I actually got some sleep! This hotel may have been expensive, but it was worth every damn penny! I know I am on a budget, but I can’t believe how much better I slept in a nice hotel. It’s not like this is five star luxury, but it’s comfortable, quiet, pet free and clean! Guess I better not get used to it though. I’ll be back to budget when I leave Chicago.
Staying near the centre also meant I could walk into the city. I had already planned to get the hop on hop bus bus around the city, it was so easy in Dubai! First task was however to walk to the bus. Walking to the bus was cool, I got to see a lot of ‘real Chicago’ walking though blocks of apartments and residential streets. People doing non touristy things like exercising and walking dogs. It was all really clean too!
To get to the bus I walked over an overpass and though a large green area. Within this area was Soldiers Stauium, a huge stadium dedicated to the armed forces. It was huge!
After Walking for nearly an hour I finally found the bus stop. Phew.
My first stop was Navy Pier. A huge building which houses a load of different things. The building also had flags on the top, which included two rainbow pride flags. First pride flags I have seen on a building. I like Chicago already! I walked right to the end of the pier, past a children’s museum, bars, restaurants, boat tours, a pirate ship, ferris wheel, an indoor maze and even a rolling Stones exhibition! At the end of the pier were even more American flags mixed with pride flags.
Back on the bus, the route took us down ‘miracle mile’ basically a shopping district full of designer stores. Not caring much for the shops, I got off the bus and walked uo the street just to see the buildings above the shops. Beautiful. A mix of modern and historical. The guide on the bus explained about a huge fire which devastated the area, so everything other than the old water tower had to be rebuilt. I wandered into the Water Tower for some lunch. I finally found salad! I have never been so happy to see salad. I filled a bowl from the buffet, and had a mini stroke when I was told it was $15!! I was just so happy to see food that was not beige I didn’t care!
The bus then went past the John Hancock Centre, down toads lined with beautiful buildings, along with some not so beautiful, the McDonald’s for one. Back over the water to the next stop.
The Trump tower is the second tallest building in Chicago, and with its design sort of looks like a tiny Burj Kalifa. Walking back over the water I headed into a chocolate shop called Ghirardelli. With my bus ticket I got a free chocolate. It was good! I think this hocklate would have even passed mums exacting chocolate standards. There was also a river flowing though the area, with water taxis and tour boats. No time for those though, off to my next stop!
I have wanted to see the Willis Tower for quite some time. Once the tallest building in the world. There is also a skydeck at the top, Well you know me, tall building; must go up! The sky deck is 103 storeys up and looks over the whole of Chicago. On a clear day you can see over four states, and today it was pretty clear! The view from the top was awesome. There was also ‘the ledge’ which is a glass structure spanning about one Meter away from the main building with a glass floor. So of course I jumped on it. Oh, I was warned before I entered the queue was going to be an hour. Which after the Burj Kalifa experience I knew would mean queuing for an hour to come back down. The queue was no where near that going up. Even stopping to watch a short film on the construction, it took less than 20 minutes. The queue coming down however was a different storey. The queue was already around the inner perimeter of the building when I got up there! So u was naughty. I slid into the queue while a family were engrossed in there phones. Bad I know, but I was on a time limit, the busses were going to stop in an hour and a half!
My next stop was back near the waterfront. Millennium Park is half built on land created by the rubber of the great Chicago fire. According to the tour guide anyway. They didn’t know what to do with the wreckage, so they dumped it into the lake, expanding the city. The park was great. Inside it was the Jay Pritzker Pavillion designed by Frank Gehry. Next to that was what looked like a giant jelly bean, with a mirror finish. Really random piece of art, but I liked it.
There was one more reason for this stop. It is the official end of Route 66! I walked a couple of blocks one found the sign. Just a small street sign on a lamp post. Nothing special, no fanfare, just a sign. I guess that’s how route 66 started on Santa Monica pier.
All down the road were people handing out free bags of malteasers. They are introducing them into thee USA. I didn’t realise they didn’t have malteasers here! I of course grabbed a bag from everyone I saw. Then one of the guys asked where I was from, said he lived in London for a while and gave me a whole handful of packets. Result!
Back on the bus again! There is one thing that has to be done while in chicago; a proper Chicago pizza. I asked the tour guide the best place to go, he said a place called ‘Giordano’s’ back at Navy Pier. Back I went!
As I got there I was told a table would take 45 minutes! Really! Then I was told the pizzas take 45 minutes to make and cook! One awesome little plan though is you can pre order, so your pizza is cooking while you wait for a table. No need to wait twice. With aching feet I was not willing to walk anywhere else! So I waited.
Chicago pizza is interesting. It is more like a pie. It was good, but I could not cope with the fact the cheese and toppings are underneath and the sauce is on the top. Think I’ll be sticking with what I know.
Well my feet were killing me, and the hotel was a good 5 miles away. Taxi!
Back at the hotel I am exhausted again! Hopefully an early night I can catch up on all the missed sleep.
I love Chicago Dad, I know I keep saying it, but it’s one of my favourite cities. The atmosphere, the cleanliness, the architecture and buildings, everything is just amazing! I wish I could stay longer, but another day on the road tomorrow!
Night dad x