Gimme two slices of Chicago.
Trip Start Jun 05, 2011
16Trip End Jul 22, 2011
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This installment finds the dynamic duo (soon to be the fantastic four) in Chicago - The Windy City... Hope you enjoy!
Day 22 - 27 June 2011:
We touched down in Chicago around 4pm. It was so good to finally be over our airport ordeal... It felt good to put that nightmare behind us.
As we disembarked we kept an eye out for Emma and Mike who had arranged to pick us up at the airport. Sure enough we were greeted with big smiles and it was time for a very quick catch up with Emma and a quick introduction to Mike.
For those that don't know, Emma is one of Shelly's long time friends from school in Cooma who now lives with* her partner Mike in America
*Note: Technically Emma doesn't live with Mike. She stays at his house every night, and has most of her stuff there, but her books are at Aaron and Victoria's place so she is "living" there. Just to clear that up...
We grabbed our luggage and loaded up Mike's car. Mike chauffered us to our hotel on the Magnificent Mile. We were staying at the Congress Plaza Hotel. It was a nice hotel and showcased the Chicago architectural style.
After freshening up, we took a walk in Millenium Park across the road. We saw "The Bean" (actually called Cloud Gate... thanks Google) which is a big, shiny, metal sculpture. We also saw a huge ampitheatre where a concert was going on with lots of families sitting on the grass chilling out.
"I thought it was San Francisco where they chilled out on the grass...?" - Shelly Nowland.
We continued our walk along the Magnificent Mile and saw many more sights
After our strenuous walk we decided to refuel with dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. We all had fantastic meals with a highlight being the avocado egg rolls (Great choice Mike). These would definitely be one of the best appetizers we had. After all stuffing our faces with our delicious, big, meals we couldn't even fit in any cheesecake... oh the irony. We'd be back though.
On the walk home we stopped in at O'tooles Irish pub for a few after dinner drinks before retiring to the hotel for some Aussie moscato as a nightcap. A great first afternoon and night!
Day 23 - 28 June 2011:
After a nice sleep in we all got up and had a great brunch at a place called Yolk. We needed a good feed because we had a big day ahead
We took off toward the closest El train station. El for elevated, rather than the subway. After buying tickets we boarded the train heading for Wrigleyville. Wrigleyville is full of bars, restaurants, and shops all revolving around Wrigley Stadium the home of the Chicago Cubs.
Shelly, not being content with a Cubs hat, decided to head to the merchandise store and load up. Emma tagged along with Shell, while Mike and I had a beer in one of the bars. So there was about 20 or 30 rowdy Cubs fans and then me with my dorky Giants hat on... I managed to avoid a bar fight, unfortunately (that may have made this entry more exciting).
We met back up with the girls and saw Shelly's new Cubs gear including singlet and a big foam finger. Now we were the ultimate odd couple. Shell and Emma managed to track down the Cubs mascot so of course a photo had to be taken.
The atmosphere was electric. We headed into the game along with another 49,996 people (approximately). I had to remind myself it was 1pm on a
"Wow, can you believe it's 1pm on a Tuesday afternoon?" - Shelly Nowland
Yes Shelly, I just said that.
The game was really cool. The Bud Light flowed a little too easy and we had Chicago dogs in the seventh inning stretch - "Oh, take me out to the ballgame!". Wrigley Field is one of the oldest (or the oldest?) ballparks in America and it certainly has some character.
The Giants ended up winning by a lot but even though the game was a blowout it was still really fun and good to share our first baseball match with some great people. It was nice to hang out with Mike too...
After the game we went to one of the bars close to the ballpark. For some reason, I can't remember the name. The bar was packed and there was a cool guitarist/singer there entertaining the crowd. They also had a promotion happening for Batch 19 (a Coors Beer) and we
made friends with the promo guy, got a few free samples and a t-shirt
each - we liked this pub!
After a few drinks (Batch 19), the crab dance made it's first appearance in the US. They lapped it up and I soon had a contingent of crab soldiers at my beck and call
Turns out one quick way to get rid of crabs is to starve them out. We were all pretty hungry and as it was getting late we left the pub in search of dinner. We came across a pizza joint. We all ordered a slice of pizza as a "pre-dinner snack" to tie us over before we found a nice place to eat back in the city... Mike ordered two. Little did we know these pizza slices were about as big as a standard pizza... The photos don't lie.
Full of pizza we jumped back on the El train and made our way back to our hotel, no more dinner was needed! I may have high-fived some people along the way, but the evidence of that is inconclusive.
Well, time to hit the hay. We'd be off to Grand Rapids tomorrow!
Day 24 - 29 June 2011:
Today would be our final day in Chicago. We got up early to head out for breakfast at a place called the Bongo Room. What a great brekky
After brekky, Emma, Shelly and I went to Starbucks across the road while our chauffeur picked up the car. Thanks Mike :)
We drove over to the Sears Tower (now known as the Willis Tower). This is the tallest building in the western hemisphere and the views did not disappoint. On the observation deck they have three perspex boxes that extend out about a metre or so from the building. Very scary but such great views!
After the Sears Tower, we said goodbye to the windy city and the fantastic four hit the road destined for Grand Rapids. Seeya soon!
Stedman and Oprah.