We hopped back across the US border to Chicago, a city that has a number of our friends singing it’s praises! It is easy to fall into the trap of having an expectation of a city – more often than not you are disappointed with it once you actually experience it for yourself.
We were pleasantly surprised with our time in Chicago. With everything from the deep-dish pizza to the architecture, it definitely had that Chic-ahg-oh attitude: upfront and unapologetic.
It is certainly up there with America’s most impressive cities, in the sense that it has so much to offer both it’s people and the tourists! We had a fantastic time on an architectural cruise of the river where we learned about the great Chicago fire and how the city was so rapidly rebuilt. While I have always tried to appreciate buildings and their architectural style in all the cities we have visited, I found Chicago’s buildings to be not only beautiful but also striking. Each building we saw had such a clear architectural message. While this was pointed out to us in detail by the architect leading the tour, it was not difficult to be impressed by the buildings before we knew why they were built.
We also spent a day at the Museum of Science and Industry, an amazing museum just south of Chicago’s downtown. It had everything – a 747, a model of downtown Chicago complete with intricate train system, a hurricane and tsunami demonstration wing AND a chick hatchery! Believe it or not, I had never seen a chicken hatch from an egg. Have you?! I was embarrassed to find that I was more visibly alarmed by the process than the primary school kids also watching the baby chick tumble from it’s eggshell. I don’t know who was more shocked by the whole thing – the chicken or me? ANYWAY…if you are in Chicago, you MUST go to this museum.
We decided that instead of catching the bus back downtown, we would hire a bike from the stands dotted around the city. We spent about two hours cycling along the lake shore, admiring the water on our right and the city skyline on our left. I was so pleased that this bike ride passed without incident (take that Amsterdam!) and I thoroughly enjoyed taking in the view and the vibe of this grand city.
But the best part? Doing all of this with Jez.