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EXPLORING INDIANA

From CinciPulse - The Pulse of the City

         Since I came to Cincinnati, I have heard the term “tri-state area” probably 2,458 times. Sure, Cincinnati is in Ohio, and I have been to Kentucky many many times, but what about Indiana? I had never been there, I hadn't ever heard anybody talk about going there, and in five months of living in Cincinnati, I had seen exactly one car with an Indiana license plate. So what is up with Indiana? How come it is so close to Cincinnati but nobody ever seems to go there? What is going on in the state, and what do people do there? Why don't you ever meet anybody from Indiana? A whole lot of questions and only one way to find out: road trip to Indiana!

            Shortly after crossing the state border, I could already tell why I had never seen any cars from Indiana around Cincy: there just aren't a lot of cars in Indiana. As a matter of fact, there aren't a lot of people in Indiana in general, which probably explains why you hardly ever meet any Hoosiers outside their state. Basically, you can drive and drive and drive without seeing anybody on the roads, except for the occasional tractor. Those, however, seem to come in great numbers, just like farm houses (which all seem to be right out of a country living magazine) and, of course, corn fields. I wouldn't have guessed it, but there are also extensive forests and large national parks in Indiana that are just gorgeous in the fall!

            Okay, so clearly the landscape in Indiana turned out to be very picturesque, but what about the cities? Well, let's put it this way: if you keep driving long enough, you'll get to a city— eventually. Following the road signs to the “closest” city for about 70 miles, I finally arrived in Columbus. Yes, Indiana has its own Columbus; just like it has its own Nashville. I was welcomed by a huge sign: “Welcome to Columbus, Indiana. Unexpected. Unforgettable.” I am not sure if I would use these words for the city itself, but the sign was definitely unexpected and unforgettable. Great, so there is Columbus, Indiana, but this couldn't be all Indiana had to offer in terms of cities! Sure enough, after driving a little further, I arrived in Bloomington. As rural as everything I had seen of Indiana so far had been, Bloomington seemed to be the urban counterpart. Bloomington is a vibrant college town, and you'll be surprised at how MANY students you'll see walking around campus. A very large campus by the way, where you can find everything from art expositions to scientific museums to cultural events. Downtown Bloomington is full of bars, cafes and restaurants, and I spent most of my time in Bloomington trying to decide what to eat, between the many options that range from Cajun to Tibetan. Speaking of Tibetan, did you know that the Dalai Lama's brother lives in Bloomington? He runs a Tibetan temple on the south side of the city, which is also a great spot to visit if you are looking for a quiet, peaceful place in Bloomington.

            What can I say? Cute cities and a gorgeous countryside: The more I saw of Indiana, the more I liked it. In the end, for me, Columbus' slogan stands for all of Indiana: unexpected and unforgettable


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