One from the Vaults: Postcard from Chicago

I sadly haven’t visited Chicago since 2016. So here’s yet another trip down memory lane.

I’ve recently returned from the Windy City, my first visit there since February 2007. You’re probably thinking, hmm not the best time to visit Chicago. I agree, but I was with my beloved who was attending a Dental Congress while I played hooky at a number of art and architectural museums.

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I love the architectural melange in Chicago, not as built up as New York, with plenty of old buildings in the centre interspersed with skyscrapers. It’s a town you can “see” in a week-end providing, like me, you’re prepared to pound its pavements – or should that be sidewalks?

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The Chicago skyline owes much to Daniel Burnham, architect of the Flatiron building – one of my faves – in New York, who sought to create Paris on the Prairie in Chicago, and Mies van der Rohe whose buildings are all over Chicago, if you know where to look.

My first port of call was a bookshop. I knew I had plenty of room in my suitcase for at least three more books. I’m rapidly building my collection of vegan cookery books. After my breakfast of avocado on toast at a nearby restaurant, I spent much of the morning in the bookshop before heading up the Magnificent Mile to The Art Institute of Chicago. I visited The Chicago Architecture Foundation and the Museum of Contemporary Art on subsequent days.

My beloved was busy with meetings all day long but free in the evenings leaving us to explore Chicago’s excellent restaurant scene on our own. Lest I get homesick, we stayed at the Sofitel, where I got a great deal on booking.com. Over the years we’ve stayed in a variety of hotels in Chicago but the advantage of working for yourself means you get to pick where you stay.

We’ve eaten at a number of Chicago’s long-standing restaurants such as Morton’s – where I once tussled with and defeated a 3lb lobster – and more upscale establishments such as Alinea and Charlie Trotter’s, the latter sadly closed after the chef’s demise. There are plenty of fish and Mexican restaurants where I could feed my love of shellfish and spices – just hold the butter, mayo, sour cream and cheese!

We arrived in a snowstorm but thereafter the weather was unseasonably mild. I still recall my first trip to Chicago, back in the early 90s. It was so cold I felt as if my sinuses were freezing. At times, the cold wind whips off Lake Michigan making it feel so much colder than the numbers on the mercury. Even so, on that trip I spent a very pleasant Sunday in Oak Park, exploring historic homes, including those of Frank Lloyd Wright.

I also found time to feed my beloved’s new found addiction to Lululemon sportswear, adding to the collection we started for him in Australia. That man has so much sportswear – swimming, golf, windsurfing, tennis, cycling, gym – he could open his own sport shop!

I’m not normally much of a shopper. Twice a season, I’ll go through my wardrobe, toss out the overworn, unworn and unloved and make a list – what else? – of what needs replacing. I’ll then go out and buy them, preferably in one fell swoop.

I have been searching for a new pair of jeans for some time. My problem in France is that they love the extra skinny legs which don’t fit my arms, let alone my legs. I favour what they call the “boyfriend” style but don’t want them pre-ripped, overlong or over wide. I tend to find the US, where I’m miraculously two sizes smaller than in France, and Germany, fertile hunting ground, though I had struck out last year in New York.

In Chicago, I chanced upon a pair which fit perfectly and indeed a few pairs of other trousers which also fitted the bill. Add in a couple of jackets and tops and that was my summer wardrobe sorted in a couple of hours – perfect!

 

33 Comments on “One from the Vaults: Postcard from Chicago

  1. All your visits to Chicago are more recent than mine. I grew up in a nearby suburb (Evanston) but haven’t been back since my father died in 1989.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s been even longer since I was there last…1983! I only had a day there so we hit a few museums and the aquarium. My son is getting married not too far from there this summer and I hope to get to Chicago for a day after the wedding wraps up.

    I didn’t think there would be such lovely doors, and stone buildings there! I don’t recall seeing any way back when.
    I may go purse shopping while in Chicago and pick up a nice souvenir myself. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not sure why the Dental Association chose February for their annual meeting. They probably get a deal for choosing this cold dreary month.

    I advise people coming in mid-October when the Chicago Architecture Foundation hosts Open House Chicago when hundreds of architectural gems, many private buildings, are open to the public.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sheree, I call Chicago home and has been all my life. Today is a typical March day, high near 70, but snow forecasted for Sunday night. You are right. Chicago is a fab city.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When I was a kid I would have soccer tournaments in Chicago and I’d always get so excited to go downtown and go shopping. Now that I live in NYC I hate shopping, go figure haha

    Liked by 1 person

  6. With the rising level of Lake Michigan, Chicago has enormous drainage problems. The city was built on a poorly drained swamp, eventually the entire downtown was raised, a drainage system devised that depended on outflow to the lake. At times now, the lake flows into the city.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I thought at first you must have posted this minutes ago, as it is not yet April 3 (4-3-22) here, but after looking at the dates on the comments and getting VERY confused, I finally remembered that you write your dates differently from the way Americans do it.
    Ah, wind! Brrr! I can take the cold, as long as I’m wearing enough layers, but wind is a deal-breaker for me.
    I’m with you when it comes to shopping. I just got back from my semiannual trip to the mall, which I wouldn’t have done except I was with my granddaughter, and that’s her “thing.”
    Sounds like you enjoyed your trip. Visit us (U. S.) again soon. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, as far as I’m aware, only North Americans do month-day-year. This was a repost from 2016 so a re-visit is definitely due.

      Like

  8. Great article, planning to visit Chicago next month for the first time. I was wondering if I should rent a car, or if public transport and uber would suffice like New York.

    Liked by 1 person

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