Heather and I just visited Chicago for the first time earlier this week during our Spring Break. We left at 6:30 A.M. on Tues. the 1st and got back in town at 1:30 early, early Thursday morning. It was a great, quick trip! A little background on why we decided to go. About a month ago we attended a couple’s retreat and were encouraged to “go on some adventures” as a married couple. So about 10 days before we left for Chicago, we had decided to go to Chicago, namely to watch the Cubs play, but also to experience the city of Chicago. So we got tickets to the Cubs 2nd game of the season, and planned our great adventure.
We left early with our lunches packed and headed from our home in Nicholasville, KY to Chicago. We passed through Louisville, Indianapolis, and countless other little towns and cities throughout Kentucky and Indiana. When you enter Illinois from Indiana the first sign you see is not a “Welcome to Illinois,” but a sign warning you about the traffic jams. It was with that grand entrance that we were welcomed to Chicago.
Before we left, I told Heather that I guaranteed that we were going to get lost, and that while we were both going to be anxious about a. not knowing where we were, b. not knowing the very few roads that we know will get us to where we need to be, and c. Frankly being in a big, scary city, that we need to keep each other calm. We did a pretty good job of staying calm and finding our way around.
Our first stop was the Shedd Aquarium. A gorgeous, huge aquarium that was its own world. We saw dolphins, beluga whales, lots of fish, sea horses, crabs, sting rays, and well this list can go on for a while, but I won’t. It was just neat to be in a beautiful environment that was different than our normal one, and being able to see the beauty of God’s creatures. The creativeness of God never ceases to amaze me, and neither does the creation of different habitats that provide nourishment for those creatures and how only in those habitats do these wonders of the world survive. Cool stuff.
After we left the Shedd aquarium, we decided to do a driving tour of Chicago. We went North on Lake Shore Drive on a cloudy day with Lake Michigan to the East of us. A neat drive, and also an introduction to the increased pace of Chicago drivers. Everybody seemed to be in a hurry, while we were trying to soak in the sights. As we made our way up through Chicago, we saw a sign for Wrigley Field, and I got my first look at Wrigley. It was beatuful to see this stadium that I had seen thousands of times on television, to now see with my own eyes. To see the classic Wrigley Field sign, the statues of Harry Carey and Ernie Banks, and just to be in Wrigleyville that was great. We headed what I thought was East towards Lake Shore Drive, but instead we were headed North on Clark St. This was one of those mistakes that you make that happen to be a blessing. We had already seen the tourism area of Chicago, Shedd, Navy Pier, Art Institute Area, now we were seeing the Indy Local flavor of Chicago with countless unique stores and shops on both sides of Clark for at least a mile. We rolled down the window for some of the trip and “the sounds of Chicago,” which included a man yelling at himself, constant chatter, and of course numerous horns. Our next stop was “Uptown Chicago” and the maginificant Mile or the millionare mile with the highest end stores you can imagine in tall buildings with numerous expensive looking suits and blouses walking up and down the sidewalks and across the streets. They did not seem overly oncerned about the thosands of cars and cabs on the road. The pedestrians owned this street, and they were not yielding to anyone especially a tourist like me. Actually, pedestrians owned every street in Chicago, one guy even crossed an interstate, yes an Interstate Highway. Heather will tell you I almost hit 5 pedestrians but it is more like 3. Finally, we went to Chinatown, where I got honked at while Heather took a picture. I think I only got honked at twice on Tuesday, pretty good in my book.
That evening we went to Downers Grove, just outside of Chicago, (Students if that name sounds familiar its because it is the home of InterVaristy Press for all your bibliography needs) for dinner and to rest for Wed. We ate at Giordano’s for dinner and had some famous Chicago stuffed pizza. It was a delicious dinner. They will send you a pizza through the mail, we may have to take them up on that offer. (It was also here that I learned that Sean Sutton had resigned. I hope we get Bill Self, but I don’t put our chances at that happening very good.) My only disappointment in the first day of our trip to Chicago was not getting to see the statue of Michael Jordan at the United Center. The Bulls played that evening and we did not want to get involved in that traffic. Needless to say, after a long day of traveling and sightseeing, Heather and I got a great night of sleep.
We woke up the next day to a chilly, sunny day. I had been praying for 10 days that it would not rain in Chicago, and I don’t know if that is why it was sunny, I like to think that God answered my prayer and the game was on as scheduled. Before the game, we went to Lou Mitchell’s a great breakfast joint in downtown Chicago that has been there since 1923. They handed us Donut holes and Milk Duds as we walked in and gave us complimentary ice cream before we left. (You read that right, complimentary ice cream for breakfast. Yes, it is kinda strange, and yes it is a wonderful idea. I strongly encourage other breakfast places to serve complimentary ice cream before I leave. I will eat it and leave a better tip.) We then somehow made it to Wrigleyville, and found a place to park for free and experienced a Cubs home game. (Don’t worry I’m saving a whole blog for that experience) Anyway even though the Cubs lost, we had a wonderful time, and then spent the next 1 1/2 hours trying to leave Chicago. We eventually made it back home early, early Thursday morning, and slept walk through work that next day.
All in all it was a wonderful trip. I like to tell people that the only thing that wasn’t great about the trip, was how the Cubs played and the traffic, but that is part of experiencing Chicago. It truly was a great adventure and we made some great memories while we were there. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. We need to enjoy life! We need to celebrate and sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” We need to see the beauty of God’s creation. We need to go places we don’t know and see if we can make it out alive. I guess that’s why they call it an adventure.