Words cannot adequately describe how impressed we were with Chicago. W had mentioned the Chicago Jazz Festival months ago but other events and commitments popped up and we had decided we would delay the visit and maybe plan for next year. Then, wouldn’t you know it, an impromptu change of plans found us boarding a plane for the windy city bright and early last Friday to spend an amazing Labor Day weekend in a city unknown to either of us. We will go back next year, God willing. It was a fantastic adventure from beginning to bittersweet end.
We decided on the plane that rather than taking a taxi to our downtown hotel, we’d take the subway. The “L” seemed like a great idea so that we could get that real Chicago feel and, man, did we. The subway takes you through the Chicago you see in movies and the passengers were…colorful? Diverse? I’m really glad we went that route, despite the gum from the seat in front of me that somehow found its way to my laptop bag. Despite the masses of Cubs fans who packed the subway like sardines (and by the way, props to the loyalty of the Cubs fans who are presently at 60 wins and 79 losses for the season. Rays fans, we should emulate their enthusiasm!). Despite the out of tune, static filled concert we were prisoners to while waiting for our train. Despite all of the inconvenience, I’m glad we took the L train. Good stuff.
After a quick drop off of luggage in our room on the 33rd floor and an even quicker power nap, we were off to investigate the city and I’m happy to report that we shoved more in 3 days than I ever thought we could have ~ armed with a Chicago tourist book (thank you, Josette!) and little else, we hit the pavement. The most amazing thing that happened on Friday? Our good friends, Toni and Ken Ynes, spotted us in a city of 3 million people. How utterly unbelievable is that?? And while we stood there on a busy street corner, sharing our opinions of Chicago, W spotted a lady from the “L” that he had helped earlier that morning. She had been nervous about the different stops on the train and showed him an email from her daughter that said “Don’t be afraid to ask for help, mom.” She picked the right guy in my husband ~ he reassured her and calmed her down. When she recognized us, she came over and gave us a big hug while her daughter stood there, mouth gaped, wondering why on earth her mom was hugging strangers. Wow.
Millennium Park was incredible even without the jazz performers but when you throw in great music, cool weather and a park full of enthusiasts…well, it was the perfect end to our first day in Chicago. Here are just a few of the pictures…
More tomorrow…. have a blessed day, friends!