Two Coasts. 7,300+ Miles. 9 Days.
Chicago -- 26 hours!!!
Once in Chicago I immediately went to the Metro lounge, walking through an amazingly packed train station, and gained admission because I had arrived on a sleeper (though wasn't leaving on one); I checked my bags and headed out to do a little more exploring. I soon discoverd that it had snowed in Chicago -- everything was an icy mess. I walked to Millennium Park and returned to the metro lounge.
A bridge as we got closer to Chicago; Millennium Park in Chicago. If that bandstand looks vaguely familar it's because it was desgined by the same architect, Gehry, who did the Walt Disney Concert Hall!
I watched some TV and overheard a woman next to me talking about snow in NY. This was news to me, and so I inquired how much snow I should expect when I arrived home the next day. She laughed and said I probably wouldn't be arriving home the next day. This was news to me. Argh! I went to the passenger services room (along the way I found out that the line of people in the station had been waiting for 4 hours as one train didn't show up so they were going to cram two train loads onto one train). The attendant here confirmed that the Lakeshore was not running and they offered to put me up for the night or put me on the Three Rivers, expecting this train to be very late and very crowded I took the room. I was given 46 dollars for food and cabs and a voucher for the hotel. The hotel was amazing. VERY nice. One of the nicest I have ever been to before. I did a little wandering around outside, checked out the Borders (i work for Borders) and got some dinner.
The Michigan Avenue Borders. A very large and nice store!
These are a few photos from the hotel that Amtrak put me up in. I was very impressed! The last photo is the view from my window.
The next morning I arrived back at Union Station, gained entry to the metro lounge again, dumped my bags and headed out to see some museums. I spent most of the morning at the art museum (I was almost kicked out after getting into an argument about my having an empty water bottle) then walked up to the natural hist museum, though I didn't enter as it was too expensive. I watched about 3 hours of Law and Order after arriving back at the station. I drank a lot of tea. My train left on time.
A few of my favorite paintings from the museum. Unfortunately the names aren't clear. I don't know the name of the first one. The second one is something like Mary saying goodbye to Jesus (though not a religious person I am fascinated by early Christian art. This museum has tons of paintings on this topic). The last one is called Love's Melancholy. Though it isn't clear in this photo, the girls facial expression is amazing.
On the steps of the Natural Museum of History building after being repulsed by their entrance fee of 25 dollars. I made the mistake of trying to walk into the financial district during rush hour. It was a cattle call. I don't understand why people all try to leave at the same time. The mass of humanity was incredible!