Posts tagged Illinois
We spent the day Tuesday exploring Chicago with recommendations from Helena for the best tourist spots. Despite being cold and windy, the weather actually held out pretty well and so long as we warmed up in stores every once in a while. We took the metro from Helena’s house straight downtown to check out the sites around there.
We checked out Millennium Park, which was awesome, especially the gigantic reflective “bean” (I don’t know if there’s a real name for it). It was an awesome site and great for interesting pictures, as you can see below.
We loved walking around and taking in the sights and sounds of Chicago. The architecture is awesome and the people that we interacted with were really pleasant. One of the most important things on our list of things to do in Chicago was eating real deep dish pizza. We were recommended to Giordano’s and found one in the heart of downtown. We ordered one of the small deep dish pizzas, and it was absolutely delicious. I have never had anything like it.
On Wednesday morning, we started our last long haul from Chicago to DC and it marked our official re-entry to Eastern Standard time and everything east coast. The drive was relatively uneventful, but actually pretty pleasant. Our longer drives are always fun despite being in the car for hours simply because we get the most time to talk about anything we feel like, sing, and usually by the end we get a little slap happy from cabin fever and end up laughing over nothing. Unfortunately, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, western Pennsylvania and eastern Maryland really don’t have much to offer in terms of winter scenery.
We arrived at Josh (my partner working on SPINALpedia)’s house in Maryland later in the evening. I had been staying here for a bit before I moved out west to work with Josh on the website. In some ways arriving here last night made me feel for a moment like I never left, unless I stop for a minute and think about the last 3 months of my life and how much has changed. I know it hasn’t been an incredibly long time since I’ve been on the east coast, but I still feel like it’s another world since I was last here. We’ll be in DC Thursday and Friday before heading north Friday afternoon.
We’ve been covering some serious ground in the last few days. Well into the Central Time Zone, we’ve covered about 2400 miles since we started our journey in San Francisco. We had a few hours on Sunday morning to get a little of a feel for Kansas City despite the horrendously freezing weather complete with ice and snow. Katelyn’s friend, Pierce took us to the historic City Market, which was conveniently located right near his house.
It was an awesome area, complete with shops from all sorts of cultures from Middle Eastern to Korean to Italian. We walked around a bit, and also explored the Chinese market before sitting down for some Ethiopian food for lunch (it was delicious!)
Both Katelyn and I were pretty surprised by the diversity and culture of Kansas City, and definitely wish we had more time to explore and better weather to make that actually possible. We only had a few hours though because we had to make to to St. Louis, Missouri (Katelyn’s original hometown) to have dinner with her aunt and uncle. We dug out my car and snapped a picture before hitting the road.
Interestingly enough, Kansas City has already expended its plowing budget for the year, so we had to take our time getting out of the city, but once we hit the open road, it was smooth sailing (but pouring the entire time) until St. Louis. Once we arrived, we had a really nice dinner with Katelyn’s aunt and uncle, and had a nice relaxing evening.
The next morning we got to sleep in, visited Katelyn’s grandma, and hit the road again bound for Chicago, where we are now. On the way, we stopped at a midwest hot-spot, Steak ‘n Shake for some of their famous burgers and milkshakes.
Here in Chicago we are staying with my friend Helena from Madrid who is a friend of my friend Alicia who’s older sister was a foreign exchange student with my family when I was 6 or 7 (confused yet?). I know Helena from my last two trips to Spain in 2004 and 2007, so it was great to see her again.
Once we chatted and caught up a bit, the three of us plus Helena’s boyfriend and his roommate decided to hit up a kareoke bar and spice up our Monday night. It wasn’t too busy, and all of us were pretty hesitant to take the stage. That was until a man named Nester approached our table wondering if anyone would duet “Love Shack” from the B-52′s with him. Unable to resist this random but almost too perfect opportunity to break the ice and get on stage, I accepted. It was my first attempt at kareoke outside of China (the style of kareoke there is a lot different), but I had a blast. After that, Katelyn and I shared a duet of All Saints “Never Ever” (circa Spice Girls era) and I sang Kesha’s “Tik Tok” (a pretty annoying, but undeniably catchy pop song that I’ve learned by default by driving so much and listening to FM radio) and it got some people dancing and singing along. Tonight felt great because I was getting over being nervous singing in public and just reconnecting with my inner Britt– a few things out of many that I’ve wanted to get out of this road trip.
We are excited to explore Chicago tomorrow! Even just driving in, the city seems awesome. There’s great architecture and diversity, so we’re going to try to brave the freezing cold and do our best to be good tourists. We’re going to check out the sites and definitely get some Chicago deep dish pizza!