I’m sitting in my own home, laundry’s done (or at least the last load is in the dryer), and I’ve already returned to work (at both my jobs)…so I’m definitely back to reality. Now I just have to convince myself to get busy on my ‘school’ work to get prepared for this coming semester…I have a month left of ‘freedom’, and I’m afraid it is going to disappear faster than I can say Rumpelstiltskin.
BONUS: I’m a foodie, and as most of you have realized and gathered from my post and from Facebook (if you correlate these two items), I did nothing but basically eat my way around Chicago. We hit a couple of art things and saw some buildings, met some friends…but it was a food trip. The BONUS is that I did not gain any weight!!! I was expecting to have gained at least a pound or two…but I apparently drank enough water and put in enough miles every day (or throughout the five days I was there) to keep the pounds at bay. I’m excited about that. I was afraid of a set back…so now the food was really totally worth it!!
Our last day, which was Monday (7/16), was spent sleeping in and packing. We went out for Crepes one last time at the Gotta B Crepes place (they were a type of Farmer’s Market set-up, and they are only going to be there until October ~ Chicago will lose a great thing). The workers are out of Michigan, and one of the guys that was there that morning was dressed in a sweater and shirt/tie; I asked if he received the wrong memo on where he was headed that day because though it was only 9:30 am, it was already pretty warm. He laughed and said ‘yes’…hopefully someone brought him a cooler shirt at some point.
We dropped our luggage off with the front desk and headed out to lunch, I ate my first Monte Cristo sandwich. Anything that you can put jelly on and eat as ‘lunch’ is tasty. It was actually really good. We then had to bid Chicago farewell and headed to Union Station. Finally…a train station that depicted what you see in movies. The Grand Hall of Chicago Union Station was beautiful. We relaxed for a bit and then headed to get the train…mistake. There were people EVERYWHERE. The railroad was doing track work, so they bumped everyone to one train…it was a little packed.
Melissa and I was separated, I was in the middle of a family of five which consisted of grandparents and their three grandchildren. It was an interesting ride. At one point the seat next to me the grandfather gave up and used as a ‘time-out’ for one of the kids because they were in trouble for running through the train cars and not wearing their shoes. Luckily they have a car called a ‘viewing’ car (no, they did not have deceased people laid out to ‘view’); the majority of the car was glass and you could look out and ‘view’ the country side as you creep by. Yes, it was creeping…due to the track work we were not going fast at all. It was a double decked train, we were on the top deck. The stairs were kinda of treacherous, don’t break your leg or require assistance and need to ride on the to car. The bathrooms are another matter, worse than airplane bathrooms. You back in, sit, and walk out. I thought I would do the handicapped one, thinking there would be more room, they had a trashcan in the ‘extra’ space that was afforded for the handicapped room and the toilet was partially under the sink. But, it was a bathroom and when you’re on a train from 1:45 pm to 9:10 pm, sometimes the need outweighs the circumstances.
I would recommend the train experience of at least once. If you are not under time constraints, and want to travel in a way that gives you the ability to walk around and stretch, and if you have children that would get bored in a vehicle…it is a good experience. I can now say that I have traveled by rail. It was pretty relaxing, and we saved a lot of money not having a car in Chicago, parking was anywhere from $5-$6 for 20 minutes.
Would I do things differently? Chicago has so much to offer. Museums, Navy Pier, Michigan Avenue, and neighborhoods galore. When I sit and reflect on what we did, it’s slim. We walked around a lot and ate. We hit the zoo, the beach, Little Italy, Greek Town, Wicker Park, a movie in the Park, Logan Square, the art museum, Hull House, Taste of Chicago, and visited a little French Market that we happened upon while walking to Greek Town. The zoo afforded us the opportunity to watch a polar bear playing with a plastic drum and how powerful they truly are — it would dive to the bottom of the pool then push it’s self off the bottom and zoom toward the barrel. It was really cool to watch.
But when I sit and really think about my trip would I do it differently? Would I take in other sites so I could say, “I saw…”. I honestly do not know. Without seeing it, I’m not sure of what I missed out on. I know that I was relaxed and well rested, and that I enjoyed my time there. After looking Little Italy up online, we did realize that we missed out on a lot of stuff by coming into it from the University side…but hey, it will always be there. It’s a city that will continuing giving and that one can visit on weekends and pick up something new every time.
It was a good vacation…and I’m glad I went. Next time I want to go West…there’s a big world out there that I want to see.