Sunday, September 20, 2009

Chicago Vacation 2009

A couple weeks ago Zach and I took our first real vacation since our honeymoon. On September 10th we took off for Chicago!

I've been to Chicago a bunch of times for school and with friends. Zach had never been. I was actually a little nervous that he wouldn't love it as much as I do, but after just a few minutes walking around downtown, he quickly fell in love too! We had such a great time!!

We got in fairly early on Thursday and took advantage of the check in early option at the Palmer House, where we were staying. the hotel is gorgeous! I've stayed there before in a gigantic suite for school, but this time we ended up getting the non-remodeled teeny tiny room I pictured in my previous post. We didn't mind though, since we knew we'd be out and about all day anyway.

The weather was great when we got there, so we wanted to take advantage of it and go on an Architectural Tour first. We took our time and slowly meandered down to Navy Pier. It was quite a hike, but neitherer one of us minded since it was so nice out. Oh, I should mention that I'm pretty sure I broke my little toe the night before we left. It was completely swollen and disgustingly black and blue. However, by some miracle it didn't hurt to walk on it! I totally lucked out. I was just stuck in cheap-o flip flops all weekend instead of comfy tennis shoes I planned on wearing. I made it out OK. We got to Navy Pier and wandered around a bit before having lunch at Charlies Ale House where we had a pepper jack chicken sandwich and fries. It was just ok. We decided to do the Seadog speed boat tour. It was a combination 50 minute tour down the Chicago River to see all the awesome architecture and then a 25 minute speed boat ride out on Lake Michigan. It was so fun! We got tons of great building pictures, but I won't bore you with those. It was a great way for Zach to see Chicago for the first time and we both learned a lot! Afterwards we wandered back to our hotel in "Chicago Rush Hour" which just means masses of people walking around. It's just SOO different than KC. We were totally jealous.

After a short nap we got up and headed out to dinner at Giordano's for some true Chicago deep dish pizza. I'd really hyped this place up and we were since it was getting pretty late. We started with some garlic bread and then finally got our awesome pizza. Oh my goodness, it was so good! Zach is what I consider to be a "pizza snob" and is pretty picky. He loved it so much that he wants to order some online and have it shipped to us for his birthday! Ha! They really do it too, we totally might take advantage!

While we were at lunch on Thursday I randomly thought to check to see if the Cubs were in town by chance. Zach's a huge baseball fan and most people know that Wrigley Field is one of those places that you "have to see". Turns out they were in town and there were tickets available! So we decided to forgo a couple of the museums we were going to go to and take in a game instead! You have to take the subway to get to Wrigley. I've been on the "L" many times, but never the subway portion. The subway is just as I'd always imagined it would be. Dark, dirty and slightly scary. At least it was daytime. Wrigleyville is pretty cool! It's so.... Old. The scene was really neat with a ton of bars and people selling stuff. We each bought a tshirt and then had a frosty beverage at one of the bars. Our seats for the game were really good too! The stadium is pretty much the opposite of Kauffman. No video screens, no bells and definitely no whistles. Oh, and the fans actually pay attention and cheer! Amazing!
After the game we took the train back downtown to do some SHOPPING!!! Yay! I'd been telling Zach I really, really, really wanted to go to H&M and like the fabulous husband that he is, he didn't fight me on it and actually made sure we left time to do so. We really need to get an H&M in Kansas City. It's so fabulous! I guess Forever 21 does the same thing with trendy clothes for cheap, but the quality isn't the same. Anyway, I tried on pretty much everything in the store and walked out with 3 new shirts and some bracelets. I held myself back. We also went to Gap and I got a bunch of stuff there too. After making Zach suffer, we headed back to the hotel for another nap before dinner.

That night we wanted to go Portillo's for an Italian beef sandwich. I've had takeout from there and it was yummy, but I'd never eaten there. I did not realize that it is technically "fast food" Oh well, we ordered at the counter and enjoyed every last bit of our huge sandiwches. So good! That night we wanted to stay out a little later so we headed to Murphy's Pup which was located right next door to our hotel and I had some wine and Zach had some beers. I kid you not people... Johnny Depp's estranged brother or someone that REALLY was trying VERY hard to look like Johnny Depp (ala pirates) was sitting across from us. I'm still convinced it was him (becuase how cool would that be?!) but Zach wouldn't even entertain the thought. Whatever, it was him. That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Saturday we got up early and headed out to the Shedd Aquarium. I let Zach pick what museum he wanted to see and that's the one! It's actually one of the few I haven't been to, so I was excited. On the walk over there we stopped at Buckingham Fountain to get a few pictures. Zach thought it was neat that it was the "Married With Children Fountain", however I've never seen the show, so I'm not quite sure what that's all about. It's a huge ass fountain, that's all I know!
The Shedd was cool. I mean, I can only look at fish for so long, but there were things that were fun to see. The sharks were not as scary as I though they'd be, sea lions stink way more than I ever imagined, penguins are cute, anacondas are disgustingly huge and we got to see a beluga whale get an ultrasound! Cool!

As it started getting closer and closer to 1:00pm I noticed Zach getting really antsy. It was time to find someplace for lunch where we could watch his beloved Nebraska Cornhuskers play football. Bennigans it was! Ha! I will say that my burger was freaking amazing though! After I finished eating, I set out on my own to do some more shopping. There were a few stores close to the hotel I'd wanted to explore. I didn't buy anything but a couple pairs of earrings though. It was nice to walk around by myself and take my time window shopping. Zach ended up watching the game until haftime and then headed back for a nap. When I got back I took (another) nap and then it was time... to get ready... for the U2 CONCERT!

We met up with some friends who were also staying at the Palmer House for some drinks before and then we tried to take a cab to Soldier Field where the concert was. We got a few blocks and quickly realized that traffic was not going anywhere and we'd be better off just getting out and walking. And walk we did. So many people! And holy lord, Soldier Field has GOT to be the worlds most bizarre looking stadium on earth. I'm not sure what they were thinking when that rennovation went on, but wow...weird. Even Bono commented during the show that it looked like a UFO had landed.

We got there in the middle of Snow Patrol's set. I wasn't too upset about missing some of it, but they actually were really were good! It seemed to take forever and five years to change the stage over for U2. We had fun people watching though! At one point I started getting hungry so I sent Zach off for a pretzel and he returned not only with my pretzel, but with a Soldier Field edition U2 tour shirt! YAYYYY! I was so excited!! Mega points for him! Finally the show started and whoa baby. I was NOT disappointed! Amazing. Seriously. Amazing! The stage was unbelievable. Bono has got some pipes on him! It sounded even better than the albums! What a show! I shook my booty off and even sort of reluctantly sung along when asked to (note to rock stars: I pay to hear YOU sing, not a bunch of fans. Ok? Ok.) It was such a great time. They played almost all my favorite songs! We definitely got our money's worth, thats for sure! For some reason I didn't bring my camera, but snapped a few with my cell phone that turned out halfway decent. However, these don't even come close to betraying the awesomeness.Getting back to the hotel after the show was quite the feat! Nearly 90,000 people were pretty much trying to get out of ONE gate. Luckily everyone seemed to be in really good spirits and took it in stride. A few people started jumping the fence and that was pretty funny to watch, but we are good eggs and just waited with the herd. It took about an hour and a half to walk back to our hotel. Our feet were killing us! Totally worth it though. Totally worth it.

By Sunday we were getting pretty tired. We checked out and stored out luggage at the hotel so we could go to the Sears Tower. Zach had really been looking forward to it! I am afraid of heights so I was pretty nervous, even though I've been there before. However, now they have added some really stupid glass boxes that protrude from the building that you stand in, so there's just glass on all sides, including the bottom. I was not amused. Zach loved it though (of course!). I reluctantly took pictures...

After that we decided to eat a quick lunch at Qdoba and then head back to the airport a little early. Three hours early. Big mistake. I was so bored!!! Ugh. I was happy to get home and see my doggies though. I missed them tons and they missed us.

So, overall it was a great vacation! I think we both really needed it and I'm glad we got a little break. We go to Vegas for Thanksgiving to visit Zach's dad. I'm not sure how much sightseeing we'll do, but I'd like to see the Hoover Dam if possible. We'll see. I know we are goin to see The Beatles Love the day after Thanksgiving and will be staying the night at Bally's. Other than that, I'm sure it will mostly be family togetherness. We shall see.

Until then Zach and I are currently dreaming about packing up and moving to Chicago. Or just waiting until we win the lottery and buying a multi million dollar condo for the the summers :)


Amy said...

Ohmigosh, looks like you had an awesome time! Remember our Chicago fiasco in college? We went on the same architectural tour! :) Ah memories....

Stephanie said...

Yeah Amy! Zach probably got really sick of my constant "when Amy, Cindy and I were here...." stories. Oh my! What a trip!

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Greenwood, Missouri, United States