Saturday, September 20, 2008

Sept Travel Tales -II - Chicago

We were left with last 2 weeks before we were to start back and most people told us that we have missed seeing Chicago which was just 5 hours drive away from Columbus.So we decided to finish that too over the last but one weekend so we still had 1 weekend to finish the shopping/packing. Also, it being the last trip for us we weren't very keen on company. We wanted to make this last trip ourselves - as a couple rather in a group.

We booked the tickets at Marriott for the weekend at the last minute and hubby picked me up directly from office at 4.30 in the evening.He had a late lunch and had even parceled a burrito Bowl for me from Chipotle (he's very thoughtful in all these matters-lucky me :-)). We ate on the way listening to all old hindi songs and latest kannada songs from borrowed CDs and just as we crossed the Ohio state border it started to pour cats and dogs. We realised that we were driving right into a storm and we didnt know if we should stop at the closest mall or keep driving. We could hardly see anything ahead and we didnt even have anyone else for company and were shit scared-not knowing what we were heading into and what needed to be done in case of any emergencies!

We stopped at some remote petrol pump for fueling and the people there were as wary of us as we were of them :-) Having lost time in the storm we reached the hotel nearly an hour later than we had thought. Since we had had those Burrito Bowls we were thankfully not hungry and went to bed without any dinner. Also, hubby wanted to watch some tennis/cricket match the next day early morning at 4.30!so an early night it was.

Saturday-We got ready, had the free breakfast at the hotel itself and by 9 we were at the Sears tower from where we had found out the hop-on hop-off tour would start. First stop was the millennium park where we spent nearly an hour clicking pictures.

The Cloud Gate


V2 at Cloud Gate - :-P

From there our next stop was the Museum where Vivekananda Statue is kept. We also saw the Art Museum there-having the opportunity to get a look at Picasso,



Renoir and Van Gogh and other famous artists.We even got to see some sculptures on the streets of Chicago by these same artists. Later in the Hot sun (we were told that Chicago would be cold and windy!) we walked to the Buckingham fountain



and from there to the Museum Campus with the Shedd Aquarium and Museum of natural History.
A View of Chicago Skyline from the Museum Campus -


We even had a pizza lunch there looking at the mammoths and the
Dinosaurs.


And then took a speed boat ride (I just LOVE the thrill of speed boat rides) to Navy Pier -


from where we had booked the Architectural Cruise of Chicago on the Chicago River (more the back waters of lake Michigan).That one hour tour was one of the best tours we've ever taken. Though it was a lot of architectural history it gives a completely different perspective of the buildings and constructions. The Chicago fire and the after effects it had on the buildings.



(having trouble choosing the pics! so here's one more of the Chicago City view from the Chicago River)


Sears Tower view from the water.



It was 5pm by the time the tour was over and we then headed to the Navy Pier. Took a long walk over the pier and then ran around to find the last tour bus to get us back to the Sears Tower for the evening view of Chicago from the top of Sears Tower.



Another view of Chicago from top of Sears Towers (Notice the water flowing inside the city) -



We stayed on top until about 7 pm but there was still a lot of light.We were so tired by then that we decided to head for an early dinner at the Devon Street which is the Indian street in Chicago.Friends also wanted me to carry paan back for them :-) So off we went to Devon Street. Had dinner at Arya Bhavan (like in NY we didn't get where Udupi Krishna Bhavan was :-( ) which was just about decent,ran around in search of paan and finally found it in a Pakistaani shop! then it was back to Hotel.

Sunday - was the drive back home. Before that we went to the Aurora Ventakeshwara Temple



in Chicago and then started the drive back. The drive back home was very smooth compared to the onward journey and we reached by 5pm and were instantly called to have dinner by the ever helping,completely wonderful neighbours - KK/keerthi :-) So it was a great end to a wonderful trip.

Finally, after seeing both New York and Chicago back to back I have to say that we liked Chicago better much much better than New York - the crowd,architecture,or maybe just those bits of water and greenery amidst all those concrete buildings...

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