Saturday, 16 April 2011

Hello Chicago...

And we're done in the Windy City. While Chicago didn't earn that title for its weather (that's right, fact fans), it doesn't mean the wind don't blow in Chicago. It blows and it blows cold. So cold, in fact, that you need to go back to your hotel room for more clothes. Not that you'd guess from these pictures.

Yep, we lucked out with the weather. It was freezing on Tuesday, nose-burningly warm on Wednesday, and freezing again on Thursday, but the sun shone for us most of our stay.

On the Tuesday, after getting breakfast in Whole Foods, we shivered our way up to Oak Street Beach where you can look right across Lake Michigan from Lake Shore Drive. A lake by name but it may as well have been the Atlantic Ocean to my eyes - it goes on for miiiiillles. And, as Chicago resident David Schwimmer told us on our multi-media tour of the John Hancock Observatory, Lake Michigan is larger than the states of Delaware and New Jersey combined (well, he didn't say exactly that but I can't quite remember and this is still true). That's big.

Speaking of the John Hancock building, here's the view. 

Pretty special. And my favourite part of our stay in Chicago (apart from the tacos in Lincoln Park, but I'll get to that in a bit). David Schwimmer's audio tour was great. A little Chicago education via headphones. Plus I hadn't watched Friends in approximately three days, so that made up for it...

We also went to Navy Pier (alas the Ferris Wheel was closed, along with a lot of cafe booths, etc, for the season) and Millennium Park to see Cloud Gate aka 'The Bean'.

On Wednesday, we made use of our sporks (yus!) and had a taste of home with Dorset Cereals, rode the El line and saw the station where While You Were Sleeping was filmed (the pic below is a station or two away from Randolph but whatevs), saw the Buckingham Fountain at Grant Park, walked along the lake shore in the sunshine and ate our body weight in tater tots and battered pickles.

On our last full day, Thursday, old man Gasson and old bird Rice had sore hips from all the walking. So we got a Red Line up to Lincoln Park and strolled the zoo and up to Oz Park, which is named after Lyman Park Baum, the writer of The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz and a Chicago resident. Lincoln Park was really nice and chilled, the quiet streets lined with red brick houses and weather-boarded buildings. And it was home to the incredible Taco Joint. Mmmm-hmmm. The tacos were $3! Criminally cheap. Best guacamole I've ever had. If the Mexican food in LA lives up to this then we are onto a winner. (The last picture is a beaut to show just how good that corn was.)

After a quick stop to see Wrigley Field and have a car pull over to tell us, "You do know the Cubs suck? White Sox are down south!!" (first-hand experience of the two Chicago baseball teams' rivalry, awesome), we went to the Art Institute Of Chicago (free from 5-8pm) before having a thin crust pizza at Giordano's - not a patch on Lombardi's in New York, btw.

So that was Chicago. And now to Ann Arbor, Michigan on the Amtrak Wolverine. Choo choo!

Footnote: We're actually in Ann Arbor now. Hi!

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