As I’m playing catch-up, I’m getting to re-live many trips… and appreciate the reminder that sometimes things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes, the surprises end up even better than anticipated.
In June 2018, I graduated with my MSN from a school just outside Chicago. Though I was a remote learner, I really wanted to be present for my graduation. We made plans to take a trip for graduation so that I could walk with my class.
The day came, and we packed up two kids, ourselves and my mom, and headed to the airport filled with anticipation for a fun-filled long weekend in the Windy City. I had never been to Chicago, and couldn’t wait see what it was all about. Well…. after hours at the airport, watching various mechanics walk to the plane, and receiving a few notices that our flight was delayed… the flight was eventually cancelled. (Thanks to a bird who decided to fly into the engine and cause some apparent damage). Due to our schedules, we had only allowed ourselves a short window of time for our trip, and we had to make a split decision- hang it up, try to find another airline and hopefully make it in time (and probably spend much much more!), or pack it up in my minivan and make it a road trip.
Amazingly, Rabbit and I looked at each other, and made the decision to road trip it! (I have to say, I fell more in love with him that day thanks to his calm, sense of adventure, and willingness to be up for anything!). We wrestled kids, found luggage, packed it up, and got started.
We arrived at our hotel in the middle of the night- with a few hours to spare before it was time to get dressed and head to graduation. (We cancelled our rental car, and other arrangements on the road).
The graduation ceremony was great, but the highlights of the trip were definitely the sightseeing moments that we got in! We lucked out with some great weather which allowed us to pack in as much as time allowed.
We took an amazing boat architecture tour (a definite must-do), which provided just the right mix of history, construction, humor, and thrill of being on a boat that even the youngest of us was amused!
We got to explore Navy Pier, riding the merry-go-round and Ferris Wheel, checking out the shops, and enjoying some of the city’s famous deep-dish pizza! Word to the wise- be sure to allow yourself some time when you order deep dish! It takes about an hour for the pie to be ready… the bites are definitely worth the wait though! Thankfully, we ate at Giordano’s at the Pier, and had outdoor seating – we were able to take breaks to bring the kids inside to walk around, and people-watch to pass the time.
One of my other favorites was our visit to the Cloud Gate. I’m not sure why, but something about it had me mesmerized! We had a good time posing in the bean, and taking photos – it was like watching living art… every angle was different, and the possibilities for fun photo ops seem endless!
We also took a bus tour of the city (VERY helpful for getting the kids around), and had Chicago hot dogs by Buckingham Fountain. The bus tour offered some commentary, and meaningful stops throughout the city and beyond. We took it the entire route, and were able to get a glimpse (and brief touch) of Lake Michigan from one of the stops… the cityscape views never got old!
All-in-all, hours of driving later, it was worth every minute. I am hopeful that someday Rabbit and I can make it back to see some of the things we may have missed, and enjoy an overnight in the city between destinations. Chicago is a beautiful city with amazing architecture and views!
Until next time!