Here is the conclusion of our Chicago trip. You’ll never believe what happened on Day 3. Here’s a video clip to get you started:
Sadly, like any other city, there were quite a few homeless people on the streets. Too many! It is sad and it makes you feel bad. You wish you could help them all, but you can’t. Some just had their eyes closed sleeping, while sitting beside a cardboard sign with words of help. Some would just beg, but some were kind of like salesmen coming up with clever things ways to ask for money. As David and I wondered the street the evening before we went to the steakhouse, we came across a lady who had two small children laying up inside of a doorway trying to sleep against a building. The children couldn’t have been more than 5 years old. David and I both saw them, but didn’t say anything to one another about it. We kept on down the sidewalk, with pity and sadness in our hearts. There’s more to this story, keep reading…
Monday, April 27th arrived, our anniversary date. We started the day off by going to breakfast at the hotel restaurant called The South Water Kitchen. Of course, sticking to our Meatless Monday guns, we went meatless!
For my breakfast, I had the Egg White Omelet with asparagus, sun dried tomato and mushrooms and a side of mixed fruit and toast. I washed all that down with coffee.
David had the blueberry pancakes with lemon zest and yogurt, granola and washed them down with coffee and orange juice.
After we fueled up, we headed out a hailed a cab to Millennium Park. Our mission was to visit “The Bean”!
The Cloud Gate Sculpture, also known as the “bean,” is one of the highlights of Millennium Park. Designed by the artists Anish Kapoor, the Chicago the Bean sculpture is made of 168 highly polished stainless steel plates – giving the appearance of liquid mercury. Up close, the highly reflective nature of the sculpture captures the beautiful skyline of Chicago. The Cloud Gate Sculpture has thus become a tourist hot spot and is the perfect place to take your vacation snapshots.
The Art Institute of Chicago
After gazing at “The Bean”, we decided to visit The Art Institute of Chicago.
You could spend the next four years getting to know this encyclopedic institution, which owns more than 300,000 artworks and artifacts from all over the world and every era from antiquity to the present. Our favorite pieces include the Japanese prints, fragments of local buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright and the Thorne Miniature Rooms. We’re also in love with Renzo Piano’s light-filled Modern Wing, which is the perfect place to enjoy the Art Institute’s architecture and design collection, modern and contemporary art, and gorgeous views of Millennium Park.
Here are some of the world-famous paintings we were able to see:
INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO’S NEW EXHIBIT, “CHATTER” opened just a couple of weeks prior. I actually sent a Tweet, but I’m not sure where it ended up?
There was so much to see! I remembered many of the paintings from my art history class in college. We could have spent weeks in there! David says I am surprised at how much he knew about fine arts, but I’m really not. He’s smarter than he acts, except when it comes to trains. (I’ll explain that in a minute)
A Chicago Tradition Since 1949, Garrett Popcorn Shops® handcrafts every small batch of their gourmet popcorn daily. Their secret family recipe is handmade in old-fashioned copper kettles. Garrett Popcorn Shops® is famous for their unique combination of sweet CaramelCrisp® and savory CheeseCorn™.
After popcorn and enjoying the bright sunshine out of the cold wind that continued to blow in Millennium Park, we decided to make our way back to the hotel. We wanted to take a break and regroup before trying to fit in the Cubs Game that night. As we made our way back to the hotel, we came across the lady we saw sleeping in the doorway with the two children. She was in a different location than the day before. Perhaps they were trying to stay warm in the bright sunshine. David had already mentioned the night before that if we were to come across her and the children again, he was going to give her some money. We only walked a few steps away from them, when David pulled some cash out of his pocket and turned to give it to her. He tapped her on the shoulder and pushed the money into her hand. “God Bless You” she said. It was hard not to tear up. We only hope she was able to feed her and those poor children a nice hot meal.
Karma and The Cubs Game
We took quick nap, and recharged our batteries. It was pushing 6 p.m. and we needed to start making our way to Wrigley Field (1914), the second oldest ball bark in the USA, falling second to Boston’s Fenway Park (1912). To get there, our cheapest option was to take the “L” Train.
We walked to the train station and stopped to get our tickets to board the train. A very nice attendant helped us purchase round-trip tickets to Wrigley Field. We hopped on the Red Line and away we went. We got off the train at Addison and made a short walk to the ballpark. We got in line to buy tickets. Along the way there were ticket scalpers everywhere asking if we needed tickets. We ignored them and kept walking to the ticket booth. I was even starting to question the booth we were trying to purchase tickets from.
As we stood there a few more minutes, this guy walked up to David and said:
“Hey, are you waiting in line to buy tickets?”
“Huh?” David asked.
“Are you waiting to buy tickets?” asked the stranger.
“oh, yes we are,” David answered.
“Here, you can have these,” the stranger said as he tried to hand David a pair of tickets.
“What’s wrong with them?” David asked.
“Nothing is wrong with them. I’m giving you tickets,” said the stranger.
“Your giving us the tickets?” David asked.
“Yes, I am giving you the tickets. You can have them. We have an extra pair and we do not need them,” the stranger insisted.
“You’re sure there’s nothing wrong with them?” David asked again.
The stranger was getting a little agitated by all the questions and said:
“No, there is nothing wrong with them. I’m trying to do something good here.”
“Well thank you, man!” David exclaimed.
“No problem. Enjoy the game,” said the stranger.
David and I looked at each other in disbelief. We both thanked the stranger and the group of people he had come to the game with again for the tickets.
Did someone really give us free tickets to the game?!?
“What if they don’t work?” I asked David.
“Well, we are going to find out. If they don’t we’ll come back and get some more. Let’s go see if we can get in the gate,” David replied.
We walked to the gate. Security checked my purse. We approached the ticket attended and she scanned our tickets and said:
“Enjoy the game!”
It was a cold evening in Chicago and the wind coming in off the lake wasn’t helping. Neither was the fact that the sun was going down. Burr! In fact, it was so cold that concession attendants were selling hot chocolate and souvenir blankets! But it didn’t
matter to us. I’m not even a huge baseball fan, but between David, my cousins and some neighbors, I am slowly put surely becoming a ballpark fan.
We were bundled up like we would have been at a football game instead of a baseball game. None the less, we had a great time, but by the end of the game, I wanted to punch out the guy walking by yelling:
“HOT DOGS!! GET YOUR HOT DOGS!!”
As I mentioned it was Meatless Monday. Standing true to our pledge, we remained meatless on our anniversary in Chicago, at Wrigley field while a man taunted us with hot dogs. Damn him! Did he have to come by every 5 minutes?
David had a slice of cheese pizza from the concession stand and I got a large order of French fries, which were pretty cold by the time we walked back to our seats. At least peanuts are meatless! As a peanut farmer’s daughter, a girl needs her peanut fix!
The cubs won and we headed to the train station to go back to the hotel. There were many people waiting to get on the train and we weren’t able to board the first train out. David got in line where he thought we needed to go, but luckily my inner-compass took over and I realized at the last-minute that he was wrong and we needed to get on a different train. The train he wanted to get on was going north and we needed to go south back to the hotel.
Soon after another train came along, and like sardines, the two of us and hundreds of other folks piled onto the train. We got back to the hotel and packed up for our trip back to the mountain the next morning.
Morning came, and we finished packing up, check out of the hotel and headed down the street to the train station. This time we purchased a one-way ticket for the “L” train headed to Midway International Airport. Yep, a totally different airport and a totally different airline. You have to do what you have to do to get from point A to point B. Those travel sites are not always your best friend. Booking the hotel direct and using two one-way flights, all booked separately saved us hundreds of dollars, believe it or not…
Note To Self: Don’t let David on a train unless it is going to the right place.
After we got our train ticket and walked through the gate to wait for the train. We hadn’t even gotten settled nor gotten our bearings yet and a train pops up around the corner and slows to a stop. David was eager to hop inside, confused and questioning the move, I hopped on too. I didn’t want us to get separated on our way to the airport to catch our flight home. As soon as the doors shut on the train, I knew we had gotten on the wrong one. The train we boarded was a PINK line train, and not the ORANGE line train that we were supposed to get on to go Midway. I don’t know what David was thinking?!? And why the heck did I follow him? I should have held him back. Perhaps it was just too early in the morning? I surely wasn’t thinking clearly, but I didn’t want to separate either. We already knew what train we were supposed to take, but when the train doors pop open no matter where he’s going, he has to hop on it! I guess from now on, I’ll have to hold his hand back and jerk him back like a child…lol! Fixing our error was simple. We got off a the next stop and fortunately it wasn’t wrong before the next ORANGE line train came around to pick us up. We had a while before we got to the airport. Midway was the last stop on the Orange Line.
We reflected on our trip. What a great trip to The Windy City! Time sort of stood still for a little while, and we were able to have fun and relax. Going to a big city gives us balance. It’s crazy and chaotic. It is exciting! Living on the mountain is the exact opposite. It’s tranquil, calm and reflective. At times it can be exciting, but for the most part it is zen. Winter was not my friend this year and after having minor outpatient surgery, this trip was exactly what we both needed!
David we kind-of screwed up on the train, we still made it to Midway airport with plenty of time to eat a little breakfast, before boarding the plane to fly home from Chicago.
Our flight took off as scheduled and away we flew leaving Chicago behind and taking away wonderful memories of the city. There were a few things that we didn’t get to do that we thought about doing, but we left with no regrets. We’ll just have to go back again sometime. It gives us reason to go back!