From the day I got to Allegheny College, Fall Break has always been something I had been looking forward to. It seemed quite far away and the fact that it is already over is kind of scary. However, up until last Wednesday, I still did not know for sure what I was doing for said break! The main reason for that is because there were some booking problems with the place we were going to stay in. But eventually, everything unfolded and I had somewhat a plan: I was going to take an overnight bus to Chicago, spend a few days there with some of my closest friends who are also on exchange programs in the US, and come back to little Meadville. In fact that was all I knew! Without further ado, these are the events of my Fall Break!
After spending the night on a bus from Pittsburgh, PA, I was picked up from the Greyhound station in Chicago by my friend Safae who was already on the her before last day in the Windy City. Not only did we get to reunite after about 3 months, she greeted me with coffee!! After managing to get a hold of my other friend Amal, Safae dropped me off in Navy Pier where I was set to meet the West Virginia University exchange students with whom I would spend the following 3 days.
The Chicago skyline from Navy Pier!
We did not spend too much time in Navy Pier before deciding to make our way to Millennium Park. I honestly cannot even remember how much we walked because it feels like that is all I spent my break doing! Our first stop in the Park was Wrigley Square. We then moved on to Cloud Gate (Of course!) before making our way to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, the BP Pedestrian Bridge, and finally the Crown Fountain.
Wrigley Square. If you are wondering, this is what I look like after a night on a bus! Credits: Amal Bouguerch
Amal and I being the adorable people we are.
The center of the Bean.
Little kids under the Bean.
Chicago getting ready for the Bank of American Chicago Marathon!
The picture was taken from the BP serpentine bridge.
After an hour or so in Millennium Park, it was time to head over to Grant Park. Again, we walked there, and this time Amal and I had a great time singing French songs along the way. We really missed being in Choir together! Since we were walking on the same streets the Bank of America Chicago Marathon was going to take place in the next day, there were sound installations everywhere and music was playing almost throughout the whole way. A lot of random dance sessions took place. It was almost as if we were in a 1980’s teenage movie!
The wonderful people I spent my Fall Break with. Also know as Kappa Kappa Unicorn.
F-t-B, L-t-R: Dani, Ramon, Pedro, Amal, Fran, Hamza, Jack, and Guille!
After spending sometime in Grant Park, we started to make our way towards the Northerly Island general area. That was when we split up into two groups. The first one went to the Field Museum, while the second bigger group went past the aquarium and planetarium towards the Lake Michigan shore.
The Chicago Skyline from near the Adler Planetarium.
Credits: Francisco Hueto
My feet really did enjoy the cold water of Lake Michigan.
By the time we were done enjoying the beach, everyone had started to feel too hungry to function since it was already late afternoon. We decided to head back to the city and look for a place to eat. After that, we met up with the group who had gone to the museum and we walked around the city some more. The next “attraction” we went to was the U.S. Route 66 plaque that marks the beginning of the famous road. It is safe to say some (most) of us were underwhelmed by it.
U.S. Route 66
After about another hour of walking, we decided to go back to the house which was about a 25 minute ride on the transit. Amal and I got ready and Safae and her friends (all three of them are exchange students in University of Dayton, OH) picked us up for a much-needed girls’ night out in the city. I guess the highlight of that would have to be us getting photobombed by a stranger as we were taking a selfie!
The next morning, we made it to town around 11 am and went to Willis Tower. I may not be a fan of tourist attractions of the kind, but I have to say I did enjoy the tower! For lunch, we could not skip Giordano’s infamous deep dish pizza. I don’t have any pictures of that because I was too busy eating. My only regret is that we did not make in time to town to see the marathon take place.
Ceiling selfie on the 90 second long elevator ride to the 103rd floor of Willis Tower.
Amal and I at the top of the world.
Credits: Hamza Lamzadri
Chicago from Willis Tower.
You can see people gathered at what I believe is Grant Park (not entirely sure) for the after-Marathon party.
After lunch, it was time to walk to the Magnificent Mile helping Dani look for a winter jacket. We ended up going into the Nike Store which was holding a day long party because of the marathon. Following that, we split into two groups again, and I was amongst the people who took the car and went to United Center, home to the Chicago Bulls (NBA) and the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL). Our second and last day in Chicago ended after a midnight walk around the neighbourhood where our house was and a late night run to McDonald’s.
Blackhawks statue in front of United Center.
L-t-R: Ramon, Francisco, me, and Amal.
Credits: Hamza Lamzadri.
One of the many theatres around town. I mainly took a picture of this one because of its name. There used to be a Cinema Palace in my hometown in Morocco.
Nothing like Chicago in Bokkeh.
Monday morning was when my initial plans shifted. Instead of spending one more day in Chicago alone, I decided to go on a road trip across 5 states with everyone else since they were all going back to West Virginia. We woke up quite early, packed up our things and hit the road at around 11 am. We only stopped for a significant amount of time once and it was in Detroit, MI. I have to say that when I learned that I would be spending a semester in the United States, the last place I expected to go see was Detroit. I guess the world works in mysterious ways!
In Detroit, we first checked out the Heidelberg Project, which is by far one of the creepiest and most intriguing things I have seen lately. It was almost as if we have stepped into a post-apocalyptic, dystopian near future where relics of people’s lives were assembled into weird statues. We then went to Michigan Central Station where we got a taste of one of the emblems of ruins photography. It was just as haunting as our previous stop. Finally, we walked around the Hart Plaza and Riverwalk before hitting the road again towards Morgantown, WV.
More of the Heidelberg Project.
Michigan Central Station.
To me, this picture represents Detroit, MI. You can see the General Motors building in the back!
We made it to Morgantown around 1 am on Tuesday. After spending the morning with Amal trying to figure out how to get to the bus station, I got on my bus to Pittsburgh while she went back to her dorm room to study for a midterm. I was finally back in Meadville yesterday in the late afternoon.
The headwrap is my new way of dealing with the migraines! Credits: Amal Bouguerch.
I would say that I had a very successful Fall Break, especially considering I visited 2 more states than I was predicting! Now I can’t wait for Thanksgiving since I am going Home to Olympia, WA!
PS. All pictures were taken by me unless stated otherwise. You can find HD version if you click on the pictures. Feel free to use them as long as you give credit!