Sander, Daniëlle & EmilyOur Family life...

Our Family life...

Day 13: Chicago, IL

This morning we woke up to experience a full day in Chicago. The weather forecast weren’t great but we decided to go out and see what the day would bring.

We decided yesterday to go for a architecture boat tour. From what we’ve read that is the best way to discover Chicago. And as soon as we were all ready we left the hotel and got some breakfast at the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts.

After breakfast we walked on the River Walk towards the ticket boots for the serve Tal boat tours Chicago is offering. We decided to go with Chicago’s First Lady Cruises and we boarded the boat for the 11 am tour.

Barry Aldridge from the Chicago Architecture Foundation was our guide and her told us everything about almost every building we saw and a lot about Chicago’s history as well.

We took lots of pictures and enjoyed the nice weather. I guess you cannot always rely on the forecasts.

After our 90 minutes tour was over we decided to walk towards the Navy Pier which we’ve had seen during the tour. The Navy Pier is located directly on Lake Michigan and has great view of both the lake and the city skyline. There are lots of place to eat and Centennial Wheel.

After we walked around and discovered that there were no water taxis going from there we decided to walk back toward our hotel and look for a place to have a late lunch. We found a nice place called O’Briens Riverwalk Café. We all enjoyed our lunches and as the sky became more and more clouded we decided to go back to the hotel before the rain started and so Emily could take a nap.

After Emily woke up from her nap it was pool time. Together with papa she went swimming for almost 2 hours. With lots of jumps and splashes. At the end Emily wanted to go back to mama but first we needed towels, we ended up using 12 towels just for Emily!

Afterwards she was hungry and asked for chicken and fries, we decided to have a quick bite at a McDonalds, we made it with 1 minute left to place our order!

After dinner we went straight back to the hotel and around 10pm we finally got our little princess in bed!

| Trackback

Day 12: Effingham, IL > Chicago, IL

Besides the fact that Emily fell out of her bed we all had a good night. Emily is fine she just has bruise on her left knee. And she shows it to everyone everywhere, kind of like a scar from an epic battle!

After we had a delicious breakfast we left to a nearby liquor store where I found out that they sold at lest one type of beer I had on my wish list. And I was successful!

Soon we left towards Chicago, the next major city of our trip! It would be a just over 3 hour drive but first we forgot to get gas near the hotel and we encountered the most interesting gas station of the trip.

Close to Chicago we decide to make one more stop at a Starbucks for a mini lunch and to make sure had a washroom break before we ended up in Chicago traffic.

When we drove downtown we immediately felt like being in a different city as New York, Toronto, Atlanta, New Orleans and others. Not sure why but maybe it is the different architecture or the fact that there are overhead subways?

We also lost our GPS signal just before we entered the last Kilometer but we made it safely and without issues to our Holiday Inn hotel along the river near the MART.

According to the car it was 32 Celsius outside but it felt like barely 20, we guess that is why Chicago is also called the Windy City?

The hotel room has a nice view as it is on the 22nd floor and we are partially lucky with the view. The hotel rate is also great as it includes free parking, in some hotels in the downtown area they charge 60-70$/night.

After we all relaxed a little bit, we decided to go outside and visit Millennium Park and maybe do some more shopping. Millennium park is not even 2km from our hotel and so we took the stroller and started walking.

It was literally one block to far for Emily to see the Cloud Gate, the famous and oddly formed gigantic mirror, with her own eyes as she fell a sleep between waiting for the traffic light and he other side of the 6 lane street. But we still made some pictures.

From there we went on and looked at the Crown Fountain, a fountain with integrated video display. Here Emily woke up again as he water blew in her face…

We ended up taking a short break at the Park Grill, they had an outdoor area on the ice rink where we had a drink and a bite to eat. Emily’s got some M&M’s for the first time and she was mesmerized by the letter on them, the M from Mama and thus she did not want to share any with me.

Next stop was the new, but already iconic Apple Store at the riverfront. The store is built on a gigantic staircase and it’s roof looks like it had a gigantic MacBook Air.

We also had to stop at the Disney Store flagship location. They had so much things we hadn’t seen yet, Emily got out of the store with a new stuffed belle.

After we left the store we walked back over the river walk to our hotel and after a bath for Emily everyone went to bed. Daniëlle scored a bed for her and bunny. I scored a bed with Emily, Ariel, Princess Sofia and Belle. Am I lucky or not?

Comments (1) | Trackback

Day 11: Memphis, TN > Effingham, IL

Everyone had a decent night of sleep, mama had a little bit more action as the others as you can see in the picture below. Yes that’s Emily her left foot!

At 7:45am everyone was out of bed and at 9am everyone had showered and the car was loaded to go to Graceland!

On our way to Graceland we stopped at the McDonalds for a sandwich (me) and coffee (mama). And at 9:15 sharp we turned into the Graceland Parking lot. The whole area is bigger as we expected and we already figured that we would need more time as we had in mind when we woke up.

We started with a movie before we entered a shuttle which brought us a across the street to walk to Graceland itself, we could have walked the 100 Meter ourselves but this was mich more fun for Emily.

Everything is very well organized, we got iPads as a self-guided tour which supported 9 languages including both German and Dutch. First we thought the Dutch was a joke but every fifth family/group/couple we saw was speaking Dutch. We got to see all the rooms in the house including the parts which Elvis had added over the time he owned Graceland. He already owned a microwave, he bought it for just 630$, not bad for that time I guess?

The trophy room was made into a gallery with photos, letters and bills from when he was a live. Interesting to see a bill for the swimming pool for just 8500$.

Last stop of the tour though the house was the Meditation Garden, this is where Elvis and his closest relatives are buried nowadays.

After we got back to the museum part we got to see the more interesting things, at least for us. His cars, a museum about his time in the army (in Germany) and off course his jumpsuits, suits and a gigantic collection of his golden records.

We ended the visit with a lunch at Gladys’ Diner. Emily went for a hotdog, mama and I for for the southern fried chicken.

And then it was time for another 5 hours in the car. Just a couple minutes in the car we already entered Arkansas, state #13.

The drive was very boring and lucky for us Emily fell a sleep quickly.

Quicker as we expected we entered state #14, Missouri. We also decided to take a short detour through Cape Girardeau to score a coffee and a Starbucks souvenir tumbler, the mugs where sold out.

With just 2 hours to go Danielle took over the wheel and in 10 minutes we made it to Illinois over a beautiful bridge.

After we arrived in Effingham at our next Holiday Inn hotel we got some groceries at the nearby Walmart before we called it a night.

Tomorrow we’ll go further north!

Comments (1) | Trackback