Chicago Travel Writing

Topics: Chicago, Al Capone, City Pages: 6 (2080 words) Published: May 28, 2015
Group: Shehani, Mary, Clarissa, Grieselle
Class: Grade 10 D
Subject: English Language Travel Writing Assignment

Chasing Chicago

I remember the cool breeze of the night that greeted me as I stepped out of the Chicago O'Hare International Airport. My mind was a melting pot of thoughts and emotions, threatening to bubble over as I take in the overwhelming beauty of the city before me. The problem was that the only planning that went into this spontaneous vacation was: "architecture, pizza and gangsters". And I had no idea how or if I could satisfy the hunger for this city that suddenly encased me. But I thought, for now, getting to my hotel, The Talbott (an incredible place and reasonably priced with an amazing view), and finding a few tours wouldn’t hurt. The next morning I prepared for the city to ravish me. I was lucky to be there in the fall, the gentle wind and tranquil surroundings easily beat the nose-chiselling blasts of icy air in the winter, and the stuffy, over-crowdedness of the summer. I decided the best way to get accustomed to this intriguing city was by exploring a little on my own. Michigan Avenue, an arterial road in downtown Chicago, was bristling with theatres, art galleries, restaurants, museums and an enigmatic metal sculpture by Picasso. Little had I known, the magnificence of the city's diversity, captured me so thoroughly, I had walked face-first into a street artist! The young girl laughed and brushed herself off, as I apologised profusely. She introduced herself as May Cartwright, a Chicago native and offered to take me around the city. Even though my parents taught me never to trust strangers, she seemed quite good natured. May took me around State Street, as the iconic 'CHICAGO' theatre signed beckoned. I paused to take in the five-storey high grand entrance. Gilded embellishments, velvet drapes, Renaissance art and glittering chandeliers, plays up Chicago's flashy, "show-biz" persona. May was interesting, to say the least. She knew so much more about the city than any normal Chicago - dweller would have, and the comical, frizzy hair and glasses made her quite the character. She spoke of Chicago's many architectural wonders: Wrigley's building, Smurfit-Stone Building, Tribune Tower. But no matter the towering giants of Chicago, I was captivated by a building that had no pretensions to height. The five-storey Chicago Cultural Centre is the grand old dame of the city's archaeological heritage. Two magnificent glass domes - the Grand Army of the Republic and Preston Bradley Hall - with a botanical theme that shimmered in warm autumn colours, while the other dome was the original library where the walls were stippled in mosaics that bore the names and quotations of famous literates. Mosaic designs in iridescent jewelled colours of jade, topaz, sapphire and ruby also bordered the sweeping marble stairwells. This was truly American nineteenth century decorative art at its finest. A true traveller knows what to look for in a city, even though they have no idea about the place or haven’t even planned their trip. That is the beauty of exploring. Opening yourself up to experiences, and allowing the place to engulf you into its wonder. That was what was going through my mind as I stepped onto the Chicago Blues City Tour. The blues were always affiliated with melancholy and depression; people never really understood the true meaning and joy that was experienced by the people playing the music. That was what I learnt riding the Chicago Blues City Tour, as we cruised around Daley Plaza and Maxwell Street, mesmerized by the haunting music and the truth about the Blues. By the end of the tour, we hadn’t even noticed, that it was nearing the end of the second day, all the while, enraptured by the fact that the Blues were a symbol of the black Americans' rise to freedom in the 1940's. Formerly known...
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