Getting from Evanston to the O'Hare International Airport

As I was preparing for my return trip to St. Louis from Evanston, IL (I was at the DrupalCamp Chicago this weekend), I realized I hadn't set up any way to get to the O'Hare International Airport in order to board my American Airlines flight. Luckily, I looked up 'Evanston to O'Hare' online, and found a little nugget that many people don't know about.

There's a Pace bus (route 250) that goes straight from downtown Evanston to the airport for a very nice $1.75! What's better, it only takes about an hour to get to the airport; taking the CTA or a combination of the Metra and CTA would take almost two hours, and cost at least three times as much.

Taking a taxicab shaves off 20 minutes, but is that worth paying $30-50? I think not.

What's not apparent from the Pace website is where, exactly, is the location of the bus stop. If you walk to the Davis St. CTA terminal, you'll find the bus stop directly in front of the station. You can pay your fare with a farecard (purchased inside the station), or on the bus itself.

Take a Ride on the Amtrak Railroad

Amtrak Train Engine

For the first time since I was a child, I took an Amtrak train rather than drive or fly to another city. I'm currently in Chicago, and the Amtrak ride was a rather uneventful five hours, with many laughing and talking individuals sitting around me… luckily, I had my iPhone and headphones, so I could drown out a lot of that noise!

The train ride was pretty nice, I would say—there were few stops, the ride was extremely quiet (besides some track noise, and the occasional train horn), and besides some side-to-side jolting (which doesn't feel as frightening as rough turbulence, the ride was very pleasant. The price was nice, too: $23 one-way to Chicago (for the 4:30 a.m. Lincoln Express).

The train cars themselves are about equivalent to a charter bus, with a little more legroom, and one amenity that was extremely awesome: every seat had two 120V electrical outlets! I could keep my work-provided power-hungry 15" MacBook Pro quite happy the whole way to Chicago :-)

HUGE Photos of Saint Peter's Basilica

Two images taken on Saturday at Saint Peter's Basilica - both were stitched together using two images from my Canon PowerShot G11 in Photoshop. Click on the picture link to view the photo page on Flickr, or click the download link below the picture to see the HUGE picture file!

The first shot shows the interior of the main transept of Saint Peter's Basilica, with the main dome, the altar, and the beautiful and organic baldaccino designed by Bernini:

Panorama - Saint Peter's Basilica Transept
Download this photo (HUGE)

The second photo shows the exterior of the basilica, along with the obelisk and much of Saint Peter's Square:

Saint Paul Outside the Walls

Saint Paul outside the walls. More pictures to come - I've now toured all the four major basilicas of the Church, but am quite tired. Pictures will be posted as soon as I'm able to get to them :-)

Saint Paul Outside the Walls - Palm Tree at Dusk

Picture taken at dusk, with the Canon Powershot G11 at ISO 80. Stabilized against a wooden post.

At the Salesianum Outside Rome

The Redemptorist's XXIV General Chapter is being held this year at the Salesianum, a retreat house / hotel/resort / convention center that is owned by the Saletians. The Salesianum is located about 30 minutes west of Rome's city center, and is set between some hilly farming areas and a major highway.

Salesianum - Side View with Palm Tree
Many beautiful Palm trees surround the Salesianum.

Also on the property is a beautiful field/hillside of olive trees; pictured below is a single olive on one of the trees. I spotted a pretty good variety of flora and fauna while walking around the property.

Touring Roma (Day 2)

Photos: View a gallery of photos from my 2nd day touring Roma.

Yesterday I again ventured out into the many streets of Rome, this time focusing on the Southeast corner of the city, and most especially the area surrounding the ancient Roman Forum and Colosseum.

But first, an image to show the craziness that is Italian power:

European Lightswitch and Power Outlet

These crazy little buggers are everywhere. It's always an ordeal to tell which way is on, and which is off, because in Italy, I don't know if there's any standard 'up is on, and down is off' kind of system. Also, most outlets are arranged with ground in the middle prong, with three across. Seems odd to me - anyone know the reasoning behind this? I know in America, our ground sticks out further than the hot leads to ensure a ground is made before the power is hot, but it doesn't seem to be the case over here.

Anyways, back to Roma...