(Layover in Chicago, Illinois) Sunday, July 1st - Monday, July 2nd
Hello, again! Here's my first post-flight update. What a lovely way to start off my dream trip around the world! I arrived at the airport early Sunday morning, and made my way through the busy airport. Toronto International Airport is always so full of life, as people bustle around, trying to figure out where they're supposed to be. I've always found people watching fascinating. Once I had checked my luggage, and was seated in the waiting area my mind began to wander to my not-so-far-off destination of Ireland, and I giant grin came over my face as I daydreamed of all the adventures that awaited me in a few short hours.
The passengers started to load themselves on to the Airbus A320, and I had the pleasure of being seated next to a kind, old gentleman with whom I had a lovely conversation throughout the flight to the layover point in Chicago, Illinois. The plane took off from the runway at 10:01 am. The man, who's name was Dennis, had worked as an office assistant at a travel agency, and had quite a great deal of experience with a wide variety of tourist destinations. He explained thoroughly a great deal of things that might interest someone visiting Chicago for a short period of time, which, in our particular circumstance, was exactly where we were headed, and forced to wait until 6:45pm that evening. I was now ultra-prepared for the upcoming layover in Chicago, with Dennis' handwritten list of hot spots around the big city.
We landed in Chicago, Illinois at 10:53 am, giving me roughly six hours to visit the many places Dennis had suggested I visit. The first thing I noticed about my first layover destination was the fact that they weren't kidding around when they dubbed Chicago 'The Windy City'. Needless to say, my hair-do was ruined. But nothing could dampen my spirits at that point, and I decided the first thing I'd like to do while visiting Chicago was to find something to munch on. I didn't have to look far to find the glorious sight of a hot dog stand, where I experienced without a doubt the most mouth-wateringly delicious hot dog I've ever tasted. Just as I was beginning to feel as though I'd never need to eat another thing again, something else caught my attention. Dennis had mentioned that tourists to Chicago are given the opportunity to take a wide variety of fun, and educational tours, and are able to experience and learn about virtually any aspect of the city that interests them. Tourists are able to explore the history, and culture of Chicago, by doing things ranging from going on a historic walking tour, to experiencing a delicious cuisine tour. What intrigued me was the 'Chicago's Magnificent Churches' tour, where we explored and learned all about some of the most important and ageing churches that can be found in the Windy City. By the time I was through with the church tour, I had worked up an appetite, and was making my way back in the direction of the airport when the heavenly smell of a Chicago deep dish pizza found it's way to my nostrils. Needless to say, my will power failed and I was lucky enough to have a slice of the best pizza I've ever eaten, (and that's a profound statement..I've eaten quite a few pizzas in my day).
It was nearing closer to 6:45 as I arrived with a full stomach at the O'Hare International Airport (ORD), so I took a seat in the waiting area and once again took to people-watching, and day dreaming. The people bustling around Chicago's O'Hare International Airport seemed no different than those that frequent Toronto International Airport (YYZ). I've always found it interesting that regardless of where you are, the population always looks the same, whether it be in an airport, waiting for the subway, waiting to catch a cab, whatever. People are in their own little worlds, and forget to stop, look around and realize that the crowd moves as a whole, regardless of how many people are in it. I can feel the impact this trip is going to have on me creeping up, already. Travelling the world can make a person feel so small, and still so significant at the same time.
I snap out of my day-dreaming state when I hear my flight called on the loudspeaker, and board the plane. I was seated next to a quiet young man, who had already fallen asleep when I arrived at my seat. I was beyond pleased to have gotten a window seat, and spent the remainder of the flight gazing out the window, and taking short naps until we arrived in Dublin, at 8:15 am, Monday morning. The flight from Chicago to Dublin was roughly 7.5 hours, but I wasn't feeling the slighest bit jet-lagged. I was far too excited!
I checked into the "Hollywood Bed and Breakfast" in Dublin County, just a 15 minute cab ride North of Dublin Airport (DUB), where I'd pay a low fee of $99 per night. The four-star bed and breakfast was very lovely, and clean, with friendly staff members, and a strict policy of no children allowed (which I secretly adored, because kids are NOISY). I spent a while getting settled in; putting a few things in drawers, using the awesome high pressure shower head, and changed into some fresh clothes before embarking upon some hardcore tourism around the county.
It was around 10:00 am when I left my hotel, and began my Irish adventures.