Sunday, May 17, 2009

The Final Day in Chicago and The Train Ride Home

On Friday (our last full day in Chicago) we woke up to a very cloudy morning with a very big possibility of rain. That didn't matter to us. And we were in no hurry so we took our time getting ready and then had some breakfast. After eating we gathered our things and headed for the train. We took the green line out to Oak Park. It was a straight shot but with a lot of stops. By the time we arrived in Oak Park it was starting to drizzle. We first decided to do a little letterboxing and you can read about that at Tarzan in Oak Park. Then we ended up in downtown Oak Park and picked up a booklet of the area. By this time the rain had picked up a little but it wasn't too bad. Our goal was to see some of the Frank Lloyd Wright homes and his own home and studio. So we walked for a few blocks and began seeing some homes that were in the FLW style. We stopped and took pictures of different homes (not really knowing if they were a FLW design) and continued along until we reached his home and studio. You could take a tour but we decided to just look at the outside and continue on our walk. We figured out later that we saw at least seven of his houses (Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Thomas H. Gale House, Walter H. Gale House, Nathan G. Moore House, Arthur B. Heurtley House, Frank W. Thomas House and Edward R. Hills House). We also stopped at Austin Gardens to see a bust of Frank Lloyd Wright. Since it was raining we made a quick visit of the park and saw a large rock and wire sculpture that was interesting but I have no idea what it was and there was no sign describing it. After leaving the park we returned to the downtown area and decided to get out of the rain and went to see Angels and Demons. I enjoyed The DaVinci Code and wanted to see this one as well. I really enjoyed the movie and it kept me entertained the whole time. When the movie ended we stopped into one of the local restaurants and had something to eat before catching the train back to Chicago. The rain had not stopped during this whole time and after getting off the train we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel. We ended up getting our things packed for our journey home the next day and getting to bed early.

Saturday morning we slept in and then completed packing for the trip home. After we had some breakfast we got a taxi to Union Station. We checked our bags in and got our boarding passes. We went to the lounge and left our carry-ons with the porter. We still had about four hours before our train left so we decided to walk around a bit. We crossed the street from the station and went into the old part of Union Station. It is a beautiful and grand building. One thing that caught our eye was the steps leading down into the Great Hall. They were all worn out from the thousands of feet that had walked down them. I thought it was wonderful. We then hit the streets. We walked around Union Station and spotted a church with two beautiful spires (they were both different) and we went to check it out. It turned out to be the Old St. Patrick's Church. The church was one of the few buildings that survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. We went inside but only stayed for a moment - they were getting ready for a wedding. We crossed over the river and walked around The Loop for a while and then slowly made our way back to the station. We went back to the lounge and settled in to wait for the train. Thomas read and I worked on the computer and did puzzles.

Our train was scheduled to leave Chicago at 3:15pm and they called 'All Aboard' at about 2:45pm. Thomas and I decided to upgrade to a roomette just to see what it was like. So we made our way to our car and room. We put our carry-ons aside and got comfortable. The chairs are a little wider than in coach and face each other. There is a pull out table between them and plenty of leg room. We had a place to hang coats best of all a little privacy. We had a door with a window but also had curtains to cover the windows. At first we just sat and watched out the window as Chicago faded away. Eventually we read and talked about the trip. Time passed pretty fast and before we knew it dinner was being served. We had a nice meal and met a woman from Wisconsin who was on her way to visit her sister in San Diego. When we returned to our little room we decided to get it ready for sleeping - so we put the two seats down and then lowered the top bed. Thomas use the top one and went up there to read. I stayed in the lower bed and also read. I had started Stuart Woods' Santa Fe Dead on the train to Chicago. This time when I started reading I really got into the book. At about 2:00am I just couldn't keep my eyes open and finally went to sleep - I was a little upset because I only had about 25 pages to go but I just couldn't do it. Thomas had gone to sleep hours before this. We were both up by 6:00am the next morning and we got cleaned up and ready for breakfast. When they called to say the dining car was open we headed over there. It was a quick breakfast and we met two women from Kansas City on their way to the Grand Canyon. By the time we returned to the room the porter had put away the beds and straightened up the room. So we sat and read for a while. It didn't take me long to finish my book and then I started going through all the pictures I had taken on the trip to make a slide show. I worked on that for a while but didn't finish - there were just too many (over 1500), now there were some bad shots so I ended up taking multiples just to get a good one. So 1500 may sound like a lot but it was over a week and we saw some great stuff. We had some lunch, visited with a couple from Michigan (near the Canadian border) on their way to Las Vegas and then stayed in our room for the remainder of the trip - which wasn't that long. Nancy and Cliff met us at the depot in Lamy to take us back home. It was a great trip and I can't wait to take another train trip. Below are some slide shows - I ended up making three with different pictures because I had too many to share. There is a general slide show, a slide show containing architecture and one with art from the Art Institute of Chicago and public art around the city. Enjoy!

Chicago Trip Slide Show

Chicago Architecture Slide Show

Chicago Art Slide Show

1 comment :

John and Diane said...

Looks like you had a fantastic trip! You all really should have gone in a FLW house though.... ;-) Anyway, your pics made me want to go to Chicago.