Illinois United States

Navy Pier + Centennial Wheel

Happy to be back in Chicago.

This place feels like home to us. Maybe because my husband’s parents came from this city (my husband have been here for gazillion times) and as for me, the closest Philippine embassy is located here. So let’s say I left my heart in Chicago.Β We have to visit the city because I want my Philippine passport renewed. It’s far from its expiration date (which is 2020) but I want to change my family name now that I am married.

I have already applied for a Report of Marriage three months ago so that makes me eligible to have a name change for all of my Philippine papers or documents.Chicago is amazingly a walking city.

A welcoming change from our own Kansas City which you cannot go far if you only have your walking shoes with you. You can try though haha.

My feet hurt for all the walking for two days (my fault entirely for wearing bad shoes) but every corner we were rewarded with gob-smacking views only a big city can offer.

We catch a (very early) morning flight to Chicago and from the airport, we rode an “uber” to bring us straight to the embassy. I’m finished by two hours which is nice. Believe it or not, in my home country it could be a LOT longer.

I will be receiving my passport in 2-3 months because it has to be printed in my home country. Still – I caught a celebration fever being done finally with it.

So I just happily followed my husband who claims has a surprise for me in our two days stay here.

He seems to be into that sort of thing these days.

Anyways, after an hour or two of walking. We reached our final destination.

I am sure you already have guessed it.

THE NAVY PIER

It’s sort of like a park or a festival. There’s a surprising mix of tourists from all over the world. I bet most itineraries here in Chicago are composed of seeing the Skydeck (103rd floor observatory) and being in the glass box to going here and breathing the “not salty” air of Lake Michigan.

First, we went inside the building to look for restaurants (we are hungry from all that walking) and instead we found this…

It’s a greenery hideaway. It was a truly a very pleasant surprise. Lots of benches around and no crowd at all. We found another door that lead us to the center of the market. Our lunch has come.

Might as well enjoy the rides outside and while you’re at it do some serious sightseeing. I’m not sure if you really can with this one. It looks dizzying to me… lol.

I didn’t ride that one.

I am more game into the safer kind. A ride that can give me my “vista” needs.

The Centennial Wheel ticks all my boxes.

They are currently celebrating their first “100 years” so it’s why this newly built Ferris Wheel has its name share with Centennial. The Ferris Wheel turned 100 years old last 1993. It wasn’t recent but the city of Chicago has a reason why they are still celebrating it which you will know later.

With the cost of 15 USD for adults and 12 USD for kids (ages 3-11) it’s a must activity if you’re visiting Chicago. Not only you will be rewarded with a 360 degrees breathtaking view of the city but also the far reaching view of Lake Michigan.

It also gives you a chance to slow down, pause, reflect and just enjoy the moment and feel how wonderful it is to be alive, how blessed you are and most of all just plainly be awed on how beautiful our planet is.

Remember that Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes passing through the North America. The best thing about it is: it’s a natural lake. Mother Earth created it for us. I just find that marvelous.

Here is a quick trivia. The original Ferris Wheel was designed and invented by a civil engineer named George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. in 1890s and the very first Ferris Wheel was built and opened in public in 1893 during the Chicago World’s Fair or the World’s Columbian Exposition.

It was made to purposely rival the Eiffel Tower which was also invented as a centerpiece for 1889 Paris Exposition.

It is famously called Ferris Wheel after the name of its inventor but it’s also referred as “Chicago Wheel”. The original was so rushly made for the said event that there were still many nails left and their tips coming out of the surface.

With a height of 80.4 meters and 36 cars, I can only imagine how this genius piece of work have been once a reveled beauty (and it is still now) and surely gave our favorite people the fun they deserve in the “old golden days”.

I only heard this piece of history from our guide which is definitely surprising. I knew Ferris was named after the inventor but I didn’t know the first one was made here in Chicago.

Oh, the information you get from travel.

Here’s a series of snapshots from our very scenic ride.

This is me trying to pretend I don’t have fear of heights haha. I thought the ride will go fast and it’s why I am first frightened but then I realized the gigantic Ferris Wheels here in the United States aren’t like the ones in my “old” home country Philippines. They are a lot smaller but they go really fast and can give you short of breath and also lightheadedness.

Oh, and also the queasiness in your stomach. It’s like experiencing take off (in the plane) but not only once. Make that a dozen more. The scariest is being at the top and because of the speed, the individual cars just kept moving like crazy the entire time – with a mission of trying to kick you out of your seat. Lol, it wasn’t that bad though most of times. They are very small cars so tall people, nah- you can’t have a ride. It’s deeply made for us short people.

The Centennial Wheel however was a very smooth ride. It moves in a very turtle speed. It’s not meant to scare you at all but make you enjoy the scenery. Spectacular views in all the angles and in a sunny day, you will surely get a time of your life. A big stamp of approval from me and husband.

We further explored the rest of Navy Pier. There’s still so much to see. At the edge of it, seats are waiting to suit the immediate needs of your aching feet but happy eyes. Just look at that view… mesmerizing. You can dream there all day.

Going to our hotel, it’s another hour or two of walking. But who cares when you have all these surprising twists and turns, I must say pretty corners on your way back.

There are so many picturesque views and so please allow me to have a few minutes of photo shoot.

We did a lot in one day more than what we can do for a week’s worth. Our trip was so rewarding that we are already looking forward to our next trip to Chicago. There is still so much to explore in the Windy City. It’s all there for us to take.

This is only DAY ONE of our two days stay in Chicago.

I will be ending this post with a beautiful fountain we found on our way back to the hotel.

Have a colorful day you guys!

-Anna

PART TWO

PART THREEΒ 

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