My in laws have been at our home for the past few weeks. Last few week ends have been days of travel and exploration. We had gone to few places near by and few very far. Being a natural couch potato, the idea of travelling week after week is nothing short of a night mare for me. But then having a ‘travel-ccentric’ husband and a budding ‘travel-ccentric’ daughter, I have to put up with it.
We first visited the city of Chicago and drank on the great view from the 103rd floor of Willis Towers.Since it was a little foggy day it felt as if I was sitting on the balcony of a mighty home up in the heaven and looking down up on the earth through the floating clouds. Ahh…is that how God and angels keeps a watch on us? May be not, vision can be quite blurred from that great height.
We went for an architectural boat ride and our guide was ‘quite a funny person’ (but I had a hard time figuring out his jokes because of the noisy wind blowing in my ear and his thick southern(?) accent.)But the partial decipher of his talk did tell me a string of vivid stories, I could visualize the Chicago fire, the whole city on flames.Fire spreading from the northern side of the city to the southern side(or was it the other way around ??) across a flammable polluted river and frantic people running away for their lives, jumping into those big holes in the cemetery and waiting for death. And then I could sense the relief when the rains came down after three days, extinguishing the evil fire , leaving nothing but a charred skeleton of a once mighty city.
The guide proceeded to brief about the history of each and every building out there.As we sat gaping at the inanimate mammoth monsters, their stories unveiled. Stories of pride, exploitation,extravaganzas,fights,protests…how sad was it that those buildings couldn’t talk or couldn’t pen down their stories….:(…The boat ride had a grand climax when the nature treated us with a double rainbow across horizon in the back drop of the gorgeous the blue river.
We visited the famous Millennium park, but then I did not find the ‘great Chicago Bean’ to be anything fascinating.(That might be because I have already seen the magnificent natural cousin of the same in Mahabalipuram, Chennai :)).A water fountain with ankle deep water was what my daughter found to be the most mind blowing. She took off her shoes and ran through the clear running water, splashing water and enjoying every minute of it. May be that’s why people say being a child is wonderful, you don’t need the world’s tallest building to feel happy, simpler things would be more than enough.
The place that caught my little one’s fancy 🙂
The next stop was Niagara water fall, one of the 7 wonders of the world.It was my second trip there, so I was not as excited as I ought have been. The long travel had already wore me off and the only thing that would excite me at that point was a warm fuzzy bed and an old favorite movie , definitely not a serene, glorious waterfall lying hundreds of miles away.(Yeah..I can be very lazy at times ;-))
Since I was there, I decided to stop grumbling and give my eyes the much deserved treat. I was a little disappointed that there were no rainbows hanging around, giving us a warm colorful welcome, like they had the last time we visited.What is the great Niagara without her maid of the mist to give the visitors a smile of hope?
I couldn’t go up till the Hurricane deck this time as my so called brave daughter finally confessed to me that this was a little too much for her to handle. I had been a little worried lately that she had no sense of potential dangers which kept her wanting to do all dare devil acts (dare devil acts might be an exaggeration, but for a three year old wanting to climb up the rocky path ways, wanting to ride a horse etc are kind of extra adventurous right?..).It took a great waterfall to finally force her to accept her defeat.
We took the scenic trolley drive later which brought the adventure quotient back to my daughter and she continued her persistent brave attempts to thrust three fourth of her miniature torso out through the trolley window and I had to keep on holding on to her little legs to pull her back.We then took the Maid of the Mist boat ride and this time , to my husband’s delight, found ourselves right by the rails on the upper deck of the boat. Last time , I had been more than contented to be well within the boundaries of the lower deck of the boat and was quite safe from the cruel splash of water from the falls.But this time we got a full fledged blow of the water attacks and since my two hands were quite busy balancing my daughter, with her head buried in my shoulders, and in trying hard to keep her little body completely within the bounds of the raincoat, a great deal of cold water succeeded invading my much warmer ears…eeew…it’s not the best thing that could happen to you, trust me! But then , we got to see the fall in it’s full glory and I could quickly empathize with the native tribes to have believed that their Thunder god lived under these falls. What sound they made 🙂 and how glorious they looked !! It was indeed a fascinating experience and would never cease to amaze you, even if you have seen it a 100 times..
The journey back home seemed too looooooog and kept me wishing that we had opted for flights instead of the driving all the way back(All I did was sit and doze on the back seat , but then that takes a lot of energy too and the flights were so very expensive :()
Some of the other excursions that we had in the recent weeks includes a visit to local zoo and a drive to Great smokey Mountains to watch the fall colors. The former is a ritual that we do every 2 months or so, as my daughter loves zoo…This time we got to pet a Kangaroo, a real Kangaroo , can you believe? Kangaroo fur is softer than anything that I have ever touched….I had imagined Kangaroos to be real big, but they looked quite tiny, barely reached my hips.May be they are not yet fully grown. It was mercilessly cold, but nothing in this world would be powerful enough to dampen my little ones spirits when she steps inside the world of the zoo. Blazing sun and pouring rain had already bent their knees on our previous visits :)..
Smokey mountain was..I would say ..a mountain? I am not a mountain loving kind of person. Yeah, the view was great.The distant mountain rows looked blue and the fog kinda made it look like a slice from the harry potter books.The enchanted mountains where the dragons roamed, where the giants hid and the death eaters flocked.Or was there a secret castle lying hidden behind that rows of clouds?
Hailing from a land of mountains and hair pin curves, none of the mountains or view points have ever succeeded in impressing me yet.Going on a hike in the trails (that lead to small waterfalls or that followed tiny streams) would have been quite an experience, but then it was a long trek and though my daughter would always be game for such expeditions, I strongly doubted her leg power (and our arm power to carry her for such a long distance) and hence we decided against it. We did snap a handful of photos( what trip would be complete without putting our photographic skills to use?)
The travel maniac husband has already started talking about the next trip and his very loyal daughter is all set to back her father.I am so damn tired, thinking of excuses to avoid it..Let me know if you can think of any 🙂