I don’t even know how to begin this post. My wonderfully fantastic girls trip to Chicago. Ugh. Although, some fun times, it was a little less than fantastic if we’re being perfectly honest here. Since my blog is about keeping it real, then I guess that’s what I should do. I think I just expected a fun little getaway to see a friend of mine that I hadn’t seen in a LONG time. She was in our wedding, and we were college buds, but apparently our separation over the years had turned us into being worlds apart. What was supposed to be a easy fun girls vaca, turned into a stressful mess that ended up being less than desired. But before I go on the record, I want to say that I did have some good times too, and if anything, I definitely had a moments of learning and growing over the weekend.
This was my first time in Chicago, so I definitely wanted to take advantage of the time there and soak in as much as I could that Chicago had to offer, while catching up with an old friend. Dan used hotel points and booked us a beautiful room at the Palmer House. After an early day of traveling from waking up at 5am, it was a nice site to see a beautifully decorated room and all the amenities the hotel had to offer. I was able to get a room quickly and go grab a bite to eat for the afternoon. Catie arrived about an hour later and she had our room changed to a suite. The husband of the family that she nanny’s for was able to upgrade us for free. It was nice, but either room would’ve been okay with me since they were both beautiful, just one was bigger than the other and I hadn’t planned to spend a lot of time there. The lobby, however, was Ah-mazing! It was something straight out of European Museum or Cathedral. It was stunning! The hubby definitely gets big points for picking an awesome hotel.
Catie wanted to go into her neck of the woods outside of town so I could see her place. I obliged, but quickly regretted it when I realized how much walking was involved. I’m normally not opposed to walking, but since it had been such a long travel day for me with waking up so early and walking all over the airport and metro, I wasn’t too keen on the idea. Nevertheless, I got to see her quiet neighborhood lined with old cute cottage style homes and we had dinner at a famous Chicago pizza place that Dan had recommended. It was Gino’s, but not the famous one with the graffiti. It didn’t matter though, the pizza was a yummy Chicago deep dish original, and I had no complaints.
The next morning we had planned to go on a boat ride for the local architectural tour. This was one thing that I heard was THE THING to do in Chicago. Not to mention that Catie and I went to Interior Design school together, and it just seemed like something that we both would completely dig. I loved hearing about all the different buildings and their influence it had on Chicago. It was a great opportunity to take some photos. I’m not sure if Catie really cared for it since she left shortly after the presentation and went downstairs to the lower cabin, but I loved it!
Afterward, we decided to roam the streets and head to a few local attractions. We went to see the Bean at Millennium Park, as well as a few of the other local attractions, and had lunch at a nearby restaurant.
After lunch, we walked around more, and headed towards Grant Park, but Taste of Chicago was going on down there, and Catie didn’t want to go to that, so we turned around and did some shopping instead. We found this super cute bakery along the way, as well a group of Mennonites who were singing. Then we headed back to the hotel to rest up a bit before heading to dinner.
Catie had made reservations at this über fancy farm-to-table upscale restaurant a little off the beaten path from downtown. Since she’s such a foodie, she’s aware of a lot of the famous chefs in the area, and this was one of them. I’m more of a good food, good atmosphere, and good conversation kind of gal. Not so much a super fancy restaurant, but this was nice for a change. The place was very small, white and contemporary with a huge bouquet of daisies as its focal point decor. It was nice of her to make a reservation to such a nice place, but boy was it pricey for the portion size! Of course with me being six months pregnant, I didn’t have any alcohol either. We had a nice yummy and very expensive dinner at Blackbird.
After dinner, I wanted to get some pictures of the city at night. We walked up to the Trump Tower a few blocks away, and there were some amazing views. The staff and hotel of the tower was wonderful. I really felt like royalty walking around the Trump Tower, and they treated you as such, too.
The next morning, it seemed that the “mood” between Catie and I had changed. We had a few conversations since my arrival that had rubbed me the wrong way (showing her character as being less than desirable) but now it had turned from a being a little indifferent to being quite humdrum.
I’m not sure if it was because it was my last day there, and I wanted to use my time to its fullest, and Catie was beat, recovering from her several glasses of wine the evening before, or what it was… but we had a little different idea of what we wanted to do to spend our last day together. She wanted to relax and enjoy the “suite”, and I wanted to go out and site see. She wasn’t budging on going anywhere at 9am, and she told me to go by myself… so go by myself is what I did. I went down to the Buckingham fountains in Grant Park. Unbeknownst to me, the entire park was actually closed, but I just walked in not even knowing that it was closed and got in to take some pictures before being approached by security. There were tons of vendors setting up for the day for “Taste of Chicago”, but weren’t due to open for quite some time. I had some time to explore the city a bit by myself, but hated that I had to do it alone because Catie rather stay in the hotel and “relax”.
We later checked out of the hotel, checked our bags with the bellman, and we agreed to do some shopping even though there was an apparent dampening of the mood. The rest of the time seemed to be awkward, and I just got the feeling that she just didn’t want to be there. We were both very competitive in college, but it was healthy then because it really motivated us to do our best and graduate with honors. Since then, we’ve taken very different paths in life, and I think that has pulled us apart a bit. I don’t know if it’s resentment, or what, but there is definitely something deeper brewing there that has led to some bitterness.
We got a cab ride to and from the Magnificent Mile, a famous shopping district where we shopped and had lunch (I got to enjoy some authentic Chicago hot dogs). There were beautiful unique gardens that lined sidewalks, and some neat architecture that was pretty note worthy. We also ran into the pizzeria Ginos that Dan was talking about, so I ran in and snapped some photos of the grafiti stained walls so that I could remember that I had been there to the “famous pizza place”.
Then we headed back to the hotel to pick up our bags and say our goodbyes. I was exhausted at the end and a little emotional from the way things had ended. I was experiencing some lower abdominal and round ligament pain from all the walking, unsupported belly and holding shopping bags. I was beyond ready to be home and in bed. Unfortunately, the subway wasn’t very I’m pregnant and exhausted friendly, and I had to lift and carry my roller bag down several flights of concrete stairs to get to the lower level of the subway. It was not my happiest moment, not the way I wanted to end the trip, and wondering if it was all even worth it.
I’ve learned in my almost 31 years of life, that some things just aren’t worth dwelling on, and as sad as it is, sometimes you just have to pick yourself up, move on.