The first memory of my trip to Chicago began with the greeting of Uncle Al. There he stood, both hands in his pockets standing askew to the baggage claim. He displayed a half smile, and we reiterated the action.
Our bodies were far too achy from our three hour plane trip from Tampa to do anything more. I could already feel the breezy Chicago air as travelers walked in and out of the automatic door, yet I continued to stand waiting for our bright colored bags.
One. Two. Three. Check.
We were headed out to the parking lot to a white Honda. Inside were four ball caps, one for each of us. I picked up the White Sox cap and placed it on my head. I didn’t know much about the team, but just wearing it made me feel at home.
We drove to our downtown hotel, The Park Hyatt. It stood 20 floors over the city, yet it was a baby compared to the other buildings in the area. Our room was on the 14th floor, a decent height, yet we could still hear the hustle of the city throughout the night.
Sirens, especially, sounded off every half hour. However the noise did not disturb me, for the view of the city was far too wonderful. Sometimes I just sat by the window and watched the people go by with their heavy Nordstrom’s bags or chocolate treats from the nearby Hershey’s store.
On Al’s self- run city tour, I decided that I would visit every store on Michigan Avenue. Starting near the hotel at HM, I would walk my way up to the Gap, only about a 30 minute walk. My brothers, Josh and Matthew already began to sigh.
They were more interested in going to the Museum of Science of Industry and the Field Museum. The museum gift shops were the only stores they wanted to go near. We did however have one goal in common, and that was to try a dish of the famous Chicago Pizza.
Off we were to Gino’s on the second night in the city. I pushed through the heavy revolving door into the restaurant. Graffiti filled the walls with names of hundreds of previous visitors. Our waitress gave us a marker and we joined in the fun. I left my mark on the stairs, the wall, and a Chicago Blackhawk’s insignia. I am not fond of the Hawks.We ordered a vegetarian pizza and it was delivered to our table an hour later. It was worth the wait. A medium sized portion filled all four of us and our leftovers could most likely feed two of the homeless people we passed on our way there. After the food and a stop at Starbucks for tea, we went back to the hotel to call it a night. \
The next morning we decided to take a scenic tour of Chicago would be beneficial. Stuck in downtown, the only landmark I could recall was Water Tower Place, a seven story building that lived through the Great Chicago fire. It was close enough to locate from our hotel room. Al, Being the Chicago expert, suggested we take a boat rather than an ordinary bus tour. The Wendella boat ride was hot and sunny, yet a few bottles of refreshing Pepsi kept us going. The hour long tour carried us to places I never knew existed. We journeyed through the Chicago river as well as the cool and breezy Lake Michigan. We passed some colleges downtown, as well as office buildings, homes, and apartment complexes. I thought to myself, this is the type of community I would love to live in. Everything was nearby, shops, restaurants, and museums. I would gladly trade in a car for the opportunity of walking around the bustling city.
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