Delta, booking one-ways each time. We stayed at the W Foshay Hotel. Having an American Express Platinum card has it's advantages. One is that we were automatically conferred Gold Status for any SPG, (Starwood Preferred Guest) property. Upon arrival, we were given a complimentary room upgrade to a corner suite. We were also quite pleasantly surprised when we came back to the room, to find a bottle of champagne chilling along with chocolates. My wife asked if I had orchestrated this. Initially, I took credit for the big salad, (shout-out to the Seinfeld episode), but later confessed that it was compliments of the hotel.
We visited various landmarks in Minneapolis. Most held a relevance to Prince. The above sculpture though, is part of an outdoor exhibition that we stumbled upon. There were a few murals around town, as well as places that the Purple-One frequented, like First Avenue and the Electric Fetus.
Our highlight of the trip was, however, was visiting the Paisley Park Complex. We opted for the VIP tour, as we didn't know when we would be up this way again. It was well worth it! Even if you're not a die-hard Prince fan, you will appreciate this tour.
We were greeted by a gentleman named Julius. He first met Prince, he told us, back in 2013. He was originally hired to be a bodyguard for him. Prince immediately took a liking to him, he said, mainly because Julius didn't know much about him. While not our tour guide, Julius was quite an affable fellow. He gave us some insight into what to expect from the tour.
Just a heads-up, though, no photographic devices of any kind are allowed. Your cell phone will be locked in a small bag that you carry with you, and will be unlocked once you've completed the tour.
Of course, you don't visit Minneapolis without seeing the Mall of America. This place was HUGE! It is the largest mall in the United States. It sports an indoor roller coaster, among other things. A Hard Rock Cafe that also has on display, various vestments worn by Minneapolis' most famous resident.
I have to say that the vibe in Minneapolis was one of cultural diversity, and people who are genuine in spirit. Very warm and welcoming. I think that they've been called "Minnesota nice". We would definitely want to come back here.
We started this missive by mentioning our friend, Maria. While her dream did not happen, to be able to visit these places that represented Prince, we hope that she was with us in spirit. Hopefully she is partying up there with him, and, knowing her, offering advice for improving his sound.