Grand Northern 2014 – Cleveland & Chicago

Sunday, June 1st-

Today, we bid farwell to Canada and crossed over the border back to the United States. It was about midday when we were going through customs and stocked up on some goodies at the HUGE duty free store.

We arrived into Cleveland that afternoon where we went straight to the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame.

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We only had about 3 hours to explore the 6 floors of the amaxing building. The hisory, the memorabilia, the film clips and the overall atmosphere of the place, it was just so cool! There is no other word for it, COOL!

Our hotel in Cleveland was the Comfort Inn Downtown.

A lot of us were pretty worn out from a massive few nights, so after a small dinner, we went bowling for a quiet and tame night.

Our stay over in Cleveland was only for one night, because next up was the one and only, windy city, Chicago!

On route to Chicago, we stopped in at Amish AcresΒ (yes this place even has its own website).

It was an Amish farm that is open for tourists and school groups for education. It was really quite interesting learning about the history and lifestyle. No televisions or technology (the website and business side of things are run seperately). It was described as very family orientated with group church every Sunday and rumspringer is a real thing.

Although our guide told us it was Ok to take photos, I didn’t in respect of the fact that it is against Amish beliefs to have your photo taken. I did by a souvenir shot glass at the gift shop though.

Later that afternoon, we arrived into Chicago where we had our city tour that included the only 2 remianing original buildings left after the 1871 Great Chicago Fire that killed up to 300 people, destroyed 9 square kms and left more than 100,000 Chicago residents homeless.

The evenings events consisted of some famous Chicago deep pan pizza pie from Giordano’s.

Talk about getting a taste of the local food! Wow, those pizza pies were MASSIVE and had so much stuffing. I only needed a couple of pieces with some salad and I was set haha. Myself and a couple of other girls shared a few bottles of wine between us.

In true contiki style, we proceeded to head out for the night to adventure. Considering it was only a Monday night, it seemed that we would have to make our own party somewhere. Craig, the contiki manager reccomended an old mafia pub, Bootleggers. It was small but so cute! It had a karaoke machine set up in one corner, a giant Jenga in the other corner and up the back was even a beer pong table.

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The night continued with lots of jenga and karaoke again.

I would highly reccomend this place, but I was sad to find out that it has actually recently closed down 😦

Our hotel in Chicago was The Best Western Grant Park.

Needless to say, in true contiki style, both myself and my room mate were excessively hungover. Room mates stick together haha.

A couple of other fellow contikians managed to motivate us, messaging us that we had by 11am to get our butts down to the lobby to make the most of the warm beautiful day. And that is exactly what we did!

My roomie and I had lunch down at the Navy Pier while the rest of the group with us wandered around the peer, looking at the shops and attractions. After exploring for a little longer, we went into Macy’s to fill in some more time before the baseball game that night.

 

That night, I got to see my first live baseball game at Wrigley Field.

I don’t think I had ever even seen a game in general before. But in America, because it such a popular game, I knew it was something that I couldn’t miss out on.

The game went for a couple of hours before it felt like anything was happening, but it was part of the fun. We could see plenty of the field from where we were sitting, but there were also televisions above us for a clearer view.

After about the 3rd hour, some of the fellow contikians left to go the bar across the road, Sluggers.

Myself and a few others decided to stay. I know I didn’t want to miss anything incase anything exciting did happen!

On about the 4th hour, the Chicago Cubs gave the crowd some excitement, with a home run or two, they won the game right at the end!! And well didn’t the crowd just go wild. Us Australians even joined in once we learnt the words of the teams victory song. The words shined out infront of us on the huge televisions around the statdium, so it wasn’t hard to keep up.

“Go, Cubs, go
Go, Cubs, go
Hey, Chicago, what do you say
The Cubs are gonna win today.”

We joined the rest of the group at the bar, where we managed to get our own section before all the locals arrived due to the others that left the game early grabbing us a few tables πŸ™‚

We even had table service so that we didn’t have to wait in line for an hour to get a drink!

No need to say that it was another typical contiki night on tour! The DJ had many Australian requests and all the locals were fascinated by our accents.

“G’day Mate”, they would ask us to say haha.

To check out the next place we visited- follow here πŸ˜‰

#no regrets Contiki Grand Northern 2014

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