This is Val … let’s talk about today.
• Cafe Umbria
This place is in walking distance from our Airbnb, which was nice. It looks like they built their idea around shipping crates, with a slightly modern touch.
It’s also a roaster, so Matthew was first drawn to the huge roaster in the other room. It’s rare when something can distract him from actually getting coffee in his system.
The coffee was good, but the food could’ve been better.
• Cloud Gate “The Bean”
Matthew gives me a disappointed look when I call it “The Bean.”
Matthew: That’s not its real name.
Val: But that’s what it looks like.
Matthew: But that’s not its real name.
Val: But that’s what it looks like.
*repeat for 10 minutes*
I never expect to be amazed by the touristy stuff on our trips. I always think it’s overhyped and couldn’t possibly be as cool as they make it out to be …
BUT there are a few exceptions and this is one of them.
• Crown Fountain
We walked by this fountain yesterday, so we got a little view of it and the craziness around it.
I assumed it would be less crowded today since it’s a weekday and most people would be at work, but it’s just as busy as it was last time.
The water flows down the sides of a couple of tall pillars and the pillars have faces displayed on them. At a point when the faces smile, a stream of water jets out of the “mouth” of the person displayed.
Today we saw a woman walking through with a child and the stream came out and hit her right on her back. We had a feeling that was going to happen, so instead of being nice and warning her, Matthew got out the GoPro to record it.:)
• Wow Bao
Wow is right. This place is neat.
You don’t communicate with the wait staff. You just walk in and go to the kiosks along a wall to order. After you order, you wait for your food at a wall with animated windows.
Once your food is ready, one of the windows turns black and when the animated character comes up to “squeegee” the black away, you then see your name on the window and the food inside.
After tapping the screen, the window opens and you’re able to grab your food.
Watch for this in our video montage at the end of the trip.
• Lincoln Park Zoo
I really shouldn’t be surprised that we’re disappointed with the zoo … it happens most times we visit them.
We’re more aquarium-type people.
Most of the animals aren’t visible enough to enjoy it, but we can’t really complain too much with it being free.
Also, at the end, we found an area that gave us a great view of the city with a little bit of nature.
• North Beach
This wasn’t in our plans until Wednesday, so we’ll be coming back in a couple days.
But this view was spectacular; it was nice to just sit and soak it in.
We found a small little cafe while looking for a place to charge our phones.
They have an affogado for me and Noccialato (a dessert containing Nutella) for Matthew, so we’re eating our dessert before dinner.
We do what we want.
• Chicago Bagel Authority
This eatery sits in a college neighborhood. I love wandering through neighborhoods like this because they always feel laid back. I don’t think I ever had a chance in college to feel laid back, so now that I no longer have a reason to stress over tests, I always enjoy walking campuses and the areas around them.
This Bagel Authority is a cute little sandwich shop with an open-air seating area and way too many choices of bagel sandwiches. It’s always fun seeing Matthew struggle to decide on what to get when he’s given too many options. For me, the more options the better, but Matthew has a hard time deciding.
The best thing to do in this scenario is finding something on the menu you know he can’t pass up (Rueben, French Dip, Brat or Country Fried Steak/Chicken), then when he’s decided on something, just say, “Hey, did you see they have a Rueben?”
His exasperated groan during these times are the best.
• Apple Store
Matthew likes to stop in at Apple stores in the cities we visit. I think London has been the best so far, but San Francisco is a very close second.
Each one has their own looks and features.
This one isn’t too quirky — just one level — but there are glass walls on both ends of the store, which makes it feel like an open air space.
— Matthew was barked at by a man on the street today. If you know Matthew, you’ll be able to imagine how high he jumped.
— I now have us stopping 10 times a day to rest my knees and at times I make Matthew walk -2 mph … we’re normally fast walkers, so this is not normal for us.
— You can’t go one block without hearing someone honking … and it’s not just a small “let’s get going” honk, it’s a furious “why are you stopping for the pedestrians, just mow them down” honk.
— We saw our 5 millionth Chicago puppy dog today. I swear there’s one on every block, which results in one of us (whoever sees it first) saying, “OH, look at the puppy!” Which is then followed by a unison of “Awww” or a gasp and a “He’s so fluffy!”
We’ve been able to pet a couple of them and I can confirm that Chicago has the softest dogs.
I hope you’ll join Matthew’s post tomorrow since it’ll include Hamilton … something we’ve been counting down to for months.
“I give you Chicago. It is not London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from snout to tail.”
– H. L. Mencken