Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Day 5: Goodbye Chicago!

It's funny, I'm writing this as it's my last day of Spring Break in Boston (again). In one week I've been to Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont and Canada. And as I write my last day in Chicago I can feel the remorse of finishing a trip double time. Traveling is truly my passion and I can't stop but think how fortunate I am. I'm very lucky to have the capabilities to travel like I do. I have an amazing family who supports my dreams and great friends that make trips worth taking! So, to those who read this, I hope that you take a trip soon and see the world, I think you'll be surprised how "at home" you can feel when your bed is thousands of miles away...Without further ado... the summation of Chicago!
Our flight was late in the afternoon so we took off to look around Chicago on foot. We walked past the old Marshall Fields shop that is now known as Macys. The company began earlier in the 1800s but bought this particular location after the Great Chicago Fire in 1887! The lure of Macy's dresses and a century-old shopping area brought me inside and wow, I wasn't expecting 10 stories of heavenly shopping goodness! My suitcase was already full and heavy but it got a BIT more heavier and a BIT more full. :) I got some great clothes though....
We stopped at Macy's on our way to Daley Plaza. This is one of the architectural highlights because of the huge Picasso sculpture there. It's a popular place to take a lunch break and lots of people playing about.
Chicago is such an artistic city. This piece was around the corner from Daley Plaza in front of the Thompson Center. This sculpture by Jean Dubuffet was really neat. Then we decided we wanted one last taste of Chicago-style pizza so I looked up my suggestions from 101 Chowdown Countdown from the Travel Channel. I had heard of Lou Malnati's from the Travel Channel, in different shows, etc. As we walked there we found this cute little set-up of a farmers market. I got a peach :) I like supporting local businesses... Not that one peach counts but it was something!
Close by we found Lou Malnati's. Deep dish pizza!!
The picture actually doesn't do any justice to how good the pizza was. I LOVE tomatoes so I loved it but I can see how others might not. The crunchy crust was sooo good. (I think we definitely voted Giordano's our favorite though...)
And we walked back to our hotel that was holding our bags. Got on our flight (with ease) back to Houston and were soon home. My last trip for the summer was super fun. So glad Heather and I went!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Chicago: Day 4

Day 4 was Museum Day! We had admission for free to all three museums with the Go Card. The only problem was that I accidentally left my Go Card in my back pocket of the jeans I had worn the day before. So we ended up taking THREE taxis to get back to the hotel and get the card out of my pants. God bless Heather and her patience with me!
We started the day (after sleeping in) outside our hotel for breakfast. I loved eating (again) at the Corner Street Bakery. They had a great breakfast menu. And who can beat the view? The temperature outside was fantastic, too.
Then we headed to the Shedd Aquarium (twice...) This view was where the taxis drop you...
This was the front of the Aquarium where the main entrance (and longer lines) was...
The Aquarium was disappointing that you had to pay extra for the dolphin/marine life show. But it looked like an amazing set-up. The tanks and animals were great but I didn't get very many good pictures. The place was PACKED!
Heather did pay a little extra for us to go to the Jellies exhibit. It was really neat. Jellies are really peaceful to watch...
When we were walking from the Shedd to the Field Museum we got a great view of the downtown Chicago area...
We walked almost next door to the Field Museum, Chicago's science/history museum. This was the back of the museum, turns out...
On the way we saw this baby bunny! Made me miss my girls... (I have two rabbits.)
We walked around to the front of the Field Museum. Very nice entry. Reminded me of Washington, DC. :)
The inside was really cool. I loved the giant blue whale hanging from the ceiling. And I loved that Sue, the T-Rex was in the main lobby too!
With our Go Cards we could only get into the permanent exhibits, but they were plenty to see! As soon as we got our ticket I ran to Sue, the T-Rex!
The facts on Sue.... the world's largest, most complete and best preserved T-Rex! And we share the same name :)
Then we looked at all the animal exhibits.... "Hello!"
"Hello, there" -Pumba ... Hakuna Matada!
The man-eating Tigers from Tsavo! The ACTUAL skulls are to the left. Amazing...
Then there was an Egyptian mummy exhibit. You actually climb into and around a pyramid while looking at real mummies and tumbs. Very interesting!
Then we headed upstairs to the History of Earth exhibit. During the middle of it they have a wonderful assortment of dinosaur fossils and casts.
In the exhibit they give you the history of life on Earth. So there are about 5-6 Mass Extinction areas where it talks about species that were removed from the earth permanently (how upsetting!). Then towards the end of the exhibit it had this display which was really moving and sad...
Loved this display of some of the precious animals that have existed on earth with the Charles Darwin quote in the middle...
From upstairs I got this great picture of the main lobby of the Field Museum.
Then we walked about 1/4 mile to the Adler Planetarium....
The far way picture of the entrance with the whole complex...
National Historic Landmark!
The Atwood Sphere was probably the coolest part, but took about 30-45 minutes to wait for. It's from the 1920s and takes you into the sphere to look at constellations. It only holds about 5-10 people at a time. It was very cool because of the history, though!
Then we headed back for a bit until it was time for our Chicago-based band concert. The venue was right beside Wrigley Field!!! Paul McCartney was playing, though, so people were EVERYWHERE. It was crazy, super busy.
The venue... We stopped in beside the place and had a great sandwich before going in.
Alkaline Trio was a great band. Heather LOVES them and I enjoyed watching them in such a small venue. After the show we stayed next door for a drink and to get some water. Unfortunately, as we were leaving so was everyone from the Paul McCartney concert. The train station was right beside it. It was INSANE getting on our train. We even saw a man/woman get arrested right in front of me. It was scary.... But another great day in Chicago, and seeing a legendary Chicago band really made the end of the trip!