20-23/7/2014: Next stop Chicago, Pennsylvania

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Ho Pennsylvania, sweet Pennsylvania! I only had a tiny bite of it in between the Blue Heron and Canada but now it‘s time for me to enjoy the greatest and most important of all American States the world over!

But wait! We’re not there yet I do believe, last I checked we were still in Seattle right? What, do you think the 4000 THOUSAND kilometers separating Seattle and Erie would go without any problems? Ha, so cute you all are! But I can’t blame you really. The way Saint-Paul/Seattle, our latest train ride was rather straightforward right?  No real problems or delays, so why would it go awry this time? Because it’s Amtrack of course, you fools!

Basically the train was delayed eight hours.

AGAIN!

But at least this time we took our precautions and we actually booked a roomette so we at least had the opportunity to rest quite correctly during the two nights+ voyage.

So yes on one hand we were horribly delayed but on the other hand the beautiful landscape was really amazing: passing from the Cascadian Mountains to the deserted prairie all the way until the Mississippi is a sight to behold.

Panorama of Chicago seen from the Navy Pier.

Panorama of Chicago water front as seen from the Navy Pier.

So yes, it was all beautiful but we still struggled. Water became scarce, food became scarce. Soon there were no more of Amtrack‘s delicious signature steaks and the crew was forced into creating some hybrid “BELT-wiches” (Bacon/Eggs/Lettuce/Tomato Sandwich) made with the remaining croissants. Still, the crew did a great job and they got us all the way to Chicago, but yes, we were 8 hours late.

What happened? Yep, this time they actually housed us in a hotel! A rather dingy looking one with one of the worst breakfasts I ever experienced (Linnea claims the eggs were fake.  I don’t wanna talk about it.) But at least it had a bed! More importantly, it left us a whole day to wander on our own in Chicago!

Chicago…well, for a European the name rings two bells:

I)             Musical

II)           MAFIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!

(The coolest of the two being of course the second one)

Lyonel and Linnea way above Chicago in the Ferris Wheel on the Navy Pier.

Lyonel and Linnea way above Chicago in the Ferris Wheel on the Navy Pier.

But sadly we saw no musicals and even less bandits. Instead we wandered by Chicago Waterfront, a huge entertainment area where we ate at a rather grand Burger/Baseball joint, went on the top of a super-giant Ferris wheel and wandered through a stained-glass museum. It was all great honestly, even with all the people, and the gardens on the top of the main building were quite impressive too!

After this rather touristy escapade we walked back to the city center and hung out at Chicago’s public Library as known as the coolest Library in the world. Honestly, the building was designed in the nineties but is completely Art-Nouveau in style + it’s as big as a train station. No, there’s only one explanation, this place is just downright awesome.

Inside the winter garden of the Chicago main public library, the most epic public library ever!

Inside the winter garden of the Chicago main public library, the most epic public library ever!

And I’m not even talking about the immediate surroundings of the library where we walked on a street with a train speeding right over the main road. It made me feel like we were in the Blues Brothers. How stupid I was, it took me a couple seconds to realize that it is because that’s where the bloody movie was filmed! There! Where I was walking! Crazy isn’t it?

Fantastic vegan food at Native Foods Café! We can definitely recommend this place. They also had sweet things which we didn't have time to try unfortunately.

Fantastic vegan food at Native Foods Café! We can definitely recommend this place. They also had sweet things which we didn’t have time to try unfortunately.

As night fell, we decided that I would be time for us to grab something to eat before going back to the train station and it proved much more complicated than we thought. There were basically no real restaurants open, just McDonalds and other peepshow-horrors. We were ready to give up until we unexpectedly found a Vegan restaurant that almost sent Linnea flying in happiness. We ate there. It was good and then we were on the train.

 

 


Text by Lyonel Perabo | | Photos by Linnea Nordström

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