Saturday, June 21, 2014

California to Chicago and Michigan by Rail - Arriving In Chicago

We got off the train and found a porter, loaded our carry-on luggage onto his cart and got a ride into the station since it was quite a walk from the train.  As we rode into the station we saw my Aunt Judy and the porter told her to climb aboard and we continued our ride to the luggage claim area.  The porter said “sit still, I’ll get the luggage” so we thought, wow, what great service.  After he loaded our luggage he drove us out to the cab area where we picked up a cab and made our way to the Aqua building and our rented condo.  The Amtrak porter service was wonderful as it made what could have been a confusing and tiring journey from the train to luggage claim to a cab very easy.

We wanted to stay in downtown Chicago, but hotels were very expensive. Since we needed rooms for both Judy and ourselves, Val started looking at rental units.  She found a corporate suite rental in the Aqua Building which is in the heart of downtown Chicago.  It was fairly pricey, but actually less expensive than getting a couple of hotel rooms.  It seemed too good to be true, but upon arrival we were very happy to see that it not only met our expectations, but exceeded them.  This is a great place to stay and if anyone is interested here is the link to the rental details.

The suite is on the 49th floor and is on a corner with views of the Chicago River, Navy Pier, Lake Michigan and Millennium Park.  The evening was quite warm and we could stand out on the balcony and hear music coming from the park and see people wandering around below.  After getting settled we went down and found a nearby market where we bought some things for breakfast and since it was late, some things for dinner.  It was a very nice walk on a beautiful evening.  We went back to our suite, had our dinner, talked for a while and then called it a night. It had been a long day.

Here are some pictures we took during our stay.  The first one is of the building and you'll notice the offset and curved terraces give it a kind of a water flowing effect, especially with the blue sky reflected in the building, hence the name the Aqua Building.  We learned that the Aqua Building as won architectural awards, and the architect (a woman) has won awards for her "forward thinking" style.

Enjoying a late snack on our first night in Chicago.
The view from the dining room of Navy Pier and Lake Michigan.
A view from the balcony looking down at a small park.
Looking southwest from the side balcony with a view of Millennium Park.
A closer look at Millennium Park.  In the lower
right corner you can see Cloud Gate, aka "The Bean".
Looking northeast with Lake Michigan in the background.
Looking east at Navy Pier and Lake Michigan.
Looking west from the side balcony.
Looking southeast.

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