Chicago, baby

Last week I decided to spend the weekend in Chicago, as I had nothing else to do and I really wanted to get to know the city.
I told María about it, a Spanish political science student, I had just met one day ago during one of the orientation workshops. She told me that she had made similar plans, as Imad, a Spanish PhD graduate, she met on the plane on her way to the US, had invited her to come with him and another couple to Chicago. They had a spare seat in their car and small hotel-suite in downtown Chicago, so all I really had to bring was a sleeping bag.

The ride to Chicago was quite fun, even though we’ve been with 5 people in a rather small car, but this way we all saved on gas and money.
It took about 4 hours to get there, but then you gain one hour back, as Illinois is one hour behind Michigan. So we arrived early enough to get changed and go out for a drink in the Hyatt’s bar.
As we all were not a big fan of cocktails we decided to get a 106oz of beer to share for all of us, we got some extra attention. Especially from a ‘soccer mum’ in her early forties, having a special interest in Imad and trying to engage María and me. We decided to fool her a bit by telling her that Imad was the first Spanish man to ever enter the National Guard and now he’d have to leave to Kuwait. She not only believed all the jokes we played on her but told her friends about it, which ended in a rather delicate situation, when a former soldier approached Imad asking him where he would go, which platoon he would be in, and so on…

On Saturday we took a stroll through the city and Nave Pier, met up with Scott, a friend of Kelly and Matt and took an architectural boat ride on Lake Michigan and the Chicago River. It was very informative and the look at Chicago’s skyline was really amazing. Since NYC is missing the word trade center, Chicago’s skyline seems more appealing to me. From the lake we entered the river again, which actually flows backwards since 1900, when the flow was reversed to solve various health problems in Chicago.
Later on that day we went to a music festival, just outside the famous Wrigley Field and joined the big crowd dancing into the settling night. After some rather short stops in various bars we ended up in a piano bar, famous for the two dueling pianos playing songs as requested by the audience. I’ve never been in such a place before and I liked it a lot as it combines the feelings of a concert and a night out in a bar.

We managed not to sleep into Sunday too long, so that we had enough time for a nice breakfast at a corner bakery in the sun, a long stroll throughout Millenium Park and from there further south to the Aquarium. Unfortunately the line at the elevators of the John Hancock center was way too long so that we had to skip the nice view over the city.
But actually this is just another reason to return to this marvelous city…

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