Tuesday, 22 June 2010

We had a high old time!…

Isn’t it amazing how quickly routine takes over & it seems like a week away was just a dream!! Although it didn’t seem to be flying by while we were there, our visit to Chicago now seems like it was over in a flash! I’m just glad I kept notes of everything we did as I’m already having to think hard about just what we did do…& in what order!!! So if you’re ready…here’s part two!

Whenever Karen spoke of her visits to Chicago, she always said that almost everything she needed could be found ‘over the road’…from where she stayed in14Juneshop Skokie.   So after breakfast on a beautifully warm & sunny Wednesday morning…at Panera’s of course…we set off to explore ‘over the road’, which is actually the ‘Old Orchard’…a Westfield outdoor shopping mall. Karen was right! With a Nordstrom, Macey’s…..

…Bloomingdales, Tiffany’s, Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, Barnes & Noble & innumerable other smaller stores, fashion boutiques & restaurants, it really did have all we could need….except scrapbook supplies that is!!!!

DSC_0013_2JPG It was while here that I took time out to try & call the lovely Jocelyn, who had kindly entrusted me with her ‘phone numbers, so that we might talk while I was at least on the same continent! I tried & tried but to no avail! I have since learned that, as I was using my mobile, I should have dialled as if I was in the UK, using the US international code…which I didn’t!! So sorry Jocelyn…a very definite Blonde Moment!

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Once we’d had a taste of the ‘Old Orchard’ it was time to have a taste of cheesecake!! Our plans for the evening included dinner at the Cheesecake Factory at the Hancock Tower & we had been reliably informed that NO-ONE could eat TWO courses there!! So, not wanting to miss out on dessert, we had decided that for lunch we would have just cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory situated…yes you’ve guessed it…’Over the road’!! 

I chose Key lime pie, while Karen had Red Velvet Cake & Hilary outdid us both with the most amazing Belgian chocolate creation, which she actually couldn’t finish as it was soooo rich!! But as they say…”When in Rome…”  & she asked for the remainder ‘to go’…why don’t we do that at home!!!   

14June2010 031 After that humongous (but absolutely delicious!) intake of calories, it was time to venture downtown! Our first views of Chicago as we drove in were impressive…we’d not really appreciated them the day before in torrential rain!  Our first stop was to be a particularly good vantage point for a photo of the Chicago skyline. Karen remembered that it was near the zoo in Lincoln Park, so with Sat-Nav programmed for the park we set off! 14June2010 041Our Sat-Nav ‘lady’ must have got out of bed the wrong side this day, as she was particularly unhelpful…her last instruction being “make a legal U-turn”  followed by “you have reached your destination”…leaving us facing the wrong way on a dual carriageway somewhere in the Lincoln park area with no Zoo in sight!! After some insightful navigation by Hilary & brave manoeuvring by Karen, we did eventually find the zoo car park & with half an hour on the clock & 14June2010 049cameras in hand, went in search of photographic inspiration!  We never did find that particular ‘spot’ that  Karen remembered, but we did get some shots of a tiger…oh & used the loo!!  We only just made it to the exit barrier in time to avoid paying a $17 parking fee, which had as much to do with Karen sweet talking the attendant as with what the clock said!!

14June2010 055We headed off to find our way to the Hancock Tower, where we parked the car & came out onto Michigan Avenue. WOW!!…
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The architecture is striking…such a mix of styles & what appears old & new…so much greenery & here & there, discreet ‘public art’…IMG_0091I particularly liked this ‘tree hugger’ who’s body was covered in words…all naming parts of the human body…some of which would have had my boys giggling hysterically…enough said!

IMG_2804-1[1] There was a particular store Karen wanted us to see…a doll shop! Over three floors it has the store, where little girls can choose a doll to look like themselves…clothes to dress like her…buy any accessory you couldIMG_2802-1[2] imagine a doll may (or may not) need…a hairdressers & beauty salon for dolls, a hospital for injured dolls, complete with wheelchairs… & even a  restaurant where Mums & daughters can go to eat that had special chairs for the doll to sit at the table too!!
Now I was never a girly-girl as a child  & I guess having two boys does affect my point of view…but I just didn’t get it!!  It all just seemed so excessive & well..OTT!

But there you go…we are all different & wouldn’t life be boring if we weren’t?!!

IMG_2807-1[1] Once we had left the land of mini-me we made for the ‘UGG’ shop. I had a pair of boots on my shopping list & was soon sorted. Hilary had never so much as tried on a pair but was soon persuaded…& Karen never visits Chicago without buying a pair, so pretty soon the assistant had three sales to ring up & could not have been nicer!! He even brought us out complimentary bottles of chilled water & offered to capture the moment for posterity…  

14June2010 064 Retail therapy completed we headed off for dinner at the base of the Hancock Tower. We had anticipated a long wait, but were seated straight away…just as well as Karen started to feel a bit unwell. She soldiered on though & we enjoyed a HUGE main course…so glad that we’d had our dessert at lunchtime! IMG_0094
Then it was into the lift & up to the 96th floor!!!!

My ears popped several times on the way up & I swear I could feel the building sway the whole time we were up there…in fact our (rather grouchy) waitress informed me that it can move as much as 3 feet in high winds…gulp!!!

We managed to wangle a table by the window & it certainly was a long way down to street level!


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But the view was amazing…dusk was just starting to fall & we could see across the lake & watched as lights came on along Navy Pier & across the city. We had hoped to see fireworks, but for some reason they never materialised!  We ordered cocktails…I chose a ‘Skyscraper’…well it had to be done!14June2010 06914June2010 071 






It was Bacardi based with Cranberry juice & was absolutely delicious!

14June2010 078Before we left we visited the ladies room…& gasped! The best uninterrupted view is to be had over Chicago from there…the whole wall is just glass…no beams or struts to get in the way! There must have been a female architect with a sense of humour on that job!

The lift ride back down left our stomachs jolted & our ears popped, but it was worth it! After negotiating the l-o-n-g spiral ramp back down from the car park to street level Karen once again got us safely back ‘home’! Another jam-packed day under our belts! What would tomorrow bring?!!!

So that’s it for now…I must get on with the housework or Lee will never let me go away again!!! I have no excuse now that I’m over my jetlag…Ah well!!

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day!


Jocelyn said...

Oh Sandi...I just loved all the pics and the building are Magical!!!!! Cheesecake Factory is one of my favorites..but I don't go often...those calories will put you over the top!!

I was so surprised to see me....I so wished we could have connected...but there is always next time and maybe you all will come to visit us in my beautiful state of Maryland...we have oceans, mountains and the best City views!!!! Put that on your next visit to the States!!!

Thanks for sharing ...I so enjoyed it with you!!!

Lots of love sweet friend!!!

karen said...

I could kill a piece of that Red Velvet cake now.I'm starving.

scrappyjacky said...

That is the largest piece of cheesecake I have ever seen....though I do remember from our trip to Florida....everything comes in large portions!!

Denise said...

That cheesecake certainly looked yum and thanks for sharing- looks like it was a fab trip x

Sian said...

I am really enjoying this tour! Crate And Barrel? Ooh, I've come over all funny just thinking about it!

Yes, I'm all signed up for Shimelle's class. See you there, then?

humel said...

I am *green* with envy!! Lovely to share your trip vicariously through all your fab photos, though :-) So glad you had a good time! xx