The Slightly Windy City

Okay, I am not going to lie to you. I had really low expectations of Chicago. It’s in the Midwest, and I am definitely a coastal girl. But Chicago surprised me. It soared past my (very very low) expectations, and while I think we can all agree that New York pizza is way better, Chicago is pretty cool.

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After taking the overnight train to Chicago, I arrived early in the morning. I was a little nervous. Confession time- this is my first time really, truly, traveling alone. I went on like one day trip in London by myself, and moved to Rome without knowing anyone, but I was in school there, which is basically a given to make friends. I didn’t do any long trips by myself. Even on my train trip I was staying with people, up until Chicago. Now, I am really alone.

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Honestly, though? I had nothing to worry about. I got to my hostel, and it was too early to check in, so I just dropped my bags off and started walking. I walked from the navy pier, to the beach, to a deep dish pizza, then looped back around to Millennium park.

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By the time I made it back to my hostel, I could check in, and I immediately began to meet people.

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A (new) friend and I decided to explore the rest of the afternoon, and walked back to the Navy Pier. We got dinner at the Billy Goat Tavern (cheezborger!) and listened to jazz music fill the pier.

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After seeing 7 different popcorn shops, we decided we had to try Garrets cheese popcorn and caramel popcorn mixed together (tastes as weird as it sounds, but still pretty good). Luckily for us, we were there the last night they were doing fireworks, so we drank some cider, ate popcorn, and watched the sky light up.

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I was leaving pretty early the next day, so I didn’t have too much time to explore. We decided we had to see the Cloud gate, otherwise known as the ‘bean’. It was basically a giant reflective bean.

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If you didn’t know, Impressionism is my favorite kind of art, and my friend had told me that the Art Institute of Chicago has the largest collection in the US (don’t quote me on this), and so of course I had to see it. It was awesome, in short. I have seen most European Impressionists before, but there were also American Impressionists here, which was unique and incredible.

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Chicago turned out much better than I could have ever planned, and I really had nothing to be worried about. When staying in Hostels, it is so easy to meet new people, because everyone is doing the same thing as you, traveling alone, seeing new places, trying to make friends. We all have the same mindset.chicago6

Next post will be about Seattle and Portland!

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