Happy Holidays everyone!!
I was lucky enough to get to spend the start of my Christmas Break in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri with my family and my boyfriend's family. This situation is a little unique because, spoiler alert for those of you who don't know, my boyfriend's brother is my sister's boyfriend as well. It's a weirdly wonderful situation that creates memories like this. It was a perfect way to start break and leave the stress of finals week behind.
We left on Friday afternoon, hoping to arrive in KC in the later part of the afternoon. However, the weather had other plans. What was supposed to be a three hour drive from Omaha, turned into a ten hour drive, one minor car accident, and finding a new appreciatin for gas stations in the Middle of Nowhere, Missouri.
We thought we had beat the winter storm that had been forcasted, but, unfortunately, we were wrong. It was a non-stop rainy drizzle that quickly turned the road into a sheet of ice. Semis were stranded, big trucks thought they ruled the road, and cars slid on and off the pavement. We tried rerouting our drive, but the county highways were worse than the interstate. Even my dad's 4-wheel-drive truck was of no use.
We finally made it to a gas station where we were able to re-group, re-fuel and grab some food while traffic picked up speed again. From the gas station to our hotel in Kansas City was only 64 miles, but it took us a total of seven hours to finish the rest of the drive. The running joke was that my boyfriend, Luke, who had just come back from Chile the week before, was able to make the flight from Dallas, Texas to Santiago, Chile, faster than we were able to get to Kansas City from Omaha. (I swear to you this isn't an exaggeration.)
Needless to say, we were a little bit more than excited to FINALLY have reached our destiation around 10 that night. One of the main attractions downtown is a series of structures called "The Links." Essentially, it's a construction of man-made tunnels that connect hotels, resturaunts, shopping, and tourist attractions together so that people don't have to go outside. (A major life savor in the winter.)
The hotel we stayed at, The Sheraton, is part of "The Links," and is one of my favorite places to stay. I was there this past summer with my boyfriend and his family, but that was nothing compared to how decorated they make it for the holidays. It's a beautiful builidng, and a sight for sore eyes after a long day of traveling.
One of my favorite things about this hotel is the view from the club level on the 40th floor. It's a perfect view of downtown and more. Even the cloudy days couldn't take away it's breathtaking quality. It's an amazing view to look out at in the morning with your coffee.
My favorite thing about Kansas City is a tourist attraction called, "Union Station," and it was actually the whole reason we made the trip. It was a real train station built in 1914, and after years of neglect and floods, it was decided that it should be renovated back to it's original state back in 1999. It's abosluting awe-inspiring to see on any regular day, but it's incredibly gorgeous at Christmas time. I wish my pictures could do it justice of just how massive the building is.
They deck the whole thing out in red, and gold, and play old-timey Christmas music. It's nice because it feels like a hidden gem of KC, so while there are tourists, the place doens't feel like a corporate ploy to make money off the visitors. In fact, to tour the building and all of it's shops and mueseums is completely free. There are fancy restaurants to eat at, and all different nooks and crannies visitors can roam around in. Some even say it's haunted, but I have yet to experience that.
My favorite thing about the building is it's ability to transport you back in time. They have the original benches you can sit on, and the building doesn't close until midnight. The best is going there around 11 p.m. when the majority of people have left and just sitting and listening to the music. You can only imagine how many people's lives were changed here, and how many hellos, goodbyes, and tears were exchanged between people coming and going to where ever they needed to be; at Christmas time it's even easier to feel the magic.
This is the main area where all of the benches and people are. The photo was taken at night which is why there aren't a lot of people. This is by far my favorite place to sit and think at night when it's quiet and all the tourists have gone home.
In the end, we got to spend a full day exploring Union Station, shopping, drinking coffee, and, my favorite, opening Christmas presents. We had to cut the trip a little short on Sunday because we didn't want to push our luck with the roads again. I'm so blessed with the people who were on the trip with me, and I think we all agreed that we will be going back next year, but maybe without the 10 hour drive. Hopefully, you're all feeling the magic in the air that I felt as Christmas quickly approaches. Merry Christmas and Happy holidays!
I do on the off hand occasion get to exercise my love for wanderlust. All stories, info and pictures will be published here.