North America | United States of America (USA) | Great Lakes | Illinois | Chicago – I am Really in Chicago?
I have long believed that I would never visit Chicago. I have had nine trips cancelled in the last decade and I had all but given up.
My friend and I took an Amtrak train to Chicago. It took all day to get there, but I considered the rail travel to be part of the trip. Train travel really relaxes me. I sleep well on trains and find myself feeling calm. I like the opportunity to stare out the windows at the changing scenery, to walk around, to eat in a dining car and to knit and read without feeling there is something else I should be doing.
There were delays that caused us to arrive in Chicago an hour late. Nine and a half hours is a long time on a train…but I find the time on the train to be part of the vacation. The travel along the Mississippi River was interesting and attractive.
The train had more leg room than I expected, and the food prices weren’t as high as I anticipated (still not cheap, but you can get a palatable five dollar sandwich, or a rather scary three dollar one).
The train left early in the morning, so we arrived in Chicago in the late afternoon. We walked three quarters of a mile in the heat to the Palmer House Hotel and dropped off our bags. The hotel is the oldest in the city and is still extremely fancy and expensive. Of course we found an incredibly inexpensive rate on our room (no view, but we didn’t mind).
We left the hotel to tour the Art Institute of Chicago. I enjoy art museums, and this one did not disappoint me. It also wasn’t as great as I expected, but it was nice to see. The admission was also free, as it is each Tuesday. This translated into a fairly crowded museum, but that wasn’t much of a problem. The layout of the museum was a little confusing. I never understood how items were arranged withen each exhibit area. The flow of paintings sometimes felt ackward.