One thing I love about travelling, is the people you meet. People from various countries, of various ages, and with different things to share about their own culture, background and experiences.
One thing that connecting with other travellers, from other countries is, of course, being able to reconnect with them, when you decide to visit their country (which you will), as you’ll often get a free place to crash, as well as a local to take you round their city.
My visit to Chicago between December 2006 and January 2007, wasn’t my first trip to the United States. I had already taken a solo trip to Pennsylvania to visit a friend that had taken a year out to come and work in my home town in Northern Ireland.
This trip to Chicago, was taken with my sister on Boxing Day, so we got to experience New Year here as well. It was probably one of the coldest Winter’s I have experienced in a while, with temperatures dropping to -5 degrees celsius, or -22 degrees Fahrenheit. So if you plan to go in Winter time, take plenty of layers to wrap up warm.
Here are some snapshots from my time in Chicago
1. Belmont Harbor
This is a great little place to come for a stroll during the day, and at night, with great views of the city and skyline. Many locals will run around this area.
2. A view from Willis Tower (formally Sears Tower)
At the time of my visit, this building was known as the Sears Tower (and still is referred to as this). Once completed in 1973, it held the record for the tallest building in the World for 25 years, surpassing the World Trade Center. It is 108 floors high, and is now the second tallest building in the US, following the completion of the One World Trade Center in New York, and is followed by the Empire State Building.
At the time of my visit in 2006/7, an entry ticket cost you US$10, which is incredibly cheap, considering, to get to to Top of the Rock, at the Rockefeller Center cost me US$30 in April of this year. Prices are now $19.50. The tower has an added Skydeck ‘ledge experience’ where you can stand on a glass balcony, and see the streets below. Something that the Eureka Skydeck in Melbourne, Australia has already done. You can get a great view from The Willis Tower, and on a clear day, you can see four states.
A big part of our time in Chicago, was spent trying typical North American food; which was mainly, incredibly unhealthy. From greasy burgers and fries, to donuts, and pancakes with maple syrup. On my recent trip to the US, I did notice a difference in the food – there was a definite shift to healthiness, with a lot of stores promoting raw, health foods, kale inspired recipes, gluten free, and things for those on the Paleo diet. There are still a number of fast food joints, but these aren’t your only option.
4. City Scapes
Ok, so I am a bit of a sucker for high rise buildings and skyscrapers. I love how they look at night, the view over a city is incredible, especially if you are slightly away from it.
5. Navy Pier
Navy Pier, is where I choose to spend New Years Eve of 2006, going into 2007, with my sister and friend. There was such a buzz about the place, with food stalls, a ferris wheel and fireworks. A great end to the year.
So those are just some amateur snapshots (I had some more, but lost these when my hard drive failed) from my 10 days in Chicago. The US has never been high on my list to visit, but each time I have gone, I have really loved it.
Have you been to Chicago? Where is your favourite place in the USA?