Chicago, 2006 Recap

Since I don’t travel full-time, I figured that instead of doing a monthly recap, I would recap each of my trips following the full posts. These recaps will contain highs, lows, logistics, funny anecdotes, pictures, etc. that I likely didn’t include in the full posts.

Without further ado, my Chicago trip!

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Countries: 1 – United States
Year: 2006
Number of Days: 6, including travel
Cities Visited: 1 – Chicago
Favorite experience: Sears/Willis Tower with my cousins & sister
Favorite site: Chicago skyline via boat (bit of a cheat there, I know)
Type of trip: Family
Money Spent: I was still a teen on this trip, so my mom paid for most things

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  • Going to the Sears Tower with my sister and cousins was one of the absolute best times. We had a crazy cab ride there, but afterwards things felt pretty laid back. We took our time, and we didn’t feel rushed, even though we were held to a pretty strict schedule. The view was amazing, the company even more so, and I wish we all lived close enough to do things like that more often.
  • The boat ride along the Chicago River and harbor area was excellent. I’d highly recommend it to anyone visiting Chicago.
  • I debated whether to put this in the highs (because it sounded awesome) or the lows (because I wasn’t actually there), but the two groups had such a great time, it seemed a shame to put a negative spin on it. One of the nights, my uncles and cousins went out to the House of Blues and had a great time. During one of the days, my mom and sister went to the American Girl store and had a tea party and a photo shoot for my sister. The picture was then printed out as a fake magazine cover. I’m pretty sure Jen is embarrassed about it now, but she sure loved it at the time.

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  • I’ve briefly mentioned my insane claustrophobia during my Italy posts, but an incident in Chicago really upped it. During one of the nights of our stay, we were able to go up – along with at least 50 or so other people – to take a tour and have a small gathering/party in the penthouse.  I was one of the first on the elevator when it opened, by the simple fact that I happened to be standing near it. After me, however, roughly 20 people squeezed in, and we had a jam-packed, hellish ride up to the penthouse. By the time we reached the top, I was hyperventilating and shaking from the experience. Some of my family – and a very kind stranger – sat me on a bench and helped me calm down. To this day, that is still one of my worst claustrophobia-related experiences.

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Funny Moments:

  • We happened upon the Mr. Leather convention quite by accident, and saw some things we definitely had not intended to see on our trip. I don’t intend to make fun of anyone dressed up there (to each his own), but I will say we had a good chuckle about it afterwards.
  • I have only ever been impressed with one spider in my life, and that was the one I saw on the outside of a window on the observation deck of the Sears Tower. How long did it take the spider to get up there? What does it eat? How cold is it?
  • Apparently finding the Target was next to impossible for us. It took us ages, and we had to enlist the help of locals. My cousin was right – it really did feel like we were on The Amazing Race.
  • We apparently had a lot of trouble finding things, because it took us ages to find a McDonald’s for breakfast within decent walking distance. On the morning of the last full day of the trip, we discovered there was a tunnel connecting our hotel to another building, and right smack dab in the middle of the tunnel was a McDonald’s. Go figure.

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Overall Experience:

I quite enjoyed Chicago, and in retrospect I wish I had been able to have more free reign with my itinerary. But for what it was – a family trip during high school – I can’t really complain at all. I hope to go back to Chicago some day, but if I’m being honest, it’s not overly high on my list. Still, I recommend seeing it at least once.

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