I awoke to the most beautiful day. The sun was bouncing off all the buildings that surround my view and the sky was bright blue. I was completely inspired to do some site seeing, so I had my cup of coffee and started putting on my layers of clothing.
The Cloud Gate (commonly called the “bean”) was completely breathtaking. What made my visit even more special is that I have seen pictures of this work of art in the summer and when I went there it had a cap of snow on it. It was stunning! There were lots of people taking pictures and selfies with the Cloud Gate, myself included, but what really impressed me was going under the Gate and standing right in the middle of its architecture. I stood looking straight up at the centre and let out a deep exhale. This beautiful work of art almost felt organic like it was alive and breathing, like it was looking right back at us all. To know that this came from the vision of a gifted artist made me think of my own life and how dreams and visions always reach their fruition in its due time.
Unfortunately, I didn’t wear the proper headwear so I had to take as many pictures as I could before I returned to my hotel room. I saw a Starbuck’s but for some reason I just didn’t feel like it…now that was just weird typing that!
I stopped at a bigger Walgreens across from Millennium Park and picked up some cereal bars, gatorade and a bowl of fruit. I guess this trip is also turning into a complete cleansing…and I can already feel myself changing and moving organically with it. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
I managed to sleep in today, I even told the hotel elves to come back later cuz I forgot to put the sign on the door. I opened my huge hotel drapes and saw all the snow flying around decorating and frosting the buildings with shimmer. It was really pretty to see, but it pumped my breaks on my To Do list. I had intended on finding a shopping mall because my minimalist packing limited my outfit choices, so instead, I jumped right back into bed.
I was going to eat some of the oatmeal I bought at the Walgreens, but I didn’t have a spoon and kept procrastinating to simply call the concierge. I opted to drink the complimentary coffee, watch YouTube videos and do a bit of writing.
I finally dragged myself out of bed around 4pm, then decided to check out the hotel restaurant, Chuck’s. It was very classy but with a hint of sports bar. They sat me at a table for 4 which I found hilarious, then sat a group of 4 guys in a booth behind me. I could feel them staring, but I remained focused on the job at hand…to finally have my first hot meal in Chicago. I was surprised to find out that it is Chicago restaurant week where all the Chicago restaurants promote together and charge full meals at $22, $33 and $44, this trip just got even more intriguing.
I ordered an Asianic salad which had apples, watercress, candied walnuts and blue cheese…my thoughts…it was very fancy looking but I had to cut pieces of lettuce. My entree was Organic Chicken with risotto; it came with a leg and a breast a little less than average size, but the seasoning was beautifully done and the chicken melted in my mouth like butter. The risotto was very nicely done, it could have used another 5 minutes for a more even texture, but again the flavour stood out the most. Next, was my dessert…I had to laugh out loud because it was like a carnival on my plate… cotton candy, macaroons, cupcake, caramel corn..literally carnival food. I ended up taking it back to my room.
I guess I was recharged with the great food so I decided to adventure through the hotel floors to see the memorabilia. I think I may have broken an elevator going up and down to random floors..oopsy…so I took the stairs for the last couple floors. My last discovery was finding the Prince display. Now, I have been in love with his music and talent since I was a kid so I had to go back to my room as I felt my knees get weak with nostalgia. I saw his shirt and his guitar and I melted. I actually debated taking a pillow and blanket and sleep beside the display!
I had a nice deep sleep last night and intended on sleeping in, however my internal alarm clock had other ideas. Thanks to the complimentary Keurig, I had my morning coffee and drank it as I people watched from my window sill. I was ready to go back to bed, but I was encouraged to venture out and get familiar with my surroundings. I’m glad I did because downtown Chicago is a beautiful place.
I walked around, bought some breakfast food and gatorade from the Walgreens on the corner, very nice and helpful people there. I proceeded down the street with people and life whizzing passed me. I stared up at the beautiful buildings and got a sense of history. I couldn’t help but smile as I walked among the crowds, under scaffolds and caught glimpses of old fire escapes that trailed up the old buildings. I wanted to do more walking around, but I hadn’t eaten since before I left Canada, so I stopped and got a sub at a Subway.
I went into the Hard Rock Hotel store to check out the merchandise. (sigh) I wanted to buy one of everything! They had a guitar signed by all the Bon Jovi members and I decided to ask the store clerk a couple questions. She’s a young girl but she was so down-to-earth and since she is born and raised in Chicago she had lots of information regarding what great things there are to see. She recommended the Field Museum, which I’m totally down for, and named a couple local Irish pubs and fun bars. She was adorable and knew so many things that brochures can’t possibly mention.
I will go and chat with her again while I’m here. I just love meeting new people and laughing about how much you have in common with them. I’m still debating on whether I want to go for a drink in the hotel bar later, but I’m chalking this day up as an absolute success!
Yes…I have finally made it to my Chicago destination and I couldn’t be more happy! How was my trip…well…let’s just get into it, shall we?
When I booked the flight and found out I’d have to wait for 3 hours, I was kind of annoyed. I went through all the hoops that TSA and Customs put me through. One, they took me into a back room and went through my things, EVEN my journal and two, they were asking me questions like: “Why are you traveling alone? Why do you want to go to Chicago? If you were still a financial advisor would you advise your clients to take vacations like this?” Like really?! THEN, he told me that since I haven’t been to the U.S. lately that I only have 10 days here, then I’d have to leave or I’d be in big trouble. Did I miss something, why can’t I stay longer? Is it because I’m Canadian?!
Well, after the search, and them making a shambles of my packing job, I was ready to get the big scan done. The agent scanned my ticket and the airline had me on the wrong flight. I had to go all the way back to stage 1, then come all the way back, by this time there were hordes of people. I got a line exemption and because of all the commotion they didn’t scan my laptop and iPad correctly. So rescan it went…
I made it to my gate and found out that my flight was delayed for an hour. During my wait, I made friends with the pilot and the premenopausal flight attendants. I kept asking the Captain about his closet and if it was as big as they portray it in the movies. He showed me his closet…it wasn’t that big at all. Actually, the whole plane seemed miniature. Most of us had to check our bags right at the plane doors because there wasn’t enough room in the overhead compartments. There was a lot of turbulence, but the only thing that freaked me the hell out is that one person would cough…then another person coughed…then a woman threw up…then the guy beside me started sniffling… I thought I was in the worst kind of death trap! All I could do was close my eyes and practice my calm breathing.
I was picked up in a beautiful Cadillac Escalade and the driver has 20 years of history of living in Chicago and he told me all these amazing restaurants I should visit while I’m here. I got myself checked in and the room is beautiful, high ceilings and perfect view of the city.
Now, despite all my hassles I must say everyone from the officers to agents to the flight attendants were amazingly professional and they dealt with every situation quickly and efficiently. All in all, I learned a lot about traveling into the U.S. Mostly… to visit more often!
There’s something about the feel of you that eases me when I grip you in my hand. You ease my mind, you are my voice, you know my most intimate thoughts. I hate to admit, but I feel I am lost without you. I have strayed from you, with so many yet to you is where I always turn to.
There’s just something about the way you shine in any kind of light. You light up my world when I see you in another one’s hand. Yet I feel protective of you, I feel nervous for you as I see another enjoy your smoothness. I can’t wait to have you in my grasp. My fingers are meant to be around you.
I know our fate is only temporary before we must inevitably say goodbye, forever. But know this… I will enjoy you to the bittersweet end. My secrets will die with you and I am at peace with that.
Above, I have decided on trying the “roll technique” for this travel. I still have to pack up my makeup, but there’s plenty of room for my makeup and another pair of shoes, plus some extra space for souvenirs as my boys are HUGE Chicago fans. Now, I don’t care what anyone says, minimalist travel is hard as hell to pack. I’m a woman who loves the freedom of options within my own dressing room…so, challenge accepted and after switching out a few outfits, my suitcase now looks like clothing sardines!
Since I won’t be in Chicago until after 9:30pm, I can already predict that I will be sleeping for like 2 days. The hotel concierge team has been so amazing I can’t rave enough about them! I hope they will let me take pics of them, like the true tourist I intend to be. 🙂
Next, on the list for tomorrow is have my camera checked.
I was so excited packing and unpacking last night I lost track of time, the evening coffee didn’t help, didn’t get to bed until around 3am and I have a meeting in the early afternoon! Whew!