Chicago Town Pizza.....!!

Trip Start Jun 29, 2010
Trip End Apr 07, 2012

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Where I stayed
Green Tortoise - In luxury on the back platform!

Flag of United States  , Illinois
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We woke on the bus after yet another night in the coffin and could not see where we were. Chris jumped out and gave Annabelle the signal that we had arrived in Chicago.  The bus pulled up in a retail park and we stumbled into the toilets (we had to walk into the supermarket in our pj's) to brush our teeth and get ready for the day ahead.  We packed a light bag and headed into the city.  We had no idea about Chicago and had only read a few pages in the guidebook so decided to jump into a cafe which had internet so we could have some early lunch and then head out (this was also to avoid the heat which was so intense and draining, not the best city stomping weather!!)

We decided to take the hop on/hop off bus which was a great decision as it provided us with a good bearing of the city and also some vouchers which would come in handy for later in the day.  Here are some very interesting facts that we managed to remember from the excellent tour guide...

-  Chicago is the home town of the now President Obama, a fact mentioned fairly frequently by the tour guides, apparently Barack and Michelle met at work as they both had offices in the Chase Building and you can also now get a tour around his neighbourhood.

-  Route 66 actually starts in the Centre of Chicago

-  To attract people back into Chicago at one low point they built a city within a city.  It’s two huge blocks that look like corn on the cob, with residential apartments on the top and car parking on the bottom floors.  They have all of their own facilities, parking, shopping, gyms, cinema etc – enen their own boat moorings as the 'city’ is on the river, leading out to Lake Michigan.  It was this complex that inspired the cartoon - the Jetsons.

-  They have and continue to shoot many films in Chicago, Batman amongst them, the scene with the joker was shot outside the Trump building!  We also witnessed the making of Transformers 3 and at one point our tour bus had to stop amongst the gun fire and explosions, brilliant!!

-  Hugh Hefner and Walt Disney attended the School of Art Institute in the city.

-  Chicago had a great fire which lasted for 3 days, eventually when the rain came and put the fire out most of the city had to be re-built which you can see from the architecture on display.  A result of this was that Grant Park was built on landfill from 18,000 cleared buildings

-  The Bears are the local baseball team and the Soldierfield Stadium was built in 1923

-  Chicago has the oldest planetarium in the States and has 12 sides, one for each sign of the Zodiac

-  Chicago sits on the great Lake Michigan which is 300 miles long, 119 miles wide and 927 feet deep and is the only Lake that does not run into Canada.

-  Chicago was also the birthplace for the Ferris Wheel.  It was invented by George Ferris for the second world fair that took place in Chicago.  The original version was approx 4 times the size of today’s wheels and each cabin held up to 60 people per carriage

-  Chicago has also been home to some TV giants, Oprah Winfrey and Jerry Springer both loiving and working in the city

-  Chicago was the birthplace to Wrigley Chewing Gum when William Wrigley gave away wrapped gum as a promotion to sell his soap!  The gum was so popular that the rest is history!

-  If you go to the Chicago Reserve you can get a bag of shredded US bills as a souvenir or a pen with shredded $100 bills in it.

-The Kluczynski Federal Building hold the world record for the highest racoon climb.  100 people watched a racoon climb 36 floors on some external scaffolding, though an official judge was not in attendance they took the 100 people to be truthful and awarded the record anyway!!

We took the bus for around 12 stops before we decided to get off at the Hancock Tower stop, at this point we were desperate for a drink and some shade from the top deck of the bus.  We had been told that if we head to the Tower there was a bar called ‘The Signature Bar’ on the 96th floor where we could take in the views without having to pay for them, sounds good to 2 poor travellers so we headed up there.  The lift was a bit dodgy and started to move from side to side with too much ease for Chris who held on for dear life.  The bar had a great range of drink options and we decided to go for a smoothie.  Chris -  a Strawberry and Annabelle a Tropical, both decorated with huge chunks of fruit on the sides.

We then headed back to the bus and went past the largest McDonalds in the world (as Chicago is where those little burgers were first made) and made our way back to the Chicago Federal Reserve to pick up the shredded money and pen.  This was in fact one of our biggest disappointments as upon arrival the Reserve had been closed since 4pm and we arrived at 4.45pm...Gutted...Maybe next time??

Chicago, being sat on the side of the Lake Michigan has a great shoreline and we decided to brave the heat and walk out to the Millennium Park.  The park is huge and has some really interesting interactive art to see, the two best ones were Crown Fountain, where the faces of local Chicagoans are displayed on huge 50ft LED display towers;  the faces are displayed for about 5 minutes and then they go from smiling to pouting and a huge fountain of water spurts out of their mouth – brilliant.  The Bean was a stainless steel sculpture that reflects the skyline of the city aswel as the clouds in the sky and the people in front of it. So we spent a few minutes playing around getting good reflection pictures before hitting another coffee shop to do our new favourite pastime ... blogging.     

We had decided to partake in a Chicago tradition for dinner (the Chicago Pizza of course!) and headed to Giordano’s where we ordered a cup of Bacon and Potato Soup and Artichoke & Spinach Dip served with garlic bread to start, then for the main course we ordered a small, yes you heard it right, small Special Stuffed Chicago Style Pizza, made with sausage, pepper, cheese and covered in a delicious tomato sauce.  We were glad that we had only ordered a small pizza as it was about 2 inches thick and looked more like a pie.  It was so filling we were glad of our walk back to the bus to work off some of the calories....  After an exhausting day all we wanted to do was sleep – so got back to the bus at 10pm hoping to get a spot on the back platform, which we did, so we went to sleep excited to see where we would wake up!!
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