Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Chicago in a Day

Chicago is a city I have wanted to visit for many years.  Learning how close it was to Brook's home and the fact that I could spend a couple of nights in the city on a girly trip with her had me sold.  We managed to cram so much into the 2 nights and proved that it is possible to see the majority of the sites all in one day.

We arrived late afternoon and checked into our hotel.  Home for the next 2 nights was The Hard Rock Hotel.  The hotel was lovely, the location was fantastic and the beds were oh so comfy.

We awoke bright and early the following morning ready for a jam packed day of fun and frolics.  We had already talked about all the things we had wanted to see and do and discovered the Chicago City Pass included all of them.  It cost us just under $120 each, but worked out a lot cheaper than it would have been to of bought all our entrance tickets individually, so turned out to be great value for money.

First stop was the 360 Chicago Observation Deck at the Hancock Building.  It was a very cloudy day and we had been told that there was 0 visibility at the top, but we had decided that as we were there we would still go up and risk it, plus we both really wanted to try their new attraction TILT.  I am so glad we risked it because the view was insane and TILT, well if ever you visit you have to try it.  I loved it.  It was the most un-natural feeling in the world and it certainly got my heart racing.  It really was fantastic.  For anyone that isn't sure what it is, there is a window panel that is basically fixed to a hinge at the bottom, you grab onto the hand rails and the window tilts forward 30 degres over the city down below.  It is a must for anyone visiting Chicago.

Next stop was the Shed Aquarium.  This place had me mesmerised, I could have spent days here.  There were so many beautiful creatures, and being able to get up close to them was amazing.  Highlights for me had to be the jelly fish, sting rays and some of the tropical fish in the coral tanks, they were so colourful.  There really is quite a lot to take in here so you would need to factor in at least a couple of hours if not more but it is definitely worth a visit..

Next on the agenda was The Field Museum.  Walking into the main atrium I was blown away by Sue, their T-Rex fossil, the most complete t-rex fossil that has yet been discovered.  I am a dinosaur fan so this was pretty cool to see.  Looking at their website a few days ago it looks as though our visit was timed well, as she is being taken down in Feb 2018 to be reconstructed in a new gallery in Spring 2019, so changes are afoot for the museum.    

Next was a quick visit to the Art Gallery.  We didn't spend too long here.  To be perfectly honest with you, we were both shattered.  By this point we had already done so much walking and our feet were in agony.  There was a great collection of paintings and portraits in the gallery and I'm sure all would be of great interest to anyone with a passion for art but it's not really my kind of thing.

We decided to head for pizza next, firstly because we had worked up such an appetite and secondly to rest our weary legs.  I mean come on, you can't visit Chicago and not sample some of their famous pizza.  That in itself was an experience.  Pie crust base topped with cheese then the tomato puree topping, so a bit of a back to front pizza if you like, however it tasted amazing. 

After dinner it was onto the last stop of the day.  We headed over to the Willis Tower so that we could view the city at night.  Again we were told that there was 0 visibility but having been told that earlier that morning we decided to risk it again, and once again the risk paid off.  In fairness at times we were above the clouds but it shifted and we were able to see some breath-taking views.  It was the perfect end to the perfect day and I couldn't have asked for a better full last day in America.

We both slept well that night and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast the next morning, which involved pumpkin spiced pancakes for me, I mean if ever there was a breakfast invented for me this had to be it.  We then decided to take a stroll along the river which was just lovely.  I felt like I was in a movie. 

It honestly was one of the best trips I have ever been on.  I am truly, truly thankful to Brook and her family for making my time in America so unbelievably amazing.  Our friendship grew even stronger over the week and already I can't wait for us to meet up again.

~ Gem x 

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