Day 29 of PapiBlogger Road Trip is a Wet, Wild and Windy Family Affair in Chicago

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It was too hot to avoid splashy in the eccentric water fountain.

On the 29th Day of the PapiBlogger Family Road Trip, we crashed the Chicago movie set of “Transformers 3”, played with some wild automotive insects and got soaked in Millennium Park.


We started the day with lunch at Connie’s, a family-friendly Italian restaurant many locals favor for its Chicago-style deep pan pizza. When we get to New York the kids will give their verdict between authentic deep pan pizza of Chicago and thin crust-style pizza of New York. Stay tuned for that vote.


Wreckage from Transformer 3 filming on the streets of Chicago.

After a satisfying lunch we headed over to Michigan Avenue, in downtown Chicago to see if we could get a sneak peek at some of the scenes being shot for “Transformers 3.” Chunks of Chicago’s downtown area were closed off due to filming so the best we could see were several blown up-looking cars that were dangling from a draw-bridge near Michigan.


The kids really loved the dancing insects of SARRUGA.

Following a disappointing search for “Transformers” action we went to Chicago’s Millennium Park where we ran into giant moving insects dancing to house music as part of the U.S. premiere of the spectacular Catalan street theater company, SARRUGA.  (SARRUGA will be headed to Miami in August).

This photo was taken using our FUJIFILM FinePix XP10 all weather camera. It came in very handy.

The summer day was hot by Chicago standards so we took advantage of the heat to cool off at the cascading waterfalls of The Crown Fountain. The fountain consists of two 50-foot glass block towers at each end of a shallow reflecting pool that project video images from a broad social spectrum of Chicago citizens. Every few minutes water spouts from the mouths of the faces being shown on the glass towers. For some reason I was one of only a handful of adults who jumped into the fountains.

The Crown Fountain gave us another opportunity to use our FUJIFILM FinePix XP10 all weather camera as Jonathan and Elena took photos and videos of their exploits in the pouring waters of the fountain.


The boat tour gives you a relaxing and cool vantage point from which to photograph the Chicago skyline.

In a twist on the spate of city tours we’ve been taking across the country, we skipped the usual automotive route to take a relaxing, 90-minute Chicago River and Lake Michigan Tour with Mercury Chicago Skyline Cruise. The so-called Urban Adventure Tour wound through the Chicago River first, home to most of the city’s most iconic buildings before proceeding to the Michigan River. (The cost for adults is $24 and children 12 and under are $10).

The kids considered the river and lake tour the highlight of today and I highly recommend that when you do the tour during the summer you do it in the evening because it not only is cooler in temperature but it gives you a chance to see the city’s skyline shift from day to night.

A couple of notable things that emerged from our excellent guide:

– The city has more movable drawbridges, all of which need paint jobs, than any other city in the world. Our guide said the bridges won’t be repainted because the weight of new paint can make the bridges shift their delicate weight in a way that would damage their functionality.

The Wrigley Building and all of downtown Chicago looks spectacular on the river tour.

– The Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which wiped out most of the city’s buildings and killed hundreds, is considered a mixed blessing because it allowed the city to start afresh with much of the fancier architecture designs and infrastructure that it’s known for today.

– The name Chicago actually means “smelly onion” which alludes to what Native Americans from the area used to say it smelled like around the Chicago River.


Just because your children are on vacation doesn’t mean their chores end. On our trip, Jonathan doesn’t have to throw the garbage out like he does at home but his daily task is to replenish the ice in the family cooler twice a day, once in the morning and another time at night.

Getting the kids to have chores during your vacation is not only important for maintaining the discipline but also because it helps the family be more efficient because travel is work.

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