Monday, February 25, 2013

Traveler Talk! Aria

I met Aria in the lobby at HI, and she was kind enough to take a break from planning her trip to talk to me for a few minutes about her experience in Chicago.  Aria is from a small town near Bordeaux, France, and she’s here visiting some family that lives in Plainfield.  She’ll be in the area for one month, and luckily she had some free time to come down and stay with us downtown for a few days.  

So far, Chicago has made a pretty great impression on her.  Her favorite thing that she’s done on this trip was a visit to the observatory in the John Hancock Building.  In her opinion, looking out from the top of the Hancock provides the best possible view of Chicago.  She also liked how the floor had a lounge atmosphere, as opposed to the museum type feel of the Willis Tower.  The friendliness of the people here has also helped make Aria feel at ease in the big city.  She was astounded by the fact that people will offer to take a picture of her in front of monuments and attractions without even being asked.  When she was trying to figure out directions with a map on a street corner, someone came up to her and asked if she needed help. Because of these acts of kindness towards tourists, she joked that we are “nothing like how the people are in Paris!”

Even though she’s used to the incredible cuisine in France, she thoroughly enjoys the food here.  She has tried a lot of different kinds of restaurants in the area, but nothing stands up to the amazing taste of deep dish, Chicago style pizza.  When I asked her what one word she would use to describe the city, she said that most people from France will instinctively say BIG.  Everything in the United States just seems enormous in comparison to the size of buildings and cars in their hometowns.  But after further reflection, she decided that the best word for us would be PROUD.  We’re proud of our sports teams, we’re proud of our music, and we’re proud of our city.

So glad to have you here, Aria, and we hope that you enjoy the rest of your stay at HI-Chicago!

By: Intern Sarah Consoer

Friday, February 22, 2013

Traveler Talk! John


I was able to catch John on his last night at HI to chat a little bit about his trip.  He’s from Seattle and was here for a business matter, but fortunately he was able to relax and have some fun during his stay too.  Earlier, he did a self-guided tour of the Field Museum, and because he’s a big fan of architecture, his plan for the night is to visit the Sullivan Auditorium.  Our unique buildings, and the fact that two of his five favorite architects (Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright) are from here, are some of his favorite things about our city.  He’s also a moderate Cubs fan, but as we can tell from the picture, his allegiance truly lies with the Seattle Mariners.  

Even though he’s not an Illinois native, he’s no stranger to Chicago.  He lived here for three years while working as a cab driver.  Since he’s lived in both cities for a good amount of time, I thought it would be interesting to hear what he thought were some of the biggest differences between Chicago and Seattle.  The size difference was one that really stuck out to him.  He stated that Seattle would be bigger if it could, but the fact that it’s surrounded by water makes expansion a little bit difficult.  He also commented on how music is very prevalent in both places, but Chicago is heavily focused on jazz and blues while Seattle is more into the rock scene.  Another cool thing about this guest is that he’s stayed at our location multiple times before.  Some of his favorite things about our hostel are the location, the cleanliness, the price, and the fact that our lounge and rooms are so comfortable.  We love that you enjoy your time here John, and hope to see you at HI Chicago again soon!

By: Intern Sarah Consoer

Traveler Talk! Jeff & Patty

I met Jeff and Patty just after they checked in here at Hostelling International Chicago.  We were able to chat for a bit while they had a quick snack and got themselves ready for the first day of their adventure in the city!  Jeff is from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Patty is a foreign exchange student from Bern, Switzerland that’s staying with him for the year.  I found out that Jeff has been here before about five years ago during Memorial Day weekend.  One of the things that he really enjoyed doing last time was riding a bike down by the lake and enjoying the nice weather.  This time around, the pair will be lucky if they get a fifty degree day, but they don’t mind.  They have plenty of other fun things in mind to do while they’re here. 

Patty is very interested in the arts, so the two plan on spending some time at the Museum of Contemporary Art during their stay.  They have also already decided on attending the Cultural Kitchen event at HI this evening which is focusing on Nepal.  Tomorrow morning, Jeff thought that it would be a good idea to step off of the well-traveled path of the Loop, so they are going to take a tour of Pullman to explore some of the hidden gems of the city.  And on Saturday, they’re going to end their trip on a high note with one of our famous Chicago architectural tours.  The pair sure has a lot to look forward to for their long weekend in Chicago.  But Patty’s already noticed a couple of differences between her hometown and ours: the buildings are a lot bigger, and the wind is a lot stronger.  Well, I guess there is a reason they call it the Windy City.

By: Intern Sarah Consoer