the first night, we had to stay in a hotel that was near the airport because his test was the following morning at a testing center nearby. i had assumed that i would get up and walk around outside, find a good restaurant, see some things, etc. while he was testing. yeah, well......let's just say that the airport neighborhood isn't the nicest place in the world. chase forbid me from even going outside. not that i wanted to after passing the projects on the way in. so......that first day i finished one book and started another!! after lunch, he showed back up, and we packed it up and headed to downtown where we stayed for the rest of the time.
not a bad view from our hotel room!!
it was sunny and beautiful like this for one day. chicago is not a warm place, people. i wouldn't dare go visit any later in the year than we did. but, we did make the most of that one sunny, warm(ish) day! we did the architectural boat tour on the river. this was the number one thing that people told us to do, and it was really interesting! somebody wrecked and sunk a barge on the south fork of the river the day before, so that portion was closed, but the rest was pretty neat.
trump tower. it is curved to mimic the river, and it has different levels that are the same heights as neighboring buildings to pay homage to it's neighbors.
this building took up many city blocks. i couldn't even get it all in the frame!
we rented bikes that afternoon and rode along the lakefront trail.
lake michigan is beautiful. but as you can see, the sun was already starting to disappear. we rode north for a while, but it was starting to get cold riding into the wind. so we traded out bikes at a divvy station (you have to check in every 30 minutes at a station or get charged extra), and headed back south toward the navy pier. it was much easier riding with the wind!!
we got back on our bikes and headed to millennium park to find the bean. as we were crossing a bridge, chase made mention of the fact that there were no cars on it. either direction. as we got across and down to the street we wanted to cross, we figured out why. obama was in town for a dinner of some sort, and so we put our lives on hold for about 45 minutes while we waited on his entourage to pass by. see how happy i am about that????
nonetheless, we finally made it over to the bean.
and under the bean.
we were headed to the buckingham fountain, but from a distance we saw that it was dried up. they had closed it down for the year one day earlier, so we just waved at it and headed back to the trail for our trek back north. y'all. spin class doesn't prepare you for riding north on the chicago lakefront trail into 90 mph winds in 30 degree weather with no sun. i probably could have walked faster than my bike was traveling. after about a mile or two, chase got in front, and i rode about one centimeter behind him to try to avoid the wind. didn't help. the waves were huge at this point. they kept crashing over the wall, and i thought the husband was a goner at one point. my hands were frozen solid. and do you remember that scene in dumb and dumber where harry and lloyd were riding on the little scooter and snot was frozen to his face?? that's pretty much what it felt like. but we definitely got our workout in for that day!!
we did lots of walking around and eating. let's face it....that's why we go on vacation. to eat. chase makes fun of me when i take pictures of my food, so i didn't do it this trip. much. but this was a pretty cool little appetizer. candy bacon. and worthy of picture in my book!
we also had the obligatory chicago deep dish pizza. i can describe it in one word....gross. i don't know what on the earth those people think they know about pizza, but it doesn't even come close to lost pizza. or heck, pizza hut for that matter.
but we did have really, really good meals. our two favorites were tavern on rush where we both had filets that just melted in your mouth. i promise, you barely even had to chew!! and we found a cool, fancy, little italian place called prosecco where everything was awesome. champagne, imported cheese, avocado shrimp salad, calamari, veal.....look it up if you go. it was yummy!! we also went to EATALY. i could live in there. two stories of everything italian that you could ever want.....minus canolis. guess i'm going to have to go back to boston for that! however, the most unique dining experience belonged to the purple pig. they lay claim to "cheese, wine, and swine." you order one thing, they bring it.....you eat it, and then you order the next thing. they had these things called "smears" so we tried a few. the greek yogurt, sea salt, strawberry preserve and pistachio smear was my favorite (and i don't even like half of that stuff)!! they also had pig bones sawed in half that you could scrape the marrow out of with a spoon to eat. i passed. i didn't figure they wanted me to vomit on their floor. but, it's definitely a place to a try if you're ever up there!
we managed to see one broadway production while we were there. the million dollar quartet was fantastic. it is about the night that elvis, johnny cash, carl perkins, and jerry lee lewis got together for a jam session. the music was phenomenal. even the grandmas were up dancing in the aisles!!
the last day we were there, we went to see the panoramic views of the lake and city atop the hancock building.
(if you'll look at the lakefront trail in the previous picture, you'll see how the waves are crashing over it and understand what i was talking about above! the lake loses it's pretty blue green color on the ugly weather days, too!)
as i said, we did LOTS of walking. we walked the magnificent mile several times. i'm sure most people could do some serious shopping while there. i didn't buy anything. well wait, yes i did. i went to one of the best shopping destinations around, and i bought a pair of socks. i only took ankle socks with me, and when i felt that cold air, i realized i needed a warm pair of TALL socks!! i guess i made my contribution to the economy of the city through the restaurant business!
now we're back home and anticipating the next testing destination. i hope it's somewhere warm!