October 21st, 2012
I have returned from Fall Break, marking the half-way point of the semester, where I took a journey to Chicago with some friends and visited with family in Decorah.
My trek to the Windy City included a night in Madison at my friend’s house, where her parents graciously hosted us. We even awoke to a full breakfast including pumpkin pancakes before our early morning bus ride. Upon arrival in Chicago, we were immediately drenched. It did not just rain, it poured, somehow reaching our faces under our hoods. We headed to the Shedd Aquarium first, where the line outside the building was equivalent to one on a summer’s day at Disney Land. The wait was well worth it, allowing us to see Beluga whales, dolphins and sea otters. Later we went to dinner at Pizano’s, an eatery with authentic Chicago-style deep dish pizza. My first experience with this cuisine was no disappointment, and we headed back to the hotel full and content.
The next day we visited the Field Museum and the Art Institute. We made the walk to the Willis Tower to experience the Sky Deck, but it was closed because of the tempest that would not cease. Shopping on the Magnificent Mile proved a good replacement activity. Our authentic dining experiences continued at Maggiano’s Little Italy that evening. This one of the advantages of Decorah: You can have the small town charm and still be close enough to experience cities like Chicago on a decent budget. I plan on visiting Chicago again to see the symphony sometime, instead of just drooling as we passed by their concert hall!
We returned to Decorah the next day where I awaited my grandma and aunt that were coming all the way from Washington to visit me for the week. They have visited me before, but we still did all the usual Decorah activities: Magpie Coffeehouse, Farmer’s Market, a little shopping, and a stop at Phelps Park to view the fall foliage. It was great to see them, and their visit makes me long for Thanksgiving Break when I can see my whole family again!
The two-day school week after break was a good way to dip my toes in and test the water of the rest of the semester. I am sure it will fly by just as the first half did! Stay tuned for updates on my approaching birthday and DC internship application process...