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Trip Illinois Illinois   My visits to Illinois since 2011. Walter C (US)



My visits to Illinois since 2011.

  • 11Jun 2011

    1 At the Wedding 06/11/2011 USA —

    Chicago, USA


    The first domestic trip for me in 2 years. But the first part of the trip was to go to my sister's wedding, as this trip would be different from the others. Here is a brief summary of my time at the wedding:

    The first day was spent with the wedding rehearsal and dinner. And renting the tuxedo, which I had to try on. I do not like dressing up, so this was not exactly a fun experience.

    When it came to the rehearsal, I learned that I had to dress up a little bit, but the tux would have been too much. So one of my sister's friends bought some nice clothes for me to wear. And they ended up fitting me very well. Then went to the hotel, where the rehearsal took place. We practiced what we had to do, then went to dinner, with family members and guests. It was a good time, as I got to meet people from my sister's life, and future brother-in-law. I spent the night at my sister's place.

    The next day, the day of the wedding, I took it easy for the most part, not wanting to feel tired later on. So I just chilled until the time came. Then went to the hotel, where most of the family members were staying and just waited there until the wedding began.

    I got to see my sister get married, as I got to walk her down the aisle. And there was dinner and a party afterwards, as I got to see relatives who I have not seen in a long time. Overall, it was a fun time, and unbelievable moment. Even did some dancing, and talked with other guests.

    The big day has come and gone, as it was a huge moment in our family.

    (Out of respect, I won't be posting any other of the wedding photos, since it was their moment here. But did on Facebook.)

    Photos & Videos


  • 12Jun 2011

    2 Millennium Park and LeBron Loser 06/12/2011 USA —

    Chicago, USA


    After starting off the day with a breakfast buffet with the family, I had to drive them back to the airport, using my sister's car. Then I just relaxed at her place for a little while.

    After some time, I went out, hoping to visit the travel store on Michigan Ave, that I can remember visiting back in 2001. And I thought I remembered where it was, so I did not bother looking up directions. But when I got there, I had trouble finding it. After spending some time looking, I just gave up.

    I did ride on the train around the Loop, which was downtown Chicago. Then got off, and went to Millennium Park. I looked at some structures along the way. I entered by the Millennium Monument in Wrigley Square, which was a structure of columns. Then up the stairs to the Jay Pritzer Pavilion, which was an outdoor concert hall. It had no cover, and where people can sit in the seats or on the grass. And a concert was happening at the moment.

    I walked around the place, as I heard the music played. Then got a message, that my sister was having a get-together, so I would meet up with her and her husband, and their friends.

    Along the way, I stopped by Cloud Gate, and just looked at it briefly. This silver structure looked like a giant bean. I took a picture of myself taking a picture, as it acted like a distorted mirror. Then I left the park.

    I walked to the restaurant, not remembering the name, and getting confused along the way. I was looking for Hubbard Street, which intersected with Michigan Ave, according to the map. But I could not find it, and would later find out that it actually under Michigan Ave. And I ended up going around a block until I found it, then I was able to find the restaurant.

    I met up with my sister and her new husband, and their friends and family. And we all had dinner, and watched Game 6 of the NBA Finals, between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat. Needless to say, everyone was rooting for the Mavs. And we all came away happy with the outcome, as the Mavs came out as the NBA champions. Nice to see Dirk Nowitzki get a championship ring, after deciding this past offseason, to stay with the Mavericks rather than do what LeBron James did, which was bolt to another team for a ring.

    Afterwards, we all headed back to my sister's place, and just chilled there, until bed time.

    Photos & Videos


  • 13Jun 2011

    3 Looping Around 06/13/2011 USA —

    Chicago, USA


    The day started off, seeing my sister and her new husband, taking off for their honeymoon to Paris. I would crash at her place for the time being, and take care of a few things.

    After some time, I went to downtown. I got a meal along the way, then headed to the Chicago Cultural Center. I can remember visiting this place in my first visit to the city back in 2001. It had different exhibits back then. Also inside, is the visitor center, where I can pick up some info and maps, which is what I did.

    I looked around the exhibits briefly, which was local artwork, made of various things. Then just went to the library, where I like to hang out, and read or just think. Then I went out, to follow a walking tour of the Loop.

    The Loop is what downtown Chicago is called. The name originally derived from the area being enclosed by the El Train, looping around the area. But downtown has expanded beyond the area, and continues to grow, so now, the name is synonymous with downtown, and often used interchangeably.

    I started by walking up Michigan Ave, to the Chicago River. Then walked on the Riverwalk, looking at the various buildings, which looked interesting and reading about their history in the booklet that I had. Going under bridges, passing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Merchandise Mart, then walked into the heart of the Loop, where I continued to walk around, up until the Chicago Board of Trade.

    I can remember visiting inside this place and seeing the actual trade floor, back in August 2001. But now, I could not find it, and even if I did, it was unlikely that I would be allowed since it has been usually closed since 9/11. There was a little exhibition on the history and how business was done, but I only skimmed through it for a few minutes. I went back out, and relaxed in a McDonald's, enjoying a sundae. Then went to the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower).

    I entered the building, and after paying admission, there was a short film on the building. Then the ride to the top. Once there, I walked around, looking at different parts of the city and Lake Michigan. On the west side, there were glass balconies, which was nerve-wrecking. I was hesitant to walk on it, but made myself do it. The tough part was getting a photo taken, as there was one kid who acted like he had it all to himself.

    I went back down, and headed to Wrigley Field. Once there, I had to walk to the ticket office, to pick up my ticket. Then I looked around for a bit on the outside, like the Ernie Banks statue and the famous sign in front of the stadium. After that, I entered the Friendly Confines.

    I walked around the concourse, then had to go up the ramps, to the top level, where my seat was. First, I wanted to make sure that it was in the shade. Then went back down, to the ticket office, to buy for next day's game. There were still some left, and I got one from the same section.

    I went back up, and sat in the seat. Looked around for a bit, as I was inside the 2nd oldest stadium in baseball, opening in 1914. I did get to tour the place back in 2008, but this was the first time I was here for a game. To me, visiting a stadium only really counts for a game. I did the see the manual scoreboard, and the ivy-covered walls in the outfield.

    It was chilly, as the Chicago Cubs faced the Milwaukee Brewers. There were some Brewers fans at the game. The game itself, turned out to be a pitchers' duel, between Ryan Dempster and Randy Wolf. It was scoreless until the 8th inning, when the Cubs scored on a fielder's choice, just beating the catcher's tag at the plate. And was the only run scored, and the only one needed, as the Cubs beat the Brewers, 1-0.

    Afterwards, I walked around the ballpark to look around some more. Then exited the ballpark. I tried to look for a place called Lucky's to grab something to eat. But I was not sure where it was, and decided to visit it another day. So I rode back on the El train, eavesdropping on a conversation along the way.

    I got back to my sister's place, where I would be house sitting. And got a message from my aunt, who I did not want to see, knowing fully well that she will annoy me about being single, especially now, that my younger sister has gotten married. I fell asleep after a while.

    Photos & Videos


  • 14Jun 2011

    4 Lucky's Near Wrigley 06/14/2011 USA —

    Chicago, USA


    My day started off late, as I took my time getting out. Basically spending the morning, slacking off, and surfing the net on the laptop, which belonged to my new brother-in-law, looking at various websites. One of them was TravBuddy, and seeing Andrew's (jamesdean252) review of Lucky's being featured this day, was a reminder to go there. So I looked up the directions, then went out, and headed to Wrigley Field.

    Once at the ballpark, I stopped by a 7-Eleven, to get a Big Gulp, which should save me some money from buying a drink at the restaurant. Then walked down a street, until I found Lucky's. This was a place that was featured on the TV show, Man v. Food. I went in, and looked around for a bit. I did see the Wall of Fame, which includes host, Adam Richmond. I did have a very nice meal, having an overstuffed turkey sandwich. And I have to say, if Andrew's review was not featured, I would have totally forgotten about it.

    After the meal, I went to a sports gift shop, just browsing at the merchandise, which includes all the local teams, except for the White Sox. No surprise there. With the area being quiet, I decided to walk around the stadium.

    Along the way, I would pass by the rooftop bleachers, and a number system below one of them. And saw the Harry caray statue, plus various names of players on the ground, who have played for the Cubs over the years, like Ryan Sandberg and Mark Grace. Then came upon the Billy Williams statue.

    After walking around the ballpark, I went back to take care of some things. Then back to Millennium Park, to see more of it. I went to see the fountain monoliths, which were tall structures that poured water, and had video screens that showed faces of people, showing facial expressions. Then it showed them "spitting" water out of their mouths, which was a neat effect. Being that it was a warm day, a bunch of kids played around.

    I went to see the Cloud Gate, and went under it. Then to the BP Bridge, which was some weird looking silver bridge. I crossed halfway, then came back, as the baseball game time was approaching. I passed by some structures, as I left Millennium Park. Hopped on the El, and to Wrigley Field.

    Once there, I did get to see a band play, before entering the ballpark. Once in there, I walked around, seeing the flags of teams in the NL, arranged in order by current standings. Then went to the top deck, where my seat was. I sat one section over from the day before, and had part of my view obstructed by a beam.

    Also, it was interesting that I went to 2 night games at Wrigley, as this place was known for day games. The day games stemmed from the fact that it was the last in the majors to install lights in 1988. And the Cubs had to, otherwise playoff games would be held elsewhere, as MLB wanted the games for prime time TV.

    The 2nd game between the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers jumped to a 3-0 lead after 4 innings. The Cubs did not score until the 7th inning, making it 3-1. Then I got to see the manager get ejected from the game, and had some nasty things to say to the umpire. To the 8th inning, when both teams scored, 1 by the Brewers and 3 by the Cubs, tying the score. The game would go extra innings, to the 10th, when the Cubs scored the winning run, to win the game 5-4.

    I went down to the concourse, and saw the Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame. Then left, and went back to where I was staying. Took care of some things, then to sleep.

    The next day, I would have to put the cat into boarding, and tried to get a Chicago hot dog. But had no time to eat it, so I just went to the airport. And returned home.


  • 22Aug 2012

    5 Unbelievable! 08/22/2012 USA —

    Chicago, USA


    Coming back from Milwaukee, where I spent the first half of this day. I would hit Chicago traffic, and got stuck in it for 2 hours. And it was made worse by the fact that I had to return the rental car by a certain time or pay extra fees.

    So after enduring the traffic, I was able to return the car, but not on time, and had to pay extra. Then I took the El train, and went to the North Side, near DePaul University. I got there, and walked to the Chicago Getaway Hostel. A very nice hostel. I decided to stay at a hostel instead of my sister's place, since my sister just recently gave birth to a baby girl. I planned to visit her and see the baby for the first time.

    I checked in, and rested for a bit. After that, as it got late, I decided to go to my sister's place. I had to send her a text to make sure it was okay for me to visit. It was, and headed there.

    I arrived there, and got to see my baby niece for the first time. And even got to hold her. It was truly unbelievable, as I never saw myself ever doing that. Not sure why I feel that way, I just do! I was really an uncle, holding her.

    I was there for a few hours, with my sister and her husband, having dinner and hanging out. It was a nice time there, catching up. Then it got late, and I headed back.

    It ended up being an unbelievable day, for simply seeing my baby niece.

    Photos & Videos


  • 23Aug 2012

    6 Old School Games! 08/23/2012 USA —

    Brookfield, USA


    This was the day that I would go to an arcade, and play some old school video games. Now, you may wonder, why would I waste vacation time, going to a place to play video games when you can do that back home? A long time ago, that was a valid question, and I would have no good answer. But now, with arcades nearly being extinct, I tend to look for these places, hoping to find ones that have old video games.

    I learned about the Galloping Ghost Arcade, which was located in Brookfield, a suburb of Chicago. And not too far from Midway Airport. A true arcade, unlike Dave & Busters, which isn't really one.

    I went to Union Station in downtown. From there, I had to take the Metra, which was a commuter rail line to the suburbs. I had to check the schedules, and saw that I would have to use 2 different stops. More about that later on.

    So I got to the right platform, and hopped on the Metra. A 2-story train, I went to the top level. I got off at Congress Park, which was much closer to the arcade. The ride was not long, and I had to make sure that I did not fall asleep.

    I was able to find the arcade, with help from my phone. I went inside, paid admission, and it was unlimited free play for the entire day. Oh man, I was going back in time, not only because of the old games, but also because of the environment that is slowly disappearing from this world and can't be duplicated at any other place.

    It did remind me how much time and money I spent playing video games, especially the fighting games. I would spend 5 hours playing. I could spent the entire day, if I wanted to. Games I really enjoyed, are Super Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat games, Double Dragon, and Time Soldiers.

    I did take a break, and went to the Chinese take-out place next door. I ordered the chicken wings, and was salty and nasty, as they were stale.

    I had to leave, since I did not want to get back so late. And I had to walk to the Brookfield station, which was a 20-minute walk. I had to go there, since not many trains stopped by Congress Park, and none after 3 PM. I got there, where I hopped on the Metra, and rode back to Chicago. Then back to the hostel.

    I had a great time at the arcade, which was a throwback to my childhood in more ways than one. And hoped to visit again on this trip, but not sure which day. But it is always something to do whenever I come to Chicago.

    [I should have taken more photos of the place, but I just got distracted big-time!)

    Photos & Videos


  • 24Aug 2012

    7 Soldering Through Heat 08/24/2012 USA —

    Chicago, USA


    I started this day, not sure what to do. I was thinking about going to a doubleheader of baseball games, as both the Cubs and White Sox were home at the same weekend, which is very rare. I decided to just go to the White Sox game. Plus there were stadium tours of Soldier Field, which were only given once or twice a week. So I had to plan around that.

    Going outside, I was sweating very quickly, as it was so hot outside. And I did not pack any shorts, which made it worse in this heat wave.

    Until then, I decided to visit my sister's place, and hang out there for a bit. It was just nice to talk and catch up a bit. When the time came, I left and went towards Museum Campus. I arrived by Soldier Field, near the actual soldiers' memorial, hence the name of the stadium.

    I went to the gift shop, to see if that was where I bought a ticket for tours. But they tell me that I had to go all the way around to get there. So I had to go back out, and run around the stadium. Very hot and humid, as I quickly got tired and sweaty. Another family followed behind me, as they were looking as well.

    We got to the entrance, where there were people already waiting. I paid the fee, and waited a little while, until the stadium tour started. We went inside the stadium, starting in the concourse area. There were murals and displays of events that have been held at Soldier Field.

    The tour guide was an unapologetic Bears fan, and will take occasional jabs at the Packers. He showed us the field, which we can see but can't walk on. Then the visitor locker room, along with the trainers room. Then back out in the hot weather, passing by the area where we entered and the mezzanine area.

    We would find major relief in the heat, in the skyline suites, the only air-conditioned part. As the name suggested, you can see the skyline and watch the game. Can't imagine how expensive it would be, but one has to have major money.

    Unfortunately, we went back out, and to the Greek columns, the original part of the stadium. Nearby are the original seats. This was where the tour ended. I looked around, seeing the lake and memorials. Then walked near the bus stop, seeing another memorial.

    The tour was okay, but it just reminded me, that to really see a football stadium, I would have to attend an actual football game. A tour just doesn't feel the same.

    I left, and went to my sister's place, to hang around again. When the time came, I went back to the hostel, and took advantage of the all-you-can eat BBQ. It was free for those staying there. I ate so much and stuffed myself. As a result, I would run late to the White Sox game.

    So I headed to US Cellular Field, a stadium that I first visited back in 2008. More about that visit in the blog entry here, along with the review here.

    So there was no urgency to get there early. But I did want to see a few things that I missed the first time around. One of them was the home plate of Comiskey Park, the old ballpark of the White Sox. After that, I went to the current ballpark, seeing the starting lineup on the wall. I went inside, and headed to the upper deck, seeing the Chicago White Sox play the Seattle Mariners.

    It was the 2nd inning, by the time I arrived at my seat, with the Mariners leading 2-1. But not for long, as the White Sox tied in the bottom of the 2nd inning. They scored 2 more in the 3rd, and 2 more in the 4th, all of which on home runs. Another in the 6th, as the White Sox led 7-2, going into the 9th inning. Looked like a blowout. But then, the Mariners scored 6 runs in the top of the 9th, to take a 8-7 lead. The home crowd had to be stunned. But it was not over, as the White Sox scored 2 runs, to come back and win it 9-8.

    An unbelievable game, with the best part in the 9th inning, with all that scoring. There were postgame fireworks afterwards. Then headed out, and went back to the hostel.

    Photos & Videos


  • 25Aug 2012

    8 A Field Day 08/25/2012 USA —

    Chicago, USA


    As I got up, I decided to go to the arcade again. I checked the Metra schedules, and had to catch it by a certain time to really enjoy the place, and not come back late.

    So I went out, and tried to get to Union Station. But would run into a problem, as there was construction on the subway tracks, closing part of the Loop. So I had to get off at a different stop, farther away from the train station. I got off, and went one way, thinking I was heading there, as I was running out of time.

    Sweating like crazy, I realized that I went the wrong way. By then, it was too late. Being the weekend, not as many trains running. So I went to get some bottled water, as I dripped in sweat. Using my new I-phone, I looked into other options. I decided to head to the Hershey shop, heading north on the El train.

    I got to the Hershey's place, which was nothing more than a gift shop. It was located near Michigan Ave, along the Mag Mile. But it was a place to cool off, and relax at the cafe. I got a peanut butter chocolate milkshake, which was really good and cooling, but really messy without the lid. Basically, I had to remember that it's not ice cream, even though I tend to use a spoon instead of a straw, since I have a hard time sucking the thick milkshake through the straw.

    After enjoying and relaxing the milkshake, I had to head back out into the muggy weather. I decided to go to the Field Museum of Natural History, so I headed over there, to Museum Campus. Once there, I went up the stairs, and inside. I figure, might as well spend this time indoors.

    There was a Genghis Khan exhibition, which was the main reason coming here. I had to pay extra for it, and photography was not allowed inside. So I went in, and learned about the famous Mongol leader, Genghis Khan. He was the leader of the Mongols, who stretched their empire from Eastern Europe, all the way to Korea. There were displays of artifacts, showcasing the way of life for the Mongols, and how they lived in the desert.

    It also got into the history after his time, particularly of his grandson, Kublai Khan. And how the empire would eventually fall, and the legacy that Genghis Khan left, and the impact he had for today. It was interesting to see how they put a positive spin on the guy, considering he is normally portrayed as a ruthless killer.

    Afterwards, there were other things to see in this museum, and I was not going to see everything. The place was huge. So I had to pick a couple sections, and focus on those. I checked out the Egyptian collection, as I always enjoy looking at them. Then went to the Africa section, which was a section on the continent itself. Then came the dark and tragic part, which was on slavery. It started with a dark tunnel, then got into the horrors of slavery in the New World. After that, an exhibition on life of African-Americans, and their culture in the US. Closing time approaching, and I ended up rushing through most of the Africa section.

    It was a nice place to spend some time, considering how last minute it was, and how freaking hot it was outside. When closing time came, I had to leave and waited at the bus stop. I would end up waiting about 40 minutes, as I saw so many coming into Museum Campus, but only one coming out. And that one was so full that it did not bother to stop. Another one came, and I got on it.

    I went back to the hostel, once again, for the all-you-can-eat barbecue. And once again, I ate so much and was stuffed, but satisfied.

    Afterwards, I went to visit my sister's place, and hang out there for a while. And get to see the baby one last time. I would learn that I have to wash my hands before touching the baby, as their immunity has not been built up yet. Still, it was truly something to see the baby niece.

    After a while, I had to head back to the hostel. And then to sleep. The next day, I would return home!

    Photos & Videos


  • 20Jul 2013

    9 The First Birthday Party and More 07/20/2013 USA —

    Chicago, USA


    This trip mainly happened, to celebrate my niece's first birthday ever. I arrived the day before, and we got to see my sister's family. We just had a dinner together. I would arrive the day after my mom did.

    Started this day, going to the airport, to eat at a McDonald's at the international terminal. After the breakfast, we rode the tram, and had a little friendly chat with a war veteran, who was stationed in Korea back in the day. He talked mainly with my mom about how different Korea is now.

    Back to the hotel for a little while. Then went into the city, and to the restaurant, where the birthday party would take place. This was where we met more family members, and other people that I remember seeing from the wedding. I forgot the name of the restaurant, but it did look like an interesting place.

    I got to eat a lot of pizza, along with some salad and other things. It was a nice meal. But the baby was not happy at all, as she has been put through a lot recently, and had no interest in this party. She was crying almost the entire time.

    When the party ended, she stopped crying, and seemed a lot more calm. It was as if, she was really relieved that it was all over. And I was, kind of, as it was tough to see my niece go through all that.

    I went back to the hotel, and just stayed there for the rest of the day. I read, napped for a bit, and used the computer in the lobby, as there was free internet. After some time, I went to sleep.

    The next day, it was just getting together with the family, and changing accommodations. Going from a Hilton to a hostel. Then met the family members at a restaurant called the Graham Elliot Bistro, where we would sit outside.

    I am not a fan of outdoor seating, mainly because of sitting in the sun. And the umbrella does not always help, due to the tilt of the sun. Luckily, one of my relatives was nice enough to switch with me, and sit in the sun. Other than that, I had a good time hanging out with family. As for my niece, she slept most of the time, seemingly very peaceful.

    After the meal, we walked to an ice cream place. I did not get any, as I wanted to leave and head to the arcade. So I said goodbye to everyone, and headed to Union Station. Then took the Metra train to Brookfield.

    Once there, I had to walk a few long blocks, mostly in the sun. I was sweating like crazy, as the walk was farther than I remembered. But I made it to the Galloping Ghost Arcade, and played video games for 5 hours. So much fun!

    I had to go back, and took the train back. Then back to the hostel. All of this took a very long time, being Sunday and not nearly as much trains running. When back at the hostel, I took a much needed shower. Then relaxed for the rest of night, to sleep.

    Photos & Videos


  • 22Jul 2013

    10 Art Instead of Video Games 07/22/2013 USA —

    Chicago, USA


    Getting ready for the day, I went to the computer to update some things. Then eat the hostel breakfast in the lounge, where I got to meet some people, from other parts of the country. After breakfast, I was undecided what to do. I considered going to the arcade again, but after considering how long it took to get back, I changed my mind. Being a hot day, I wanted to spend it indoors, and chose to go to the Art Institute of Chicago.

    When I got there, I saw that there was a line that extended outside. So I had to wait in the sun, but not for long. Got inside, and paid admission. Then went to see the art museum, with works from different parts of the world. Starting with the ancient collection, from Greece to the Byzantine era.

    Then went to see American art, which included the most well-known painting, "American Gothic". Turned out, the man and woman on it, are not husband and wife, but actually father and daughter instead. It has been parodied a lot, but really something to see the original with my own eyes.

    I did look at some Asian art as well, and downstairs, to the miniature rooms. Basically, it was very much like the Met in New York, or the Penn Museum in Philly. Very extensive, and definitely could not be seen in one day. I stayed until closing time.

    Leaving the museum, I went to my sister's place, for some dinner. And get to see the baby again, who has definitely grown up. They do grow up fast. Then went back the hostel.

    I had to start packing up, as I had an early morning flight. Washed up, then went to sleep. The next morning, I would fly back home.

    Photos & Videos


  • 02Aug 2015

    11 Visit to the Zoo 08/02/2015 USA —

    Chicago, USA


    I arrived the night before, coming from Indianapolis, and part of the Midwest trip. I would check in the Chicago Parthenon Hostel, and meet some people there. Then to sleep.

    I was awakened up, by someone snoring really loud. I did try to go back to sleep. But a little later, I went down to eat the hostel breakfast, which was in the restaurant next door. Then back to the Chicago Parthenon Hostel, which I did not like as much as the other one that I stayed at before.

    After getting ready and deciding to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo, I headed out and noticed that I was in a Greek neighborhood. When walking to the CTA train station, it then occurred to me that I was in my sister's old neighborhood. I never knew this before, as this hostel does not show up on Hostelbookers. It would have saved me time then. Even walked passed her old place. She moved away last year.

    I got on the train, and rode it to the Lincoln Park area. Getting off at the stop, I started out walking, but later hopped on the bus along the way. I arrived there, and then entered the Lincoln Park Zoo.

    I remember visiting a zoo in Chicago back in 1988, when my uncle took my sister and me there, when we were kids. I can't remember which one, as there are multiple ones in the area. I assume it was this one, since it was free, and just referred to it as the Chicago Zoo, assuming every zoo was named after the city.

    Well, whatever the case, I was here now, and got to see this one as an adult. It is not big, so there was not as much to see as the other 2 zoos that I have visited on this trip. But it was a hot day once again. And going into some of the buildings, it was like a step back in time, back when I visited the zoo back in the 1980's.

    A very good example would be the Kovler Lion House, the first animal exhibit that I saw. This is an old and historical building, and reminded me of the old cat house back in the Philly Zoo. Back then, the enclosures were basically stainless steel cages, which I am sure, not comfortable for the animals. And not comfortable for me to see, as I went through this building as well. There were a few other buildings like it. More about the zoo itself and more zoo photos in the zoo blog here.

    I would spend about 4 hours at this zoo, and still did not get to see everything, as the visit was cut a bit short due to rain. When it started to rain, I ran for cover first. Then decided to leave, as I wanted to go play some arcade games. This was my main reason for coming to Chicago.

    I rode back to downtown, getting off at the wrong stop. Then walked to Union Station, where I went in to buy a Metra ticket. When going up to the machine, some girl cut in front of me. I did not say anything, and luckily she was quick, as I was about to say something. I got my tickets, and went to board the Metra train, taking me to Brookfield.

    Once I got there, I had walk some blocks to get to the Galloping Ghost Arcade. I have been here before, and even talked about it in my previous blog. Even though I had only about 3 to 4 hours here, I enjoyed every minute of it, playing some of my favorite games of all-time, like Double Dragon. When it got kind of late, I had to leave, and run back to the train stop. Then took the train back to Chicago, and walked from Union Station to the hostel.

    I did stop by a Greek restaurant, and bought a gyro. The portion was a lot, that I could not finish it all. So I would save the rest for the next day. Then went back to the hostel.

    Just washed up and relaxed for the rest of the night. Then to sleep.

    Photos & Videos


  • 03Aug 2015

    12 Last Visit to Zoo and Some Retro Games 08/03/2015 USA —

    Chicago, USA


    Getting up, as this was my last full day, with nothing planned. I had a few places in mind, including the Chicago History Museum. But decided to make another visit to the Lincoln Park Zoo.

    I had a late start to this day, as I was making it up as I going along. I walked to Union Station, and rode the bus to the zoo. Then went into the zoo. Only possible to do this, because admission is free.

    I went to the picnic area, to eat the rest of my gyro. And it was enough of a lunch for me. Then went to see some of the same exhibits as before. But different results sometimes, as I got to see some animals more active, and others that were out of hiding from the other day.

    I did make a diversion out of the zoo, to visit the Lincoln Park Conservatory. I did a quick walk through the greenhouse, seeing different types of plants along the way. Then wen back out, and into the zoo again.

    I would come back to some areas, and see the rest of parts that were cut short due to rain, like the Antelope & Zebra Area. Walked around that, then to the Nature Boardwalk. I would exit out of the zoo, to go into a separate part, the Farm-in-the-Zoo.

    The Farm-in-the-Zoo is basically a children's zoo, consisting of farm animals. But I thought this one was one of the better ones, more organized. Walked around it for a little while, then headed out, as this completed my visit to this zoo.

    I went to one bus stop, but looking at the times, it would have taken too long. So I went to another, where a bus came right away. I got on it, taking me along Michigan Ave, through traffic, to Union Station. Then walked back to the hostel, where I rested for a bit.

    When waking up, it was back out, and walking to Union Station, where I got on a Metra train, taking me to the Hollywood stop. This one is much closer to the arcade, but unfortunately, it is only used during rush hour on the weekdays.

    Once at the arcade, it was non-stop fun playing some old video games. Almost like being in heaven, as well as a step back in time, in a good way. Unfortunately, it had to end, when it got late and I had to leave. So I had to walk to the train stop in Brookfield, and boarded the train back to Chicago.

    Once there, I walked back to the hostel. Just packed up a little, and showered. Then did a few other things before going to sleep. Hopefully, early enough to get enough sleep, as I had an early morning flight to go back home.

    Not much on the last day, but it was a good day. The next morning, I would just wake up and head to the airport. And the end of this trip. I am sure that I will return again, if anything, just for the arcade.

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  • 14Jun 2019

    13 Arriving Into Rainy Chicago 06/14/2019 USA —

    Schiller Park, USA


    The bus arrived into Chicago, at a different spot from the last time that I was there. After getting off, I tried to look for the nearest subway stop. I would go the wrong way, and it started to rain a little. I did find the Blue Line stop, and buy a Ventura Card. It was like a Metrocard, as I put some amount on it. Then waited for the subway to come.

    When it came, I hopped on, and rode it to O'Hare Airport. It took about an hour to get there. When I arrived, I had to go to the shuttle area, and call the hotel to get the shuttle to pick me up. I ended up waiting for almost 30 minutes.

    When it finally came, I got on, and had to wait until other people got on. Just felt like forever, as it got really late, going past 11pm. The shuttle van would take us to the O’Hare Inn and Suites, which was farther than I thought. Definitely not walkable distance, even from the nearest Blue Line stop.

    Arriving at the hotel, I got off quickly, and went to front desk to check in. I was the first one, since I had no luggage in the back. After checking in, I went to my room.

    Not as good as the one in Cincy, but still, great to have the room all to myself. I would take care of a few things, like hand-washing my jeans, as a way to save money and time from using laundry. And went to the nearest gas station, which had a Subway restaurant. I got a sandwich as my dinner, and ate it back in my hotel room. Then washed up and just relaxed for rest of the night.

    I was finally back in Chicago after 4 years. And after making attempts to visit in between the times. Could not wait until I finally got to go to the arcade.

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  • 15Jun 2019

    14 Return to Arcade Plus Baseball 06/15/2019 USA —

    Chicago, USA


    Getting up, I did go to the lobby building, to the breakfast there. But the options did not appeal to me at all. So I just went to the nearby gas station, to get a king-size candy bar as my breakfast. Then back to my room, as it started to rain outside.

    I packed up my things, and checked out. Then waited for the shuttle. When it came, I got on, and told the driver that I wanted to go to the Blue Line. Then he decided to take me to Rosemont, which was a little closer than the airport. When I got there, I ran to the platform, and got on the wrong train, going the wrong way. So I ended up at the airport, and just switched to the other side. Then rode into the city.

    Back in a familiar area of the Greektown area, I walked to the Chicago Parthenon Hostel, the same one from 2015. Arriving there, I had to wait until the hostel staff finished giving list of attractions to some people in front of me. Felt like forever! When he was finally done, I tried to check in, but could not since it was too early. So I put my backpack in storage, which costs $2. Then back out, to Union Station, where I bought a weekend pass. Then caught a train to Brookfield.

    When I got off at Brookfield, I was back here after 4 years. Kind of felt like returning to old stomping grounds, as I walked to the Galloping Ghost Arcade. And when i got there, I would get a weekly pass. The place has expanded since my last visit. Being back here, I was only here for 2 hours, since I was planning to go to the baseball game. After 2 hours, I walked back to the train station. And it was raining.

    I worried that the game would get rained out, and hoped that it would announced ahead of time, to save me the time. But no luck on getting a definite answer. So I had to proceed as if it was still on, as I already paid for the ticket. I took the train back, and stopped by H-Mart, to grab a meal to go. Then ate the meal at the hostel. I was hungry, and wanted to eat ahead of time.

    After the meal, which was really good, I headed to the ballpark. Turned out, the meal took a lot of time to eat. So I was running close to game time, as I rode the subway to get there.

    I did arrive about 20 minutes before game time. It did stop raining, as I went inside the White Sox ballpark. Now called Guaranteed Rate Field, another name change. Another visit to this ballpark.

    When I went inside, there was a promotion with White Sox Hawaiian shirts. Since I could not try out to see if it fit my size, I had to decline one. I would go up escalators to the top levels. And seeing the field, I saw a tarp on it. And learned that the game start has been delayed. So I went back down to 100 level, hoping to walk around that concourse. But when I got there, it was closed off, as a way of crowd control due to the game being sold out. How disappointing!

    So back to the top level, and to my seat. There was a column that obstructed my view of the scoreboard. I considered moving, but did not. So far, not going well, as I prefer to look at the scoreboard.

    Since my last visit, it does look like there have been a lot of updates., with its HD scoreboards and more. And the game was between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees. So naturally, there were a bunch of Yankees fans there. The Yankees would jump to a 7-0 lead, after 7 innings. The White Sox scored 4 in the 8th, and the Yankees scored one more in the 9th. The Yankees beat the White Sox, by score of 8-4.

    Afterwards, there were postgame fireworks. I decided to try to go to 1st level concourse, and was able to get in, getting past the usher. Having seen fireworks here before, I did not mind missing it this time. So I went to see the group of statues of the White Sox greats, like Carlton Fisk and Harold Baines. But more have been added since my last visit, like one for Frank Thomas. When the fireworks ended, I would leave the stadium.

    I came to Champions Plaza, which was for the 2005 World Series title. And the row of pillars, of retired numbers, which I missed somehow, in past visits. After seeing them, and the area quieting down, I went back to the hostel.

    Ending this day here, I would spend the entire next day at the arcade. I won't be writing much about it, but I will say, that too much of a good thing, is a not good thing. It resulted in my fingers and feet hurting. So next entry will skip a day, to Sunday, June 17.

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  • 17Jun 2019

    15 Walk Around Pier Before Games, Then Over 06/17/2019 USA —

    Chicago, USA


    With no set plans for this day, after starting the day with the hostel breakfast, I decided to visit 1 site. And decided to visit the Navy Pier. I would take the buses to get there, which was a little faster than the train. I have been there back in 2002, but don't remember much of that.

    When getting there, I started with the Polk Bros Park, which has a fountain that its own show. I don't remember if this was here back then. Then I went inside the Navy Pier building, the Family Pavilion. This was basically a mall, with some shops and a food court. Plus the Chicago Children’s Museum. I would go up to 2nd level, and into the Crystal Gardens.

    This was a little greenhouse setting. Though not hot at all. A bunch of trees in the place, with some fountains shooting water between them. The water in form of arches, which I could go through, without getting wet. I remember seeing this before. Looked at the cool display, before going back outside.

    I came to the most well-known part, the Pier Park. This was a little amusement park area, with the ferris wheel and a few other rides. I did not go on any, but continued walking around the pier.

    I would come to the Shakespeare Theater, and went inside for a little bit. Then back out, looking at the water and the city in the distance. Then came to the Festive Hall, with its pair of towers.

    Reached the end of the pier, with the anchor sculpture, the USS Chicago Anchor. Plus some other things. And I did notice the rainbow flags, which was for LGBT pride. A bunch of them around the Navy Pier. I would see a lighthouse, in Lake Michigan, as well as a bunch of ships along the way.

    Also, there was the Grand Ballroom building. I walked around it, as I headed back towards the city area. Walking on the other side, where there was nothing to see. Then walked through Pier Park, and back inside the Family Pavilion. Then walked to the bus stop, where I hopped on one, to go back to the hostel.

    The walk around the Navy Pier was very nice and enjoyable, and probably something I needed to do, after playing so much video games. It helped that it was completely cloudy, but not rain at all. And it did not cost me anything, as the walk along Lake Michigan was nice.

    Getting back to the hostel area, I went to a Subway, to get some lunch. Then ate it at the hostel. After that, to the room, I noticed that it was nearly empty. And some things left on the table, like soap and shampoo. I considered taking it, but also noticed one bed that does not look completely checked out. So I better not take them.

    I left the hostel, and went to Union Station. And rode the train to Brookfield, to go to the arcade. I would play less games with less time, but still had a great time. I stayed until after sunset. But not too late, as I had to get back to the hostel.

    Back at the hostel, the room was full, with people already sleeping. So I had to do some things quietly, as I tried to pack up as much as I can. Can't remember if I ate anything. After a while, I tried to sleep as much as I can.

    The next day, as it won't have its own entry, here is a quickie... I woke up really early, and go to the airport. Once I got there, I would get on the plane, which left Chicago and arrived in Philly. And went home, ending this Midwest trip. It was a nice trip, getting to meet a TBer and play some old video arcade games.

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