Day 6 in Chicago!
The next morning, we checked our bags into the hostel’s storage room and took the bus down to the zoo.
Lincoln Park Zoo
We arrived at the front of a large brick building with two large cat statues. On the right was a path to the garden. It was a foggy day, and in the distance, the beautiful Chicago skyline appeared beyond a river.
A short walk away was a pond with a waterfall surrounded by white and orange flowers, and on the walk back, a red barn appeared. The cows mooed at us.
The zoo itself was small, free, but still had a lion, an aviary, giraffes, and even seals. We quickly made our way through it since we wanted to make it to the north side of Chicago.
Outside our window, the wooden houses were falling apart, and graffiti was painted on the roofs. The red train moved quickly, and we did not get out.
Before going on our Chicago trip, I’d spent hours looking at the location of our Airbnb and the different train and bus lines that were considered safe. I opened up crime maps that were dotted with red on the west and south side. There were some train stops that you don’t get off at night, and these were some of them.
It wasn’t until years later when I realized how potentially dangerous it could have been, but I was a cock-eyed optimist, who found other optimistic travelers in LA who knew their way through the cities and the limits of walking pass seedy streets.
We followed the sign to the university, walking down the stairway to the streets and down a few blocks with old college houses. Years ago, I had applied to the school but didn’t get a chance to visit. We reached a grey cathedral building with spikes reaching toward the sky. This was the edge of the university.
The bell rang. We don’t have much time left!
On the Train
We hurried to the train, which was a walk away. The train arrived a few minutes we made it to the station, and we took it down to the hostel. From the hostel, we picked up our belongings and boarded a nearby bus after my friend rearranged her liquid in her carryon bag. Then, we took another train all the way down to the airport. One hour left until homebound.