Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I hate jet lag

oh man! My body is totally messed up, believe me. I feel sleepy when I should be awake (like when I should be working) and I feel awake when I should sleep.

Soooo not cool.

And when I finally sleep when I should be sleeping I am dreaming of... my trip! Weird, so weird. I swear, I did the whole Lake Michigan tour again in my sleep tonight (kinda cool nevertheless...).

I wonder if I had the same issues a couple (of many) years back. Is age not helping with this whole crap of jet lag? I suppose it isn't (age isn't usually helping in any issue SNIFF).

Well, to cut a long story short. I am feeling crappy (you've guessed so much) and want to sleep.

Shouldn't be too difficult, right?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thinking

I was just painting my nails (yes, I did! This is Chicago guys! I no longer wear my hiking boots :-))) and while doing this I looked at ALL the pictures I have taken these last 6 weeks.

Wow.

Do you know that I am only now starting to realise where I have been, what I have done, what places I have visited? It's crazy. When you are in the middle of it, you don't realise it, you simply enjoy.
You know, I have met some friends here in Chicago (isn't this amazing - I have been here only two weeks but met amazing people!) and while they were asking me about my trip I couldn't really put it in words. I said stuff like "it was amazing" or "it was much much better than I ever had thought it would be" or then simply "awesome, really". but these words don't really describe a 4 weeks road trip, don't you think?

I need to think about appropriate words to describe what I have seen. Starting now :-)

PS: By the way, Chicago is still awesome (OK - starting to find words tomorrow). Met some friends, as mentioned, did some SERIOUS shopping and will go to the museum tomorrow. I am looking forward to see all of you soon again, believe me, but honestly, I could stay here for another week, or maybe more than one week SMILE.

PSS: And no (I know who thinks this way), I didn't fall in love - at least not with some guy. Does a city count?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Driving back to Chicago

Tomorrow I am driving back to Chicago. I can't believe it. The first two weeks were really "long" (meant in a good sense) but after that - wum, and it was over. No, hey, it's not over yet. Almost over. Have still got 4 1/2 days in Chicago...

My stay at Lake Geneva was uneventful. Big change, let me tell you. I had nothing to do besides a boat trip on the lake yesterday. By the way, I was right. Money's not missing over here. Plenty of it - you can see it by looking at all the mansions (many of them are of the Wrigley's family - you know? the chewing gum?). I met this couple from Idaho yesterday on the boat (we had a nice chat) and you know what the guy told me at some point (after having seen , I don't know, 50 / 60 / 70 villas, all of them with private lake access and boat)? He said: You know, they say that money doesn't make you happy but I would be very happy sitting one of these porches.
There is truth in what he said.

OK, I did this lake tour and otherwise, NOTHING. I spend some time reading sitting by the lake (it's hot and humid, by the way and yesterday evening we had a huge thunderstorm), then I sat in all the coffee shops of Lake Geneva and after all this sitting around I walked along the lake as well. My head is full of impressions and pictures of my last 5 1/2 weeks and lukily reading distracted me.

Tomorrow I am taking Highway 94 south to the O'Hare airport, give back my car and head for downtown Chicago. Can't wait!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

About travelling

You know that I like travelling. A lot. Because I like to see new places, I like to broaden my mind, I like to meet new people, I like to take pictures (that I can share with you SMILE).

But there is also another aspect to travelling which, once I am back in my day-to-day-routine, I tend to forget.

Travelling is also about ... having time. Time to do stuff that one wouldn't usually do, time to talk to people you wouldn't even look at in your "normal" life, time to listen to ones thoughts and time not to think about anything.

Wonderful.

Monday, September 20, 2010

You won't believe me

You will believe that this is (already) my last week in the US. Of course, because you know.

What you won't believe though is that I have arrived in a town called ... LAKE GENEVA situated on Geneva Lake.
Surprised?
I was when I first heard about this town (there is also a Lake Zurich - incredible). Sharon, my teacher back in Chicago, suggested that I spent a few days here. And of course, not only I listened but I HAD to come here as I actually lived a couple of years on the (what I call) "real" Lake Geneva in Switzerland.

Rest assured. The two places have nothing in common - the lake doesn't look alike, the city here is much smaller. There is one thing though they have in common - one can "smell" the money in both cities. Geneva, Switzerland is known as a rich city (banks and so on, you know, the usual Swiss stuff) but, hey, the American one is not bad either. I haven't had the time to visit properly yet but the few mansions I have seen are not bad. NOT BAD AT ALL.

By the way - the city is called "Lake Geneva" and the lake is called "Geneva Lake". Weird, don't you think? It should be the other way around...

Michigan, the state, is a really weird place. Nice and lovely but nevertheless weird. In a good sense, mind you. I already told you about the farms and the cows (and I have only seen them from the highway - what would it be like it I actually would drive through countryside?). They seem quite proud about their being a farmer's land. Do you know what they put on their license plates? AMERICA'S DAIRYLAND
niiiiccceeeee
Welcome to the States!

Do you want to hear something funny? Lake Geneva is situated south of ... Lake Como and the actual town of Como and north of ... Genoa City. I didn't believe my eyes when I read the sign while driving. Made me laugh out loud, believe me. More north there is a town called ... Rome, then there is New Glarus - just to mention a few of them.
These immigrants - weren't they incredible?

PS: Do you think they have "mercato" on Saturday in Como - like in the "real" Como? :-) Wishful thinking for my part, I suppose. For the non-Italians and those who don't me very well yet: I am addicted to Italian Mercato - which is an outdoor market, the real thing. It is where I buy all my bags (and I have tons of them) and practically all my clothes as well and not to mention accessories of all kind (skarfs, earrings, etc.).
If you ever go to Italy, don't miss "il mercato"!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Door Peninsula - Sturgeon Bay

What do you want me to say about the Door Peninsula?

It's simply ... lovely!

The towns are lovely, the lake side is lovely, the farms are lovely, the apple trees are lovely, the green hills are lovely and even the cows are lovely.

I have never been to a region where EVERYTHING is lovely.

Unbelievable.

That is the reason why I won't post any pictures. You can't take pictures of something that feels lovely.
How to you shoot "lovely"? I am not a good enough photographer to get a feeling, such a big feeling in one picture.

You will have to work with your own imagination. Sorry guys!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Welcome to Wisconsin!

I have left the UP (short for upper peninsula - meaning the northern part of Michigan) this morning while it rained. The lake looked all gray and sad and I thought about how lucky I have been to have had two wonderful sunny days (OK - the wind was harsh, but at least the sun was shining).

Everything looks different, more beautiful when the sun shines. Don't you think?

My trip is now in its last days, no, more the (almost) last week. I have decided to spend my last five days in Chicago (still have places to visit, shopping to do and people to meet).
But until I get to be a Big City Girl again, there are some few places left that I want to see.

I have arrived in Green Bay, Wisonsin after a nice 3-hours-drive. Wisonsin looks totally different than the other places I've visited. From the highway, the only things I saw were ... cows and farms. No sh... COWS AND FARMS.

Am I in Montana, or what?

What is this? Cow's land? Farmer's land? I need to find out.

I was kind of glad to have Lake Michigan accompany me again - this time on the left hand side of me and my car.
Tomorrow I will drive up the the Door Peninsula. More hiking to do, more places to see, more lighthouses to visit! Pics to follow ... certainly!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

more ... Pictured Rocks
















Pictured Rocks (Lake Superior)


As I have already told you I have now arrived at the northest point of my trip - I am in Munising, Pictured Rocks Park, on Lake Superior. Still in Michigan but Canada is just around the corner. Temperatures are rather frisky and the winds are strong. They tell me that winter will arrive shortly.
I had to wait until today to finally do this boat cruise along the world famous PICTURED ROCKS. Pictured Rocks is a park along the coast east of Munising, a couple of miles long. The real beauty of the rocks, though, is only visible from the lake that is why I HAD to do this boat cruise. There are walking trails all along the coast but all you see is ... the blue of the lake. The boat cruise (even though it was pretty expensive) is a much better way to get to know the place.
Are you wondering why they are called Pictured Rocks? Well, it's because they look like they have ... pictures on them. See above pictures. Unfortunately, the light was not good this morning and therefore the colors are not really good but with the help of your imagination you will get it! These rocks have been here well well before men arrived in the area (the first ones to see these rocks were the Indians).

Monday, September 13, 2010

Nature Morte







I swear. I just did take these pictures. The stuff was simply lying there and made me think of how perfect nature is.
Doesn't this look like some "nature morte" - some piece of art?



Lake Superior




Welcome to Lake Superior. I only did a short walk along the coast - but isn't it incredible??? This particular stone formation is called "Miners Castle".
Tomorrow I am doing a boat trip to have a look at the coast from the lake.
By the way, Canada is just on the other side of the lake, no actually, it begins in the middle of the lake.


A couple of numbers re my trip

3 different lakes (Michigan, Huron and now Superior)

3 different states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan)

2 hotel rooms with tubs in them (don't ask!)

1 (big) dune or countless small dunes I've walked on

1 (big fat long) bridge (on which I was driving this morning - it was really scary)

1 hotel room which smelled really bad - hey, REALLY bad

3 dinners at McDonald's

1 snake (she was lying on the street and I was in the car - don't worry)

countless pictures I took

And even more countless highways I've driven on

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Back to the 1800s / 1900s


I spent my day in a really ... unreal place! There is this island on Lake Huron called "Mackinac Island". On this island there are ... NO CARS. Can you believe it? To find a place in America where the car is NOT king? I had to go there and see by myself.

It's true.

No cars. NOT ONE.
Just horses and bikes and pedestrians.

Amazing.

It felt like beeing swept back to the 1800s/1900s.

But then, it wouldn't be America if they wouldn't build a highway anyway. Yes, they did. Highway 186 - 8 miles long.
Funny, don't you think?
This is certainly the only American highway that never had a car accident :-)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron

I am in Mackinaw City, still in Michigan. Don't even try to pronounce this name - again, it's Indian and almost impossible to articulate. SMILE
Mackinaw City is the place where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron and it's quite an interesting place. 60 years ago (before they built the bridge), in order to go north, people took ... a ship.
There is another reason that makes this place special. The sun rises on Lake Huron and sets on Lake Michigan.
I think that this makes this place really special.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Weather Channel

There is this Channel which, in my opinion, is something soooo American: The Weather Channel.

The whole day (and I mean the WHOLE day, 24/7) they talk about the weather. Nothing else. The weather, the weather, nothing else as the weather.

OK, these days, with hurricanes on the east cost and tornados in Texas they have pretty much to talk about. The whole day. I give them that.

What about "normal" times?

But maybe "normal" days don't exist for the Weather Channel then in this big country you certainly will find something that isn't OK and that it's worth been talked about.

Old Mission Peninsula (near Traverse City, MI)







Traverse City was not as beautiful as I'd expected but the Old Mission Peninsula was awesome! Travelling is also about surprises - good and, sometimes, bad ones!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Have you ever been in a sand storm?



I spent my day in the Sleeping Bear Dunes. The day started with sunshine but then wind came up and by the time I reached the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive it was pretty strong. 40 miles / hour I was told. Pretty strong, I told ya!
Well, here I was at the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. You wonder what Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive is? Well, it's the American Way to get to know a park better ... by driving! You pay 10 USD at the entrance, you get a map and there you go - 10 points of interest (they call it) where you can stop and take pictures, toilets all along - in other words: everything perfectly organised. I told you: the American Way.
I had read about this Scenic Drive and I wanted to look for myself.
I was not disappointed. On the contrary. Point 9 and 10 were awesome ... if it weren't for the wind. Oh my, oh my, oh my!

Have you ever been in a sand storm?

Today I was. Amazing. I stood there for 10 minutes and when I begun to smell sand, to hear sand and to eat sand (meaning: I had sand all over me), I thought it would be best to stop taking pictures :-)

What an adventure!

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Week

I am sooooo glad that Labor Day is behind me. I can't find the right words to describe the feeling. I am just soooo relieved. It seems that on these days (Thanksgiving is another one, or Memorial Day...) Americans go crazy. All of them are on the road and are enjoying their extra day off. Like Italians do on Ferragosto (for non-Italians: I mean 15 August - when EVERY SINGLE ITALIAN is on the beach ... crazy times, I can tell you). I don't blame them, mind you, I'd do the same but I am just glad that every thing is back to normal again (the prices as well!!) and I don't have to fight to find a free hotel room.
I left Ludington this morning (what an ugly city - I know I repeat myself, but hey, ugly remains ugly - no talking out of it!) after having had a wonderful day yesterday at the Ludington State Park, doing some hiking, walking and sun bathing. Pretty cool day.
Well, as I said, I left Ludington, heading north towards the Sleeping Bear Dunes. I found a hotel room in Leland, just in front of the lake. Not THE Lake Michigan but another lake. There are plenty of them here, by the way. Lakes I mean. Plenty. They seem to come with the dunes...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Strictly white

Do you know that since I've left Chicago a week ago, I haven't met ... one African-American nor a Latino?

Not one.

Isn't this interesting?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

Arrived in Ludington, MI. First impression (honestly): What an ugly city... definitively ugly. But hey, it's Labor Day Weekend, and I was quite happy to have a hotel room. I thought: OK, the city might not be nice but who cares? I've got a hotel room for the Labor Day Weekend (you won't believe me but LDW is like THE weekend in the States - everybody is on the move!! and almost every hotel has no vacancies). Plus I kept telling myself that you can't always stay in wonderful places. Right?

But then I drove to the beach.

And my first impression was proven wrong.

The city might not be nice but the seaside? WONDERFUL WOOONNNDDDEEERRRFFFUUULLLLL.

Who would have thought?

The weather is not good today and the wind was blowing really strong but I took some nice pics (see below). They have Hurricane Earl in the East but the wind here is not bad either - believe me! I almost couldn't stand still in order to take these pictures.

Tomorrow I am going to walk the dunes.

Look out for more pics.

Ludington, MI
















Thursday, September 2, 2010

First rain...

... since I arrived in the U.S. of A.

I'm afraid that summer is now over. Definitively.

Rain in September always makes me a bit sad. Because the temperatures then start to drop and autumn is in the air!

Well, won't complain, though. Had a nice summer!

No, no, I don't complain but ... hey, I ADORE SUMMERTIME