Spring break in Chicago & Madison

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A few months ago, Gene and I decided to go on a vacation all by ourselves. No friends, no family. Somewhere we had never been and would probably never think to go. Enter the many google searches of “weird museums” and  “cool graffiti”. We landed on Madison, Wisconsin and after a bit of planning found ourselves flying into Chicago last Wednesday (it was the cheaper way to get to Madison).

Chicago is impressive. I loved walking around and looking up at all the large buildings. Most buildings were giant and downtown spanned an enormous area. Seattle is probably the next largest city I’ve visited and it was dwarfed in comparison to Chicago. Not only was Chicago gigantic but the buildings themselves were awesome because they were all so different. Different facades and structures. Denver is all the same – brown or black square buildings – it’s so boring – so seeing that not all cities are cookie cutters was a wonderful discovery.

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We took the train from the airport into town and walked to our first stop, which was, of course, deep dish pizza. How could we not try it out?! We went to Pequod’s and were not disappointed. It was the best deep dish pizza I have tasted. I didn’t think I was going to like it very much because I’m not a huge pizza fan so when I took that first bite I was surprised by how delicious it was. Turns out pizza isn’t all soggy bread with loads of sweet tomato sauce. I couldn’t quite finish my two pieces because they were so filling but I got close. It was the perfect way to start the trip.

After stuffing ourselves with pizza we headed to The Field Museum, Chicago’s nature and science museum. We spent the next few hours wandering the giant building, looking at taxidermied animals, jade tools and jewelry, Egyptian relics, and ancient Chinese history. The Egyptian section and dinosaur section weren’t the best (Denver’s dinosaur exhibit is superior) so we didn’t spend much time there but the rest were well done. The Chinese exhibit was especially remarkable as it housed artifacts from thousands and thousands of years ago and explored the history of the beginnings of China. Mind blowing stuff. There was this awesome video that showed the expansion and reduction of each Chinese dynasty throughout the ages over the map of China. It was a great visual representation and I really liked it.

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Once the museum closed we headed to our airbnb. We walked through a park that provided a lovely view of the Chicago skyline, and we ended up passing by the giant bean. While the bean was neat, I don’t think it would have been worth a detour just to see it, so I was glad that we just happened to pass by it. We made it to the airbnb and were treated to a lovely view of Chicago. We walked around the area for a bit and then ordered in some tasty fried chicken for dinner, sitting by the window looking out at Chicago nightlife.

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The next morning we wandered a bit before ending up at Yolk, a great brunch place. They had fresh squeezed orange juice and it was amazing. Food was delicious and filling, which meant we needed to walk around some more to burn off those extra calories. We walked along the river for a bit and then headed to a donut store that I wanted to visit. We got a buttermilk cake donut and had just enough time to walk back to the airbnb, grab our things, and head to the bus stop. Hours later and we hopped off the bus and landed in Madison, Wisconsin.

I’ll continue this trip in my next post.

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