Wisconsin/Chicago

Clearly I’m horrible at posting things on time! I’ll be adding photos to this post later!

On Monday, August the 25th 2014, my boyfriend and I left Winnipeg with my aunt, uncle, cousin and his girlfriend for Wisconsin. My cousin had a basketball tournament in Chicago, and Wisconsin Dells was one of our many stops on his basketball tournament, road trip. My aunt rented a van, which my uncle drove the entire time (such a trooper!). The drive time from Winnipeg to Wisconsin is approximately eleven hours. After leaving Winnipeg on the evening of the 25th, we stopped at almost every rest area to use restrooms and take power naps. We Finally made it to Wisconsin the next day, on the 26th. We checked into our hotel later than anticipated because of our excessive stopping on the drive there. we stayed at the Mount Olympus Village in the water park, so we had a cool themed room.  My cousin, his girlfriend, Johnny and I only had a couple of hours to explore the water park so we swam and went on as many slides as we could, and we rode a roller coaster. I had a lot of “firsts” on this road trip, and one of the more exciting ones, was eating at Culver’s for the first time! They’re this fast food chain that sells burgers, fries, other standard fast food type items. Apparently, Wisconsin is pretty famous for their dairy production, so Culver’s had Wisconson Cheese Curds!!! I had cheese curds for supper that night. Mcdonald’s has nothing on Culver’s. The restaurant (can I even call it that?) itself is well known for their frozen custard and their insane flavour variety, and being an avid pumpkin lover (I don’t only “love” pumpkin in the fall) I had a pumpkin custard shake. We only stayed in Wisconsin for one night, so we were up really early the next morning, to make the three hour drive towards Chicago. Our first stop in Chicago was obviously the United Center to see the home of the Chicago Bulls, and to take a thousand photos of the Jordan Statue outside of the stadium. After seeing the statue, my cousins basketball team and everyone else on the road trip had planned to see a couple of other specific touristy spots and stop for lunch/dinner at a deep dish pizza joint, but driving around Chicago in a big group ended with us being separated from the group. Based on sheer luck, the six of us found the Navy Pier, and walked along the boardwalk and had lunch there instead. The boardwalk somewhat reminded me of the boardwalk from the Jersey Shore, which I’ve only ever seen on TV. The Navy Pier was very scenic and beautiful, had a ton of little shops and restaurants and even had a small amusement park. We mostly just had lunch here and took a lot of pictures. After having been up super early and walking around all day, we finally checked into the Comfort Inn & Suites at 530 West North Avenue in the evening and then my uncle drove up and down the main street near our hotel, until we decided to eat at a Chinese buffet a couple minutes away. Because it was 10:00PM, and because we were starving and tired, we ate as much as we could and acted as if this was the best Chinese buffet in the world. The next night, we ordered in from Giordano’s which is Chicago’s famous deep dish pizza place. The pizza was like heaven, and was so deep dish, that it had to be eaten with a fork. The bread that they send with their food, is also amazing. They’re just standard dinner rolls but they tasted like they were baked fresh! The next night I had White Castle for the first time, which I had extremely high expectations for. Everyone on the road trip was surprised that I’d never eaten at White Castle despite the fact that I’ve been to the States so many times. Let me just say that I was soooo disappointed after having White Castle. It wasn’t anything special. The food was sub par and super salty. Thumbs down.

Saturday, August 30th, was the first day of my cousins actual basketball tournament. His team won their first game. Later that night we ate at an authentic Mexican restaurant called Las Islas Marias which was a couple blocks from our hotel. This was place was the best Mexican restaurant I’ve ever eaten at. The restaurant had a very family oriented vibe in terms of the staff and the relationship that the staff had with the large families eating at the restaurant. Their menu had so many things to choose from, as well as an extensive drink menu. Our waitress was the sweetest girl ever. We ended up liking the restaurant so much, that we ate there the next night as well. The food is priced extremely well, the wait staff is amazing and quick and the food was to die for.

Sunday, my cousin played his second game, and lost, which meant they were out of the tournament, so we spent the day at the Brookfield Zoo! The weather was gorgeous so all the animals were out. I made the mistake of not dressing comfortably, so a couple hours in, my feet were hurting and my dress was irritating me. The Brookfield Zoo was so much cooler than the zoo in Winnipeg, but I guess it’s typical to think your hometown zoo is never as neat as others. The general entrance fee for adults at the zoo was roughly $17.00, which was good considering we were in the zoo looking around for more than five hours. That night, we relaxed at the hotel and did facials, which we bought, prepackaged from Walmart.

At some point on this trip, we did visit the Millennium Park, where we took super touristy photos with the giant, silver jelly bean.

The next morning, we got up early, packed, and left Chicago. We stopped in Wisconsin to get gas and have Culver’s AGAIN! YAY! So good. We drove through Minneapolis, stopped at the Eagan Outlets for six hours, spent the last of our money, then drove to Fargo. We spent the night at some chain hotel I can’t remember the name of, where nothing was working. The pool was out of order, none of the vending machines worked, and their ice dispensers were broken, but their continental breakfast had a lot of variety! On the morning of September 2nd, we checked out of the hotel, got McDonalds and Starbucks, stopped at Sam’s Club, where I impulsively purchased a Swarovski bracelet that was over $100.00, then we drove home.

My first time in Chicago was so much fun. It is definitely a neat and lively place to visit! I’m glad Johnny and I got to cross this beautiful city off of our travel list.

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