Exploring Chicago.

OK.
So after settling in following our arrival.. I had a SPECTACULAR sleep (honestly the best I have had scince arriving in Canada 2 months ago – time flies..) in the softest bed I have experienced for a while now…
And we all woke up surprisingly early on Tuesday, showered, got ready and jumped back on the train into the city ( we are staying about 50 mins out of it – a brief trip really..)

Having had no supplies for breakfast at home, a hangry (hungry and angry) Brittany and Ryan prioritized eating in the list of group activities… and so we all found some scrolls and coffee to start the day.
But restless, independent and impatient as I am.. This morning stop was my departing point with the rest of the group, and so I marched off by myself to explore.

The first obvious stop was the Chicago public library.. which is a magnificent looking building of glass, with intricate metalwork owls guarding each top corner around the outside.
So I popped in here quickly, taking in an interesting series of art works on the topic of gay marriage.
The place on the inside was all marble surfaces and wide desks. It had a very wealthy, very stately feel about it, I guess somewhat like the border checkpoint we had to go through in coming here… except.. you knew this place was more likely to let you in.. it was a public library after all ..
Any way at this point I had actually (at least in words) intended to re-meet with the rest of the group, and so I hurried back out to the street in an attempt to avoid losing them. ..
I had no such success..
But this was for the best.

It was time to roam!

So I pretty much spent the whole day walking the streets of the city, from to corner to corner.
The architecture in Chicago is beautiful.
And I honestly was able to spend the large part of a day just strolling around and taking pictures of the various office buildings, theaters, public buildings and shopfronts…
And the whole outlook of the city was really exaggerated by a low hanging fog that consumed the heads of the tallest buildings and blended the distance into one grey smear.
It was gorgeous.
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And it turns out.. Batmans’ Gotham city is actually based on Chicago… Which really was completely self explanatory and evident.. Because the whole scape had a brilliantly innocent, subdued and gothic air to it.

The helpful and friendly attitude of the people of Chicago was instantly noticeable too . From the man who talked us through our subway stops on the first night (and pocketed our fares), to the cafe server who offered help to my puzzled face as I waited for the rest of the group to order breakfast on our first morning..
Even catching the buses over the last couple of days has been a breeze, thanks to the extremely informed and approachable attitudes of the many bus drivers I spoke to (nothing like the miserable public transport operators in most of New Zealand)…

AND if I was smitten enough by the abundance of photo opportunities, beautiful old architecture, friendly people and efficient public transport in Chicago… There is also a huge green space (a collection of parks) on the edge of the city, which separates it from the giant lake Michigan .

This park houses several notable Chicago attractions. . Including a very impressive, very large water fountain, several memorials, a park of brown and silver people.. and of course The Bean
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And also this fun looking building. .
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And a few very peaceful gardens..
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And as I entered the park, the rain came down, and added further to the gothic drama of the cityscape.

And by 3pm we all met up again under the giant bean to find food (as per usual).
Which this time. . Was an Italian restaurant just across the road from the park, where we had a variety of pastas – all of which were delicious! And which were served in very generous portions.
(Mine was garlic and parmesan with brocoli – mmmmm)

And to finish the day, and as the rain came down harder we all dove into the massive Macys department store for cover.
This place was 7 stories of designer (and for us, completely unaffordable) shopping, with several additional office floors plopped on top. And despite its being a modern commercial outlet, it was still an intricately designed, reminiscent art work on the inside… with tiled ceilings and open balconies that looked down on a fountain on the ground floor.
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And upon arriving back at the apartment, we all walked down to the corner store.. settling for chips and dips for dinner, seeing as our late pasta lunch had been so generous.
And for the first time scince our arrival on this side of the globe (for most of us) we actually sat down and watched TV together, and settled in to a relaxed, satisfied and generally tired-out evening.

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