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Posts tagged "illinois"

Chicago

  • 12/Apr/2019 at 18:00

After a week in the Far West, landing in Chicago was like doing zapping on TV: from a Western movie to any urban movie in black and white. USA has always that effect on me: I am living in a movie. The train that connects the airport with downtown would qualify in an amusement park: high speed and abrupt movements and breaks, all this in the middle of the night, and with that variety of passengers that you can only see in the US.

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I soon arrived to Chinatown, as my accommodation during the first few days was there. Chinatown in any city is one of those neighbourhoods that make you think you are in an action movie. It was my third participation in a movie not that day.

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The next day, it was Sunday, I could devote it to walk the city. The first impression once I got closer to Lake Michigan was that it was a good place to live. It was a nice morning, sunny, hundreds of people runnning or walking (alone, in couples or with baby trolleys), and the boats ready to set sail for a day out in the lake. That day happened to take place one of the biggest airshows int he World, and everyone was out seizing that opportunity, in spite of the high temperature and humidity of the central hours of the day.

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From what they say, winter is not that nice here though. It is called the Windy City for a reason, and that wind in Winter is freezing. Parking signs in the city address the issue, banning parking in some areas where many centimeters of snow is expected from Autumn to Spring.

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Chicago is above all, the City of the Architecture. Its skyline has nothing to envy others like New York, and history of modern architecture can be studied in a walk in the city, or better, in one of the boat tours that take you around the canals, explaining the history of the city and the buildings.

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In one of those tours, I learned that the first settlers arrived in 1779 to Chicago, that there are 23 bridges that can be opened up, or that regulation played a major in the way the city is arranged today. I liked the fact that all buildings must leave free space for a boardwalk, making the river accessible to everyone.

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One of the things I like the most in a city is to learn about its history. Why are there canals in the city? Why so many skyscrapers? The reason for the canals seems to be a very practical one: due to the nearby industry, water could not be drunk, so they routed the industry dirty waters out to provide drinking water to the citizens. Skyscrapers have been built there due to the government policies too, although the Great Depression and the Wars provoked a break in construction between the 30’s and the 50’s.

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Among all skyscrapers, one has been known worldwide: the Sears Tower, now the Willis Tower (change of owner, change of name). Once the tallest building in the world, now just the fourth one, after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, Taipei 101 in Taiwan, and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. Another key building is the Hancock Tower, which has a bar/restaurant from where you can observe the whole city.

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This city is more than buildings, though. Music is also a big thing: particularly live jazz and blues clubs. I visited Andy’s Jazz Club and Buddy Guy’s Legends, a blues club. I am not a big fan of neither of them, but I did enjoy the atmosphere in both places, and blues concert was extremely fun.

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Chicago is not complete without its Millenium Park, mainly because of The Bean, the famous sculpture by Anish Kapoor, and which is a must in the city. No one leaves this city without taking pictures of it, or selfies through its reflecting surface. This park completes its offer with a huge open-air auditorium, where people can enjoy a picnic while the culture offering is playing.

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The last “must” is the fireworks. They are known to be impressive, so we went to the best spot to see them in our last night: the Observation Deck: the show would take place just in front of us to the right, and the skyline full of lights were to its left. Fireworks were okay (disclaimer: I am originally from a place where fireworks are a really big thing, so it is tough to be impressed so easily abroad), but skyline was gorgeous, and a really nice way to say goodbye to Chicago. See you some other time.

Olemiswebs
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