Peoria, Day 1 – FOODZ and thoughts about travel.

I made it to Peoria okay!  I’m staying with my friend L.and her husband D., and their three kitties.  I kept the door closed last night so I wouldn’t have cat butt on my head at three in the morning. The weather here is so nice – real fall, not something that lasts for three days sporadically in October and then it’s gone.  I slept with the window open last night, which was lovely.  I don’t get to do that a lot in Louisiana with the weather fluctuations.  

Yesterday morning I got to the airport super early – like 2 hours before my flight.  I’d been planning this for a while since I’d read online that security checks for both insulin and CPAPs could take a while.  I get there and ask the very nice TSA agent how I should handle my CPAP and insulin.  She tells me to just leave my meds in my bag and send it through the scanner, and to take my CPAP out of the case, and put it one one bin with the bag.  Everything went through the scanner, I did the full body scan, and BOOM done.  I’d been kind of ramping myself up and worrying about that check for months, and it was over in 5 minutes!  All the agents were very nice and patient, and answered my questions and looks of confusion politely and kindly.  Big kudos to the TSA in New Orleans.

  

The first leg of my trip was from NOLA to Atlanta.  Good Lord, Atlanta’s airport is enormous.  I’d booked a two and a half hour layover on purpose, so I wouldn’t have to run through the airport to make a flight.  I’m SO glad I did!  I landed in Terminal A and had to be in Terminal C for my flight to Peoria.  Luckily there was a train that took you in between the terminals, so it didn’t take nearly as long as I thought it would.  I spent the time eating lunch, wandering around the shops, and finally sitting down at the gate and charging my phone and iPad.  The flight from Atlanta to Peoria was spent chatting with a lovely woman who told me about Peoria and Chicago.

  

Once I arrived, I unpacked some stuff and lounged around at L.’s house for a little bit, then we went grocery shopping and picked up her husband to hit up Peoria Pizza Works for my first experience with real Chicago style deep dish pizza – and fried cheese curds.  See, for years I’ve always wanted to try that kind of pizza, but nowhere in New Orleans has it that I know of. I’ve also wanted to try fried cheese curds after seeing them on Travel Channel and Food Network.  I originally planned on doing the curds in Wisconsin, when we head there on Saturday for House on the Rock and Madison, but when D. mentioned they had them there I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

  

One thing I noticed about the pizza that I loved was that there was a lot of sauce.  I usually request extra sauce on my pizza, and it’s never enough.  This was perfect.  It was almost like eating a thick, chunky sauce on the pizza mixed with ribbons of mozzarella.  I was pulling pieces off of the plate and wrapping my fork around the cheese – and it just kept going!  It was heaven.  I ate some of the curds and two slices of pizza and I was stuffed.  I probably could have eaten more but I didn’t want to make myself sick.

Today, for lunch, L. took me to One World, a delightful little cafe.  We had the hummus, and I had the chicken bacon mushroom sandwich, which was dressed with lettuce and tomato and served on a sun-dried tomato brioche bun.  We also had hummus as an appetizer, which was very good – well seasoned, not too garlicky, and smooth.  

 

L. had some work stuff to handle this afternoon so she was gracious enough to loan me her car and let me putter around downtown Peoria.  I walked along the riverfront for a bit and then went to the Riverfront Museum, where I learned a little more about the town’s history and checked out a show at the Dome Planetarium.  I felt a little odd since I was the only person in attendance at the show, and the girl presenting did the whole spiel.  I felt like telling her that she could take the headset off and just talk as usual.  She was really good, though, and I asked her if she studied astronomy in school.  Turns out that  she was a history major!

  

Right now, I’m sitting in Thirty-Thirty coffee, drinking a latte that came with pretty latte art and writing this post.  We’re planning on heading home after this (although I might need to make an emergency Target run for tights), and cooking at home tonight.  Depending on what we decide to do tomorrow (which will probably include Tanners Orchard and the bakery there), I’ll probably make red beans and rice for them tomorrow night.  Got to bring a little Louisiana to Illinois, you know.  🙂

A lot of people don’t understand why I chose to go to Peoria for my vacation.  First off, I’m visiting a dear friend who came down to Louisiana last year, plus we’re going to see Garbage in Madison Sunday night (SO EXCITED).  Secondly, I love seeing new places.  I don’t care where they are.  I love meeting new people and checking out new things, no matter how mundane they might seem to others.  The whole purpose of traveling is to do things and see things that you can’t get at home.  I’m seeing autumn trees in brilliant colors of rich gold, deep orange, and brilliant red.  I’m walking along a river that’s not the Mississippi.  I’m tasting foods that I can’t get at home.  These are experiences that can’t always be captured and posted on Instagram or Facebook, but they’ll always stick with me in my memory.  I can get that no matter where I go, whether it’s in Illinois or London.  

  

I want to travel more, visit my friends, and experience the world as much as I can.

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