Monday, May 31, 2010

Roadtrip to the 'Windy City' - Chicago

Another public holiday in the US!!! Memorial Day on May 31st! This meant another travel weekend for the interns!!

During my internship, I got so many recommendations about the Chicago, not only from the interns who have been there already, also from my co-workers. So another spot on my “Wanna-see-and-have-to-do-list” was a trip to the “windy city” as Chicago is also called.

3 other interns wanted to join me: Alvaro, the crazy Spanish man who also went to New Orleans with me a few months ago, then Benny, my CT co-intern and Dan, one of our American interns who wanted to discover another part of his home country. As I really liked the road trip to New Orleans, I suggested taking the car to Chicago instead of flying. The boys agreed and so we started with a bit delay on Friday evening after work. The estimated length of travelling was 12 hours. We decided to change drivers every few hours. Dan was volunteering as the first driver. We took the highway through Pennsylvania and it was very relaxed to drive with empty roads ahead. After 1,5 hours of driving, we suddenly saw the party lights of a police car behind us. We all knew the meaning and Dan confirmed it: We are going to get a ticket for speedingL The police officer was friendly enough only to charge fees but no points to Dan’s drivers record. Of course, this situation calmed us down for a while.

I was the last driver and thus the one who drove into the city. The weather was promising to be sunny and just beautiful. Our plan was to leave our luggage at the hotel and then park the car outside the city to avoid extreme parking fees. One of my co-workers lives in Chicago and he gave us information about some safe parking spots. We left the car in Irving Park and took the blue Metra line to the city centre. Our desire was to see the lake, so this was our first destination. Before we reached the waterfront, we turned right into Millenium Park to have a glance at the Buckingham fountain, for some better known as the fountain in the trailer of the TV show “Married…with Children”(“Eine schrecklich nette Familie). From there, we strolled along the boardwalk, enjoying the sun and our lifes. Chicago has huge pier with a lot of entertainment, restaurants, shops and boat trips. This was a perfect location to have lunch.

After that, we walked towards the city centre to get to the main shopping street ‘Michigan Avenue’, also called the magnificent mile. We were not really into shopping but at least a stop at the Apple Store was interesting enough for the boys. I was playing with the iPad and lost sight with them. After 10 min, the came running towards me, totally excited: The soccer player Ronaldinho and 3 other players of were in the shop as well and Alvaro got a picture with them. The shop was so crowded anyway, that’s why I didn’t pay attention to the bulk in the back of the shop.

We became tired from walking around and from that long drive during the night and headed to the hotel. After checking in, we took a nap as we wanted to go out that night. I got tickets for “Howl at the Moon”, a pretty entertaining live music bar. As we were all refreshed after the nap, we partied all night long.

The next day, we slept in and Alvaro and I wanted to go to the beach and catch some sun. Unfortunately, Dan and Ben got bad sunburn from the day before and were not able to stay in the sun.

We had a snack for breakfast and then Alvaro and I went to the beach while the others were working out in the hotels gym. Later that afternoon we wanted to check out one of Chicago’s specialties: Deep Dish Pizza. So we went to Gino’s which is supposed a good spot to eat that kind of pizza. Too bad that this was a tourist place and we had to wait for a while to get a table. I have to admit that this wasn’t my type of pizza. It was very rich and stuffed but I prefer traditional Italian pizza.

Our next stop at that night was “The Bean”. It is a public sculpture, made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together. Its highly polished exterior has no visible seams. The original name is “Cloud Gate” but because of its form, it is called “The Bean” in common.

As we needed to check out the next day, we decided to have the car around the corner and so we took the Metra line back to Irving Park to get it. Later that night we went to a few bars around the corner and also met with Alex, Benny’s former boss in Germany who started to live and work in Chicago a month ago.

Getting up the next morning was hard but we headed home with a lot of nice memories and impressions after a wonderful weekend.

To see get more impressions of our Chicago weekend, check out my photo album:

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