It already feels like it was forever ago, but I will want this record in a few years, so I'm taking the time to write it down.
Day 1 (Montreal to Windsor): Wake-up at 3:45am, drive through sleeping Montreal for a 5am departure time. Slept off and on, stopped for breakfast at A&W, stopped for lunch at a rest stop. Arrived in Windsor around 4pm and left to our own devices: mom and I walked along the waterfront, taking in the sculptures and stretching our legs, before stopping at a BBQ chicken place for supper and going to bed early. Found out my mother had forgotten to request separate beds, so got to share for the whole trip (not as bad as I feared). The pool beckoned but I was just too tired from doing nothing.
Day 2 (Windsor to Chicago): Terrible hotel breakfast (worst I've seen in a long time), stop at the duty-free store (which happened to be right next to the BBQ chicken place) and through the tunnel to Detroit and the border crossing. Stop at Cracker Barrel for lunch, where the service was frighteningly slow but the food was good. Arrival in Chicago and my first impressions: tall buildings and a feel similar to New York. We climbed the Willis (formerly Sears) tower to the Skydeck, where we looked out from the 103rd floor and got to stand in elevator-sized plexiglass boxes that protruded from the building. Surprisingly, my fear of heights never even kicked in. Walked around The Rookery
, where I finally woke up and started to fall in love with the city: it's a Frank Lloyd Wright building, heavy on the art deco, with sweeping staircases and beautiful lines. I could have stood there all day. Then a walk through the lobby of the Board of Trade, another beautiful art deco building that would have been at home in The Great Gatsby. Dropped off on the Magnificent Mile (a glorified shopping strip, similar to Fifth Avenue in New York) where mom and I headed for the Fourth Presbyterian Church and wandered through a mall in search of cheap food (on my mother's trips, it's all about cheap food). Walked past the Water Tower and marveled at the night skyline. Onwards to the hotel, which sadly had no pool.
Day 3 (Chicago): Much, much better hotel breakfast. Bus tour of the city, where we saw all the traditional sights: some sports fields, Oprah Winfrey's studios, Chinatown, Bronzeville, Hyde Park. Looked in on the Rockefeller chapel and got a few minutes to wander around the exterior of Robbie House (another of Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings). Dropped off by the Field Museum for a good chunk of free time, where I crammed as much museum into my day as possible. Visited the Field Museum, where I was transported by the mastaba and gleefully surprised by a statue of Senmut holding Hatshepsut's daughter, complete with damnatio memoriae
on the cartouches. Walked through Grant Park and had lunch by Buckingham Fountain, then on to the Art Institute of Chicago, where they had extended the Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity
exhibit. Saw that, marveled at the Thorne miniatures room, and took in as much ancient art as possible. Back on the bus for the drive to the Navy Pier, where we had supper at a food court and I took in the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows and the awesome ferris wheel. Then back on the bus for the By Night tour, with the requisite photography stops. Exhausted collapse into bed.
Day 4 (Chicago): Morning at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Walked around Wrigley Field. Back in the area around the Art Institute for lunch and free time: had lunch at a delicious sandwich shop (Potbelly Sandwich Shop) and headed for the Driehaus Museum
, a fancy mansion with an exhibit on Tiffany glass. Generally wandered, did a bit of shopping, relaxed at a café. Met back up with the tour group for an architectural cruise down the canal, which was actually remarkably educational and interesting (the beautiful weather helped). Supper at the hotel and early night.
Day 5 (Chicago - Detroit - London): Bus towards Detroit. Visit and lunch at the Henry Ford Museum (mediocre, though most of the people on the bus seemed to enjoy it). Border crossing and bus ride pretty much all day. Arrival in London after supper, where I finally got to swim some laps (after a whole day on the bus, I needed it).
Day 6 (London - Montreal): Bus, bus and more bus. Stop for lunch at an apple-themed restaurant with a petting zoo outside. Got back around 6pm, in time for supper at home.
All in all, a good trip, though my temper wasn't great and I was just generally exhausted for most of it. Chicago was surprisingly interesting, mostly for the architecture and the museums. I would have wanted time to delve more into both but I got in enough museums to satisfy me. I'm not sure I should take trips with my mother anymore, since I only really enjoy myself when I'm on my own rather than with her or the tour group. I feel bad about it, but there it is. Still, free trip, so I can't complain.
Photos are on my Flickr account, as usual, and can be found here