Stony faces and windy cities
After leaving Boulder, we continued on our journey east. We had decided that on our trip we were going to take in as many sites along the way as possible. Even though it was not the most direct route, a stop by the famous Mount Rushmore was definitely in order.
Upon arrival to the park, we caught a glimpse of the mountain face from our car and let me just say that we were very disappointed. They seemed much smaller than they are portrayed in the movies. We thought that what we saw must surely be a model, not the real thing.
Getting closer, we realised that the presidents’ faces that we saw were indeed the real thing. As we approached, they grew larger and more impressive. We spent a lovely time there, taking as many photos as possible. We felt like the tourist paparazzi, but in comparison with the group of Russians taking a series of glamour shots with the presidents, we were quite restrained.
The rest of that day was a very long one in the car. We eventually stopped in the little town of Albert Lea in Minnesota, where Lisa got to sample her first meal at Applebee’s. It was a very long day and we were very tired.
Our hotel in Chicago was right off of the magnificent mile and it was a steal. We wandered down the glitzy shops and amazing buildings of downtown Chicago all the way down to Millennium Park. We spent a long time taking photos of the very impressive Cloud Gate, or as it is more commonly called, the Bean. It is a giant sculpture in the middle of the park that resembles a giant, shiny garbanzo bean. We milled amongst the hoards of other tourists taking an obscene amount of photos.
Our first dinner in Chicago was at the Pizzeria Uno, which is where the famous deep dish Chicago pizza was invented. We were very impressed and very full afterwards. We could only eat two slices each.
After diner, we were too full to go to bed, so we headed out to North Halstead Street for a little disco dancing. Joel had spent a few weekends here during his time in America and he assured us that a good time was to be had. We neglected to think that it was a Monday evening and would most likely be dead. The first bar that we visited was playing nothing but obscure show tunes that had most of the other bar patrons singing away. Not impressed. We then headed to a karaoke bar across the street, but were greeted with the banshee like wail of some queen singing. Our night out was cut very short indeed.
The next day was a full day of sightseeing. We started out with an architecture tour on a boat up the Chicago River. It was really quite enjoyable and informative. The architecture in Chicago is simply amazing and the crystal clear day greatly added to our viewing pleasure. The cruise would have been perfect if 200 school children had not been on our same boat.
One of the other things we were told that we had to try was a Chicago style hot dog. They are apparently world famous. We found a place on Navy Pier and let me just say that they were delicious.
We headed off to do a little more exploring of the city with a quick stop at the Hancock Centre for a cloud level view of the city. Again, I did not go to the top. Then, we ambled among the beautiful streets enjoying the view and doing a spot of shopping along the way.
That night, we met up with some friends of mine from Club Med, Parker and Katie, who live in Chicago. I haven’t seen them in six and a half years and it was great to catch up. On the way home from the restaurant, Joel and Lisa were overjoyed to spot the Harpo studio where Oprah was filmed. We got out to take some more photos by the sign.
Our time in Chicago had come to an end all too soon. We could have spent days in this beautiful city, but we were very excited for our next destination: NYC!!!