Friday, September 26, 2014

An unplanned day in Chicago

In an earlier post I was heading off on the public bus to Hartford airport.  A two dollar trip to the airport?  Count me in especially as I had loads of time   I checked in and all was well until we were informed the incoming flight to Chicago was delayed.  So delayed in fact that I would have about 15 minutes between flights.  Eek!  I talked to the gate agent and she agreed it was too close especially when my next flight was at another end of the building.  So she first started booking me for overnight in Harford, 6 a.m. to Washington DC. then Toronto then home.  UGH!  I said can't I just go to Chicago and stay over...then I jokingly said "Paul McCartney is playing Chicago tomorrow night...could I possibly fly out Thursday morning".  She just gave me a "look" over her glasses - well you can't blame a gal for trying right?  I did manage to talk her into an evening flight out of Chicago.  They gave me three food vouchers and overnight in a hotel...I must confess I have bitched about United but they really came through for me. 

The flight went well and instead of madly dashing around the airport I collected my luggage and called the hotel number I had been given by the agent.  I got picked up by the Intercontinental van and off we went.  I walked in in my jean capris and felt sorely out of place but oh well..I soon got over it.   I took the elevator up to my room and here it was...

For someone who travels on a budget this was indeed a thrill.  I know some people stay in places like this all the time but not me.  I would rather take more trips and stay in cheaper cosier places than take one big trip and spend it on fancy hotels.  When I do stay in one it makes it extra special and exciting - especially on someone else's dime!!! 

I had a great sleep and in the morning I went down for breakfast.  I used all my vouchers on the breakfast buffet as it wasn't cheap but I knew it would hold me for a while.   The complimentary shuttle then drove me to the metro station...ha ha.  Well he meant to but forgot he was taking me to the metro and got into the wrong lane so dropped me off along the highway.  There were sidewalks but no where to cross - the lights did not coordinate for cars or people going straight across. (it took a couple of light changes before the light bulb went on in my head about that..)  So I had to dash across but luckily there was a boulevard half way.  Anyway I made it to the subway station and then fought with the machine to give me a ten dollar day pass.  Finally I got on the train and off we went to downtown Chicago. 

I got off at the Jackson station and proceeded to walk down towards the lake front.  First stop...Millennium park to see the Crown fountain...I never get tired of this place.  It was a beautiful July day and lots of children were playing in the water and shrieking their heads off with delight. 

One day I am going to let that guy "spit" on me too! 
Then it was on to Cloudgate...known locally as "the Bean".  Another sculpture I never get tired of...just so many ways you can photograph it!!! 

Looking up from the centre - so neat.

Then I walked through the park and down to the lakefront...normally I would do the 11 km walk here but I was too tired and too hot!!! 

A lovely walk! 
Next up was this beautiful fountain - I hadn't seen it in a few years as I believe it was being renovated the last time....the Buckingham fountain. 

After all that walking it was time for lunch so off I went to Giordano's for some stuffed pizza.  After all if it's good enough for this fellow it's good enough for me!!!

oooey gooey deliciousness
Stuffed with cheese with the sauce on top.   The small pizza with a salad and a pop was less than ten dollaras on a lunch special - can't be beat!!! 

I then headed out to find the nearest Garretts...the best popcorn EVER.  I had the Chicago mix which was caramel corn & cheese corn.  I got a HUGE bag - it barely fit into my backpack.  I did share...a bit....

Stunning architecture

Chicago river

Under the "el" 
 Sadly it was time to get back on the train to O'Hare but what a wonderful unexpected day in downtown Chicago. 

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