Monday, June 25, 2012

Chicago-Day 1

I arrived at O'Hare at about 8 am yesterday and my first challenge after retrieving my checked bag was to navigate the public transportation system from the airport to my hotel in Lincoln Park.

I used the trip planner on the ChicagoTransit Authority (not the record, the actual CTA) which had me take the blue line somewhere, then a bus to the hotel. I think for the return, I'm going to see if I can keep it to trains only. I bought a 7 day CTA pass which I've already made good use of.

After checking into the hotel, which I was able to do at 9:30 am, I grabbed some breakfast and scoped out the immediate area which has a Trader Joe's across the street, a choice of two different Walgreen's, a Dunkin Donuts and a Starbucks in walking distance and a Bally's Total Fitness around the corner that I can use for free as a hotel patron.

There was lots of activity out front of the hotel as Diversey street was on the gay pride parade route and boy, was it colorful out there.
I knew the Cubs were not in town until Tuesday so I took a look to see if the White Sox were home and they were, so I hopped on the train to U.S. Cellular field hoping I could find a reasonably priced ticket outside and more than willing to take the chance. Sure enough, I ended up with a pretty good seat at a very fair price but the entertainment began outside the stadium where there was a band playing 70's boogie music. I found myself hanging out watching them, lipping the words to the songs and making dance like movements without fully committing.

Once inside the ballpark I treated my self to what ended up being a rather unsatisfying polish sausage but I did not let that deter me. The White Sox were paying tribute to the 40 year anniversary of the 1972 team and of my baseball heroes, Rich "Goose" Gossage was there, which I thought was cool. The game went 10 innings and the Chisox won.

After the game, I decided to go and see what the "Magnificent Mile" was all about. I trolled Michigan Ave., which was also hopping with celebrants from the gay pride parade so it was clearly more festive than usual. The overall vibe of the Mile for me was similar to 5th Ave. in Manhattan. I walked all the way and then hit the River walk and strolled about to the other side enjoying the views and the architecture along the way. I was beginning to think of dinner as my tummy was rumbling and I recalled one of the recommendations I had for deep dish pizza was Giordano's, and I had spotted this place not to far away so that was my next destination.
It was a 45 minute wait, and while I am more of a flat pizza traditionalist, and while I have nothing to compare Giordano's to, I can say that it was absolutely delicious. I ate half of the small pizza (listed to feed 1-2 people) and boxed up the other half which I later gave to an elderly homeless woman.

I grabbed the train back to Lincoln Park and the short walk back along Diversey still had a party atmosphere with loud music and lots of color. My fatigue had set in as I had been awake since 2:45 am so I drank in the vibe while I made my way back to the hotel where I would just chill a while before hitting the sack.
I am especially looking forward to day 2, today, because I get to actually meet a hero, a friend and someone I admire so much - Tori and most of her awesome kids.

See ya soon.

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