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 in 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!!!!
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!
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!!!
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! Our 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 & cameras 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!!
The architecture is striking…such a mix of styles & what appears old & new…so much greenery & here & there, discreet ‘public art’…I 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!
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 could 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?!!
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…
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!
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!
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!
It was Bacardi based with Cranberry juice & was absolutely delicious!
Before 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!