A quick getaway was in the cards and Chicago was on my bucket list for the longest time. So the bags are packed- thankfully with my down coat and warm boots! Anytime is beautiful in Chicago but winter adds another layer of clothes and challenges. Although I may have been a bit whiny about the sub zero temps, the Chicago folks are not! They seem to hardly notice but, of course, they are so bundled up you can hardly see their faces. North Face must make a bundle here!
OK- no more whining-
My friend Gisela who is brave enough to drive to JFK airport NYC, picks me up at my door at 4AM and we are off. There is no traffic so its a breeze to speed over the Outerbridge Crossing in Staten Island. No problems on the Verrazano Bridge in NY either. We reach the parking garage within an hour and they shuttle us off to the airport for out flight on Jet Blue. Which by the way was quite a deal. $69 bucks each way! We are in the air at 7:15 AM reading our travel books and before you know it we are in the Windy City!
( BTW- Do you know why it’s called the Windy City? It’s not because of the wind-
“If you had always assumed that Chicago earned its nickname as the Windy City from the chilly gusts coming off Lake Michigan, you would be wrong. The city is windy, according to most local legends, because of the hot air bellowing from politicians.” )
So- we land and the pilot announces that the temp in the Windy City is ONE degree!
I nearly have heart failure but good thing I did not- needed the energy for the six block icy walk to the hotel.
If you want to save time and money, take the subway Blue Line to Jackson Station and then the Red line to Chicago Station from the airport. It’s about 45 minutes or so. And will take only $2.25 from your wallet as opposed to over $50 for a cab. But, if you are with rich famous people, a cab would be fine.
Our hotel, the Residence Inn on Magnificent Mile rocks! It especially rocks since I used my Marriott points and so it cost me nothing to stay for 3 nights! And to top it off, our room is ready at 10:30 AM! (normally a wait is in order till 4pm) I needed to thaw out since my fingers nearly fell off on way to the hotel. And yes, I had gloves on.
Since we bought a Metro Card at the airport- $20 for 3 days- Gisela and I are set and ready to head downtown. We take the #147 bus and decide on lunch and a much needed adult beverage at the famous Millers Tavern. A 1925 establishment that has great food and of course famous T-shirts.
After much nourishment, we are ready to ride the famous LOOP elevated rail around the downtown area. It’s a good way to get a feel for Chicago. We see Grant Park where the Skating rink is. I am amazed that folks are actually flying around on skates in below zero temps!
Next stop- we depart the subway and visit the famous Billy Goat Tavern:
Remember the Saturday Night Live Skit? Cheezburger, Cheezburger, Cheezburger?
Lights out early tonight! (after a Cheezburger, of course)