Day 16 – The Windy City

Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Miles To Date: 
1 150

Today was the earliest start in a while because we wanted to catch the 9.29 commuter train from our Chicago suburb. The trains had a novelty factor because they are double decker, but we were let down by it breaking down and delaying us 20 minutes before reaching the final station!

From the commuter rail station we had to catch an above ground metro to the heart of the city (called the inner loop). These above ground trains were definitely interesting to travel on. It was intriguing to see trains running right over the roads, and the whole system clearly hadn’t been updated in around 100 years. The platforms looked like they might fall apart and the whole stations shook when trains arrived!

Once at downtown we soon found out why they call it the Windy City – really strong winds were blowing all day long! We later heard on the radio that gusts were around 35-40mph today. We started by heading to the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower and going right up to the observation deck. This gave us some amazing views of the region for 50 miles around, which included four different states (Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin). At the top there were glass ledges that allowed you to walk out and look directly down from 103 storied up!

After, we tried to find the harbour for a boat tour but ended up walking for around an hour before realising it was quite a long bus ride away! This wasn’t a complete waste of time though since we got to see Millennium Park and some nice views of the lake and downtown area. In the end we decided to leave the boat tour until tomorrow and head to the shopping area instead. This is called ‘The Magnificent Mile’ since it covers around a mile of Michigan Avenue in the North part of the downtown area. Lauren managed to get some more clothes in Forever 21.

We then caught the commuter train back to the motel to get some dinner locally. We ended up in the same restaurant as last night since the unlimited food deal was too good to resist!

Photo(s) of the day: The view from one side of the Willis Tower and a odd mirrored kidney bean shape sculpture in Millennium Park.