Saturday, October 22, 2011

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

This morning, Mark and I hopped on a plane to Chicago to celebrate our anniversary. (Just want to give a big shout out of thanks to his parents for braving a 9 hour drive to come take care of four kids and a dog...)

We left around 8, and arrived here around 9:15. The plane ride was fairly uneventful. However, some things don't ever change. I do not like in any form or fashion flying. And my ears may just now (12 hours later) be slowing down on the "popping" sound.

From the airport, we hopped on the subway/train which is underground only part of the time. So I am not sure if it is a true subway.

We hoofed it by foot a few blocks and finally arrived at our hotel. Of course, it was way too early to check in. So we dropped off luggage and headed down the street. Michigan Avenue that is.

I have to admit, when Mark told me we were going to Chicago for our anniversary, I didn't jump for joy. It wasn't that I doubted we would have fun. I have fun with him wherever we go. It was just not what I had in mind. Yet, we were walking down Michigan Avenue and I just opened my mouth in awe. Amazing. The skyline, the buildings, the history. Amazing.

At this point, it was almost lunchtime. So we decided some Chicago pizza was in order. Our first stop:

We had heard amazing things about this place. I don't think I have ever had true Chicago (stuffed) pizza until today. Here is a picture of me waiting... (We had to wait outside, order our pizza, then half an hour later, we were called to our table...)
Here is the pizza. I caught Mark taking a bite. We just got plain cheese, but there was nothing plain about it. WHAT an amazing meal! I am sure there are many other adjectives for it but "amazing" works for me. It will take everything I have not to go back the next two days. I. Want. More. (The really bad thing is I just found out they will ship a partially baked pizza to you...and it isn't overly outrageous. Hmmm....) Sidenote: The shipping is outrageous. Drats!
As we walked back to the hotel, we were awestruck by this sight...

I loved our walk over the river. I can't imagine the whole river being green in March. Too fun!
Of course, gotta get an arm straight out kind of pic of the two of us...
Mark joked that I will need to start an album for "birds of Chicago". I wanted to take a pic of this for my students.
When we got back to our hotel, it was finally time to check in. Here is the view from our room. The man who helped us get our luggage out of storage heard our room number and told us we had a great room with a great view. He also told us it was a wonderful place to watch fireworks later in the day...
We thought we would check out the museums. We didn't have a lot of time but thought a few hours would be a nice start. Except the line was REALLY long. And we decided to walk along Lake Michigan instead.
This whole park area was beautiful.
Yes, another one.
A walk by the lake
Here is a picture of the aquarium as we walked away from it. The crane is actually lifting a boat or two out of the water. They were partially sunk. I overheard someone say there had been big storms recently.

Yes, another bird. Aren't their heads beautiful?
Here is a view of our hotel from the Lake.
Isn't it just amazing? And the pictures don't even show it all.
The famous Marilyn statue...
After a WHOLE lot of walking, we decided to take a walking break. We hopped on a river taxi boat for a little bit.
Our water taxi took us to the famous Navy Pier which reminded me a whole lot of Pier 39 in San Francisco. Except there were no sea lions. Or Alcatraz. Or ocean.
There were some beautiful sights though, like this sailboat as it passes by the sunset...
We loved watching these two boats pass each other.
Yes, yet another bird. I can't help myself.
Reminds us of a pirate ship
We took some girls' (as in their early 20's) pics, so they took one of us.
Beautiful sunset sky
We loved this lighthouse. It just looked so...not sure what the word is. Regal.
Our marriage is "anchored" in love. :) (Feel free to groan...)
Here is a view of Chicago from the back of Navy Pier
And another view
After our walk around the pier, we hopped aboard a bus that took us to Union Station. There we hopped aboard another bus that brought us to our hotel.

A few things to remember from our Chicago Getaway (Day 1):
It is so much cheaper to buy a pass for the Metra than to take a taxi. SOOOO glad we did.

I should have brought tennis shoes. My footsies are aching.

We somehow ended up driving through a "demonstration" (against corporations, government, and whatever else...). Since then that demonstration has moved across the street from our hotel. And their chanting is a bit annoying. I just want to go to sleep.

People have been very friendly.

I will never get used to the beggars on the streets. It is hard to not want to help them "all" though I saw the money some were bringing in. Maybe I should consider a career change. :)

I love visiting the city but I don't think I will ever be a city girl.

We do miss our kids and our dog (won't say which more :), but they are frequent topics of conversation so we don't miss them too much.

Oh, and the fireworks? They were a beautiful sight from our hotel window. They were shot off the Navy Pier over Lake Michigan. And I sat in my warm hotel room and watched. A beautiful way to end the day!

I think that is all for now. I better get to sleep so I will be ready for another big day tomorrow. Hoping hubby feels better; he wasn't feeling so great a bit ago.


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