Wed 12 Jun - Lincoln, NH

On the road to the next state, but first we need to replace our deer damaged car.

We think not with these guys nor this car...

While talking to Alamo yesterday, we agree that we would swap cars through Alamo's at Burlington International Airport. International? We thought it might just mean they fly take flights to and from Canada which is not very far from here.

Our first ever international airport with quaint rocking chairs for waiting guests.

Hmmm, not much activity. One plane only on the Tarmac. It is not quite Frankfurt is it?

The car changeover went very well. The staff at Alamo/National were great to deal with and we soon had a black Chevy impala to replace our Malibu. We know and like the Impala from our travels earlier this year in New Mexico so it was easy to adjust. The Malibu was newer and more "deluxe", but deer bouncers can't be picky.

So we transferred all our gear from the dented silver to the undented black car.

We were out of Burlington by noon and we wanted to see Vermont's state capital, Montpelier, which was about 40 mimutes drive south east. A smooth trip in the new car through the very green and hilly/mountainous Vermont landscape.
Montpelier is the smallest state capital in USA with just over 7,000 residents. It is a very cute town in the middle of Vermont. Mountains all around the town.
Why did they choose this place for a Capital? It's hard to understand because it's not exactly in a convenient or obvious place. Wikipedia did not explain although did mention that this is an old town and was once a thriving manufacturing hub with a railroad running through here. A brochure we read later suggested it was here because the land and money for a State Capitol building had to be donated. A prominent citizen of Montpelier was quick to offer both and was accepted.
Before we explored further we went looking for lunch and found a very authentic little Thai cafe. They only had 3 menu items, two of which featured fresh made Green papaya Salad, with marinated grilled chicken or pork (shown as numbers 1 and 2 in the photo below).
We had number 1 and number 2. Wow - an amazing fresh taste and chilli kick. Delicious.

Nice and cosy and we could see the Thai lady chef pounding ingredients in a big mortar. She's hiding behind the fridge in this photo.

Funny artwork for sale on the walls. Any place with painted Eli Wallach or Lee Van Cleef on the wall will immediately win Hans heart.

More art, including Di.

Hans was very pleased with his marinated grilled chook, sticky rice and salad. Di's pork was also excellent.

After lunch we spent an hour or so exploring Montpelier before moving on. It reminded us of Andorra - with a snow flow river running through the middle of town.

At State Street the Winooski River flows under a building and then continues on.

These buildings looked like old saloons to us. Very cool.

We were not convinced of the safety of the cafe balcony, but people came and went there so must be OK.

Numerous bridges crossing Winooski River in Montpelier, VT.

We set off to see the State Capitol - however we got distracted on the way by a mangled version of Swedish and German for this little snack hut. Why call it Grunhaus (a German word) then sell Nordic food? We thought geography was perhaps not their strongest subject. Hans is puzzled.

We also got slightly diverted by this old car. Would that be a Messerschmitt perhaps? We couldn't tell but it had a large stylized M in front.

The State Capitol building is also on State Street (surprise) and wow is it impressive. To put this in perspective Vermont is a state with 626,000 people (2012 census) and this is much grander than any of the NSW state government buildings (and we have a much larger population in NSW).

No security, no checking bags, no police cars nearby - entering Vermont's State Capitol is very laid back. We figured it was because few people would find Montpelier on a map! We have to admit that we didn't know anything about Montpelier, nor would we have known where it was on a map only a few days ago.

You just walk in and the first room to the right had a sign to say it was the Lt. Governors office and it was open unless the Lt.Gov was there and in meetings. This was even more relaxed than the capitol building in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

We spoke to the one and only security guard we saw inside the building and when we commented on so little security he said "yeh, nice isn't it". He was excited that we were visiting from Australia and he could have been an Aussie with such a "no worries" attitude.

Beautiful building and decoration. Looking down the ground floor corridor.

We can really identify with the statement about a Vermont. Of course we like most things Teddy Roosevelt said and did. You may say that we are fans of him.

As usual they show portraits of ex Governors on the walls of State Capitol buildings. The informality of this one, of Dr Howard Dean, was unique.

This was unusual as we have never seen a Governor's portrait that to us looked quite unflattering. It was the 1970s after all...
We wandered into the main meeting room, the Cedar Creek Room, which displays fantastic paintings by Julian Scott. The large painting on the left depicts a battle scene from the Revolutionary War (1812).
Of course you can stick your nose into the Governor's office. Very clean and empty desk. In fact, we could not see one single piece of paper there (secret perhaps) and it looked more like a museum.

And the House of Reps...

And the Senate - without anyone around at all.

We still had an hour and a half to drive for our final stop for the day, Lincoln NH, our base for the next few days for exploring the White Mountain National Forest so we left Montpelier just after 3pm.

It was starting to become a bit gloomy as we continued to drive eastwards and we (well, Di mostly) were nervous about sudden moose apperances. There were regular moose warning signs along the small state road that joins Montpelier to Lincoln. It was a slow trip and we reach our accommodation around 5pm. Thankfully no harm came to any moose or other wildlife during the trip.

We are staying in a small cabin and it is far more basic than our previous "luxury" of Casablanca Motel in Manchester, VT but the location feels more like in rugged mountains.

Apparently, it is Motorcycle Week this week in Lincoln, NH and we could see (and hear) motorcycles "everywhere". Our next 2 neighbors in the next 2 cabins are all bikers. Of course, the bikers of today seem to be mostly middle aged or older grey or white haired (or bald) men and not the rowdy riders of yesteryear.

Something easy for dinner - pizza. We stumbled onto family night at the pizza joint with Mo the clown entertaining children with ballon animals. Wednesday night is family night here.

Here's a quick snapshot of Mo. He was pretty good at all sorts of shapes and patient with the kids.

Mo the Clown suddenly came up to us and gave Di this little flower ring, in colours matching her clothing. Hans thought that Mo the Clown was flirting but Di thought he was networking as he also left his business card.

The pizza was pretty good with leftovers for later.

Some hike planning done before we turn in. A big day but at all worked out well in the end. Good night.

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