I never thought that I would have the opportunity to travel abroad, let alone travel to the third largest city in the United States and then to six European countries within the same month. I never knew what it felt like to ride on a plane or train, to go through a currency exchange, or to ride in a taxi. Now, I’ve completed all of these events that I had written on my two-page bucket list a few years ago.
Chicago is a glorious city. There are thousands of cars speeding around each day with little time to kill, people running or jogging, trying escape the looming thought of gaining weight or to catch the thought of being in shape. From a first time traveler to a long-time reader, there were four places in Chicago that earned the right to be the focus of my camera lens, and that, I feel, everyone who visits Chicago should see or visit.
The Chicago Tribune
What kind of journalist would I be if I didn’t flip out or freak when I noticed that the Chicago Tribune office building was right across from our hotel on Navy Pier? Although the Tribune was closed during the day and time we decided to visit, it still was a picturesque place to see. The building in itself had pieces, particles or parts of other historical buildings located around the world. The entrance to the tower was platted in gold trim and an old cannon ball stood guard at the door. Like how any inspiring journalist would think, seeing the Chicago Tribune is definitely top on the list.
Willis Tower, formerly known as Sears Tower, stands at a height of 1,729 feet and is composed of 108 floors. Willis Tower is the second tallest tower in the United States, and by goodness it is a beauty. Just walking up to the beast was intimidating, its glassy eyes staring down at you. Chicago is actually home to two of the top five tallest buildings in the United States. Although I was unable to climb to the top of the sky deck and look out because there was a massive thunderstorm that night, it still was an adventure to go to the top of the building below the sky deck and read the facts about the building and its design.
Trump Tower is located a hop, skip and jump away from the Willis Tower and can be seen from pretty much every hotel roof within a mile radius. The Trump International Hotel and Tower, as it’s more formally called, stands at a height of 1,389 feet with 98 floors. Yet again I was unable to go up the tower, but just standing beside it and trying to look up without fainting made me feel so irrevocably tiny and small in comparison to the world. It made me question how we as humans can create such beautiful and intricate pieces of architecture, how long and how much it must cost in order to create a masterpiece such as these two towers.
Last but not least, the life and soul of Chicago: deep dish pizza. You cannot and must not complete a trip to Chicago without trying a piece or two of deep dish pizza. Giordano’s Pizza is a famously known pizzeria in Chicago that sells “Chicago’s Best.” I have to agree that the title is well earned. Even though I am lactose intolerant and eating the two slices of deep dish pizza had me feeling it later that night, there is no comparison to how greatly crafted and cooked the pizza was. Chicago’s deep dish pizza is by far the best pizza pie that I have ever eaten, and it truly made my experience to Chicago even better.
Chicago was last weekend. This week and next I challenge myself to roam the streets of Italy, Rome, Venice, Florence and Switzerland as we also take a concurring business class. Although Chicago was an eye opener as to how different the culture is just from state to state, it truly put into focus the idea to meet and hangout with locals, they will know the answers to which is the best restaurant or cheapest gas station in town.
Traveling abroad is wonderful. Stressful as all get out but totally worth it in the end. I can only imagine what all I will be doing and seeing in Italy, and I hope that these next few weeks bring as much excitement and memories as my short weekend in Chicago did.
(Kayla Handy is a Clarion University student contributor to VenangoExtra.com & ClarionExtra.com. Email Kayla at firstname.lastname@example.org.)