Sweet Home Chicago- So Long


(Please play)

Last night, after our feet had managed to have a word with themselves and were prepared to go again, we found the subway so easily it was laughable. It also made us a little bit more bitter about our afternoons mammoth walk to find the hostel when it was really just around the corner all that time! Never mind we were soon on our way to the Magnificent Mile en route to the Hancock Observatory.

The views were spectacular and I prefered this building to the Skydeck. There is something so peaceful and almost meditative about looking out over a city at night, which is all lit up ,and wondering who each person in the tiny lit up spot is or what their life is like. It just amazes me and Chicago is certainly a city which amazes from any viewpoint. I did enjoy the added bonus of David Schwimmer conducting the audio tour and I learnt a lot more about this city that I have begun to cherish. Possibly, dare I say it, more even more than the Big Apple?

After the tranquility at the top of the observatory we then descended into mayhem at the Redhead Piano Bar.

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This place was just electric. The pianist was out of this world and his vocals were just as good. We enjoyed listening to classics from people such as Billy Joel, talking to local Chicagoans and soaking up the blues atmosphere in this cute little place. It was very busy, lively and full of people who were really enjoying themselves. I can’t think of a better way to spend our last night in Chicago. We did have to tear ourselves away early as we had to pack and get up early the next day. Yet our fun was not over yet. We left our luggage and returned, once more, to the Museum Campus. We then began our day of exploration with the Shedd Aquarium.
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Here we saw all manner of creatures with Liz on a quest to find her Dorey and Nemo. We managed to achieve this mission and Liz also used her expertise on the subject ‘Finding Nemo‘ to inform another group of the correct pronunciation of an ‘Anemone’. So, Disney really does enhance education?

We then got to see some coral being cleaned and enjoy watching lots of fish become attracted to falling rocks before we headed to the store shop. We had a quick look around and then took our seats for the aquarium show. I have always wanted to see Dolphins a little bit closer than watching the Planet Earth series and this was very enjoyable. We then got to see a condensed version of Happy Feet in 4D and were sacred by rushing wind effects, hurt by a stick that poked you in the back and dampened by snow-covered bubbles. It was a fantastic experience but I think Liz was even more scared than the children in the showing. At one point I very nearly had to take her out of the auditorium.(please see m Fish Post for more pictures and videos from the museum)
After our fish themed adventure we stopped off for a Chicago hotdog and nachos by a much more grey looking shoreline trail.
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The food was yummy and I enjoyed eating a hotdog sat outside when it was a bit more nippy.

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It reminded me of the BBQ‘s we used to have when I went on holiday in our caravan in the snow at easter (‘mad’ tradition. Nothing stops the Lake District Walkers BBQ!). We then proceed to be cultured further at the Field Museum.

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Liz was transformed at one point into a Barnacle but I got her back.

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I really enjoyed this museum and needed a lot longer than a few hours but we persevered and got around the scary Egyptian section down a wind staircase

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Then the amusing underground advenutre and just look how small we got!

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There was also a section dedicated to me

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As well as the fascinating Evolving Planet

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and the Ancient Americas. We even had time to have a chat with a tour guide in the Native American hut, which was very interesting as well as good for providing an excuse to sit down on some comfy Bison furs. We then had a coffee stop and a much-needed rest for two old timers like ourselves before braving a return journey on the EL. I crossed everything in the hope it would help us get back in ten minutes and not the previous record of an hour and a half.

Success finally belonged to us as we made it to Lincoln in one piece and we dashed to the supermarket to get some supplies for the train. We also picked up our fantastic packed lunches from The Meatloaf Bakery (consisting of one lentil cupcake, a great salad, an assortment of dressings and a can of diet coke) before rushing back to the hostel to get our bags. Then the intense wish I was a light packer kicked in. It hit a high point when I was half way up the stairwell to the EL with a very heavy suitcase, weekend bag and handbag. Liz was struggling behind me but we both made it to the job without any serious injury. The relief I felt when we finally made it to the Union Station was beyond grand. I didn’t even mind having to queue to board the train. Well maybe I did mind a little bit but I can’t help it if I am impatient by nature. I was also thrilled to be finally having my first Amtrak experience.

Boy, I wish English trains were like this. There was so much room. The leg space was enormous, the seats not only reclined but they had a bottom part which lifted so you could rest your legs! They then had a long retractable table and individual plug sockets. Now this beat the bus anytime. We waited for the conductor to go around before beginning on our picnic.
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One bite of this cupcake was too good to describe. I know I enjoy the Flying Cupcake Bakery in Indianapolis but I have actually only had one of their cupcakes and brought the others for Luke. I prefer savoury things but I love admiring their recipes, designs and the shops interior. However, these savoury cupcakes make me want to work my way through the menu in one sitting. Scrap that, it makes me want to buy a cake, not just a cup cake, to have for myself. This will definitely be a place I stop at on my return to Chicago. We were then held up by a freight train for quite a while but hey, who cares? Life was good whilst I was enjoying my sumptuous picnic.

Then Liz had a snooze and started playing catch up with my blogs. As we descended into darkness I thought about my whirlwind tour of Chicago fondly. This is a place I would very highly recommend to anyone. Now, do I stay on the train and go to Washington and then all the way to New York? Or get off in Indianapolis?

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