Saturday, 23 April 2016

Chicago - America Adventure Part 3

My Chicago adventure started Monday April 11. I flew in from Dallas and landed in Chicago O’Hare airport at around 6 pm. The flight was two hours long, which is not too bad. I got a bit stressed before, because first I wasn’t assigned a sign and then I also had to ckeck my hand luggage, because the flight was full. I sat in the exit row and right by the aisle. I was fine and had more space form y face, but I wasn’t by the window L. The view on Chicago while landing would have been fab! Oh well... Both suitcases came pretty fast, so I take a taxi and arrived in the city around 7 pm. I checked into the hotel (Hotel Felix, small room, but great location and relatively quiet) and put everything in the room, before going down to the little cute hotel bar for some dinner. Then I went back to the room, because I was exhausted. I wrote some blog posts and did some reading.

In the morning I first went for breakfast at Starbucks, before heading tot he John Hancock Center. It was a beautiful sunny day, but freezing cold again. I felt like being back in New York, Dallas was so nice and warm. Anyway, I went up tot he observatory deck and enjoyed this magnificent view of downtown and the lake. The lake is very impressive, so big!!! Afterwards I took a taxi to Lincoln Park. There I first explored the zoo for a little bit and then went for lunch. I explored the zoo a bit more and then went on the Boardwalk, where the wooden pavillion is located. Such a fab construction and great for taking pictures. Another thing I loved about Lincoln Park was the view on the city. It would be wonderful to live close by, I think I would go running every day. The journey took me back downtown, to Bloomingdale’s to be precise. I browsed through the store, looked at shoes and bags. After that I went to Nike and bought new trainers, I’m in love with them. A little stop at Starbucks, before heading to Navy Pier. The pier is great, so long and full of diverse activities. And the views there are great. I then walked back to Michigan Avenue, bought some stuff at Whole Foods and Walgreens and then headed tot he Fig & Olive restaurant on Oak street. Now, this restaurant is special, because the main characters in Trivial Pursuits by Aven Ellis eat there in a scene, that was pretty special. And I have to tell you: the food is delicious!!!! I spent the rest of the night relaxing and writing blog posts. I did a lot of walking that day and was really tired.

I got up a bit earlier Wednesday morning, because I had my scheduled River Cruise tour at 10 am. I had some breakfast at the hotel and went to Starbucks for a coffee. Then I walked down to the river on Michigan Avenue, it took me not as long as I thought, suddenly the river was there, surrounded by beautiful buildings. I then went down to the dock and waited for the “First Lady” cruise to arrived. It was a nice and sunny day, so perfect to sit outside, I was able to chose my seat and then the cruise started. There was a volunteer talking and explaining us everything. He was great, he knew a lot and was funny at the same time. Chicago really has some amazing buildings and it’s a mixture of styles, which makes this city so unique. After the cruise I went to the Blackhawks store (read my hockey post, f you wanna know more) and then down to Millennium Park. It was time for lunch and my travel guide recommended a great Sushi place, called “cool sushi” and it was indeed very good. Afterwards I headed to Millennium Park and explored it, of course I spent a long time by “cloud gate”, this great silver bean/stone, where you can see reflections of the city. Such an awesome thing, absolutely fabulous for pictures of any kind. I then looked at the rest of the park and got a coffee in Starbucks. The journey took me to the Shedd Aquarium with my coffee in my hand. It was such a long way to walk, but definitely worth it. First of all, you have a great view of the city from the outside and the aquarium itself is wonderful as well, full of unique and special animals, some cute, some huge, some disgusting, some scary. I also enjoyed a 4D movie, it wasn’t my first (Aquarium in Vancouver), so I was a bit prepared. When I was done at the aquarium, I walked all the way back to the hotel, this time I walked right by Lake Michigan, which was windy and cold, but so worth it. I bought some dinner at Whole Foods and spent the evening at the hotel room, eating, watching TV (Homegate TV and hockey), packing and reading.

In the morning I was woken up by housekeeping, who knocked on my door, at 8 am. They came again at around 9, which I think is weird, cause I was checking out later anyway. Well, I got ready and packed all my stuff and checked out. I left my luggage at the hotel and then got a coffee first, before exploring the shops on Michigan Avenue. First I went to Tommy Bahama in Nordstrom building and I finally found the shirt for my dad (golf related), I also bought something for my mum. Then I went to the “jewellery and watch” section at Nordstrom and bought a Kate Spade watch, so in love with it. Afterwards I had lunch at the Nordstrom café, very cute and also good. Starbucks was my next stop, before going to Nordstrom Rack and Anthropologie. At Anthropologie I bought a little scented candle, some cards and a little planner. I will probably use the planner next year for my blog. Then it was almost time to go back the the hotel, I spent a few minutes in Bloomingdale’s and then walked to the hotel, picked up my luggage and took a taxi to the airport. I actually think it was an official driver from the hotel and he was the nicest guy ever. He definitely gets the prize for friendliest taxi driver on my trip. His family has Swiss connections and he told me a lot about Chicago and the surrounding neighbourhoods. There was a lot of traffic, so it took us quite a while to get out there. Luckily we left early enough. I quickly put the things I bought in my suitcase and then checked-in. I was very surprised, when I saw that my suitcase was not too heavy. I was a little scared and it just felt so heavy, it was 22kg in the end. I went straight to security and it didn’t take me long to get through at all. My bag had to make a turn and go through the scanner twice, don’t know what she has seen. I bought some water and snacks and then went to the gate. The flight was scheduled on time, but boarding took longer and they were waiting for one more document. Well, in the end we left 45 minutes too late. They also said that we will fly longer and arrived late. And we did… 45 minutes late. Take-off was special, because it was right at sunset and I saw the city from far away.
On the plane I first practiced the lyrics for the musical and then wrote some blog posts. Then it was time for dinner, after dinner I watched Brooklyn and then tried to sleep. I think I slept for around 1 ½ hours, which is not too bad for me, normally I cannot sleep at all. Then it was time for breakfast and landing. The 9 hours passed really quickly, which was great. At the airport in Zurich I was greeted by cow bells and Alphorn sounds in the train from terminal to terminal. Passport check took quite a long time, lots of people arriving at the same time. Luckily and then didn’t have to wait for my suitcase, went through customs (Yes, I paid) and my dad was waiting for me. I unpacked the whole suitcase the same day and tried to stay up. I went to bed at 10 pm, which is good, I almost fell asleep while eating dinner, but I started doing something again and then I was fine.

Chicago is an amazing city, I fell in love with it immediately. Lincoln Park, Millennium Park, great views, river, lake, Michigan Avenue and so much more. I could definitely imagine living there and that says a lot. I will definitely come back and then I plan to see a Blackhawks game!

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